When it comes to generalized skin redness, there are a number of causes and a variety of ways to address the issue. I discussed the more common causes of redness in the first installment of this two-part series, so I’d recommend taking a look at that before this. Here, we’re going to discuss some redness skin conditions that need to be addressed by professionals.
You (Might) Need Professional Help
I understand that having an aesthetician or dermatologist that you can go to is very much a privilege that not all of us have, especially in the middle of lockdown. But there are some things that I feel are truly out of our hands as consumers who don’t have access to prescriptions, professional tools, and training to diagnose skin conditions. I am in no way advocating that anyone needs to take pills or get some laser treatment, but professional guidance is invaluable when navigating redness related skin conditions that have causes far beyond just a little too much exfoliation or moisturizer with too much fragrance.
Professional guidance is invaluable when navigating skin conditions that have causes far beyond just a little too much exfoliation or moisturizer with too much fragrance.
Rosacea can occur to varying degrees, but regardless of how severe your personal case could be, we still have no idea what causes it. I know, helpful, right? The reason I’m a big advocate for seeing a derm if you think you might have rosacea is because I’ve heard so many people assume they have rosacea because they have any type of persistent redness, and many times it’s actually due to one of the more common causes I discussed in my previous article. It’s important to have the most accurate idea of what you’re dealing with before trying to figure out how to address your concerns.
Rosacea isn’t something that you can easily address at home, and your dermatologist may recommend prescription topical treatments, medication, and/or laser therapy depending on your particular type or severity of rosacea. I think it’s safe to say that virtually none of us have access to any of those things at home, so going to see a medical professional is truly the best course of action. The effects of rosacea can also become more severe or pronounced over time; this isn’t something I’m saying to panic anyone into going to a dermatologist, but to say that if you have access to a derm and you were on the fence of whether to see them or not, earlier is better.
There are over-the-counter products that are marketed towards people with rosacea, and I’ve heard people speak about their personal success using products targeted for rosacea at home. But again, this is something I’d recommend getting professionally looked at and running any potential at-home treatments by said professional instead of just going on a rampage down the skincare aisle at the drugstore looking for a quick fix. We’re looking at a long-term redness related skin condition here, so a long-term treatment plan should be the goal.
“Broken” or dilated blood vessels are often called broken capillaries or spider veins, and they usually look like bright red, well, veins showing through the surface of the skin, along with some generalized redness as well. This redness related skin condition is usually pretty prominent, hard to cover up with makeup and can be equally difficult to treat at home because we’re talking about actual blood vessels here; you can’t just dissolve blood vessels away with an exfoliant. Exfoliating actually may be counterproductive to treating spider veins in general.
Overly aggressive exfoliants, particularly physical treatments like scrubs or microdermabrasion, are actually one of the usual suspects when it comes to causes of broken capillaries. This is why I don’t love the idea of people using scrubs at home and dislike people doing microdermabrasion at home even more. Unless you’re an aesthetician, microderm is something I strongly recommend you do not do on yourself. I’ll share my personal microderm horror story sometime soon, and I’m sure that will put many of you off from trying to DIY it.
Prolonged sun exposure can also be a contributing factor, and other redness skin conditions like rosacea can bring dilated blood vessels along with them as well. This is why I mentioned in the earlier section that if you suspect you’re dealing with something like rosacea or other medical conditions, it’s best to see a professional at your earliest convenience. It seems like the longer you wait, the more severe said condition can become, and they also bring friends to the party.
When these blood vessels get dilated, it’s not really something that just goes away over time either. I’ve seen a few derms and aesthetics speak about the benefits of using retinoids to reduce the appearance of broken capillaries, but it’s key to understand that (at least from my understanding), this is purely an aesthetic thing. The go-to treatment, just like with rosacea, is laser therapy to actually treat the blood vessel itself rather than just the redness caused by it.
When blood vessels get dilated, it’s not something that goes away over time. The go-to treatment, like with rosacea, is laser therapy to actually treat the blood vessel itself.
Psoriasis, Eczema & Dermatitis
I know it can be confusing to lump these skin conditions all together, but the general vibe that we’re addressing here is the red, flakey skin that is often associated with psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. Eczema is generally attributed to having a specific gene that makes you predisposed to developing it, and psoriasis is more related to an immune system irregularity. I’ve had a little bit of personal experience with dermatitis—seborrheic dermatitis to be exact (sub derm for short)—as my significant other deals with it on patches of their face and scalp. And wouldn’t you know it, as per their dermatologist, no one knows what causes dermatitis.
Eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis all generally appear as some type of redness in the skin, but can come with a whole host of other symptoms that can include nail discoloration, swollen joints, and lesions on the skin. Needless to say, if you’re dealing with some type of mystery rash that you suspect may be caused by one of these things, your advice should be coming from your doctor, not an article on the internet, including this one. The symptoms of these skin conditions can go far beyond patches of redness and should be treated seriously.
I know I’ve said it multiple times here and I always am very clear about the fact that I don’t have a degree in dermatology, but when dealing with these conditions, it’s REALLY not something you can just take a stab at treating at home. I’d be happy to talk about my personal experience like how I’ve managed to help my SO manage their sub derm via skincare, but that is a singular situation in one person and something that I took on with their consent after years of professional dermatologic treatment. You cannot DIY your way through conditions like these; again, talk to your doctor.
Did I mention medical professionals enough? I feel like a broken record, but it truly is the best advice I can give and the best course of action to take, in my opinion. There may be some home remedies that can help or over-the-counter options that can help ease some of the discomfort caused by the conditions I described above, but run them by a doctor first to make sure they’re appropriate for you, especially if you’re using a prescription medication or undergoing a professional procedure.
I hope y’all are having a great week out there—give your pets a cuddle for me and I’ll talk to you in the next one.