Maybe this sounds familiar: despite having a regular skincare routine and pretty healthy skin, you frequently notice little red bumps along the cheeks, jawline, or in other random patches. Maybe you also notice that these outbreaks never quite turn into whiteheads or exhibit qualities typically associated with acne, but they never really go away either.
If this scenario rings true for you, the good news is that you likely don’t have acne. Rather, small red bumps, texture, and rash-like symptoms could be related to a handful of other skin conditions – most of which have to do with sensitivity or reactivity in the skin and require a different kind of treatment. Some common causes include:
Allergic Reaction – If you are sensitive to active ingredients, or certain formula elements such as fragrance in a product, one of the ways your skin will let you know is by becoming inflamed, irritable, or even itchy.
- Rosacea - Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by a range of symptoms including redness and reactivity. However, in its milder forms, it may show up as bumpy texture and red patches that can easily be mistaken for acne. Highly advise speaking with a Dermatologist to properly diagnose.
- Eczema - Similar to rosacea, eczema - or atopic dermatitis - can cause red rashes on any area of the body, including the face. Rashes can be itchy or even painful and can worsen when the skin lacks moisture or when the immune system is under stress.
- Barrier Damage - If your skin isn’t typically prone to sensitivity but is more reactive than usual to topical products, this can be a sign that your protective barrier is compromised and in need of repair. Barrier damage can occur as a result of using too many harsh products, dryness, or dehydration, or even extreme weather that strips moisture from the skin.
The Fix: Troubleshooting Red or Reactive Skin
If you think you may be dealing with barrier damage, an allergic reaction, or an inflammatory condition, a great place to start encouraging recovery is with a simple routine focused around calming the skin and keeping it hydrated. Sticking to a basic but supportive skincare protocol for a 2-3 weeks, will often do the trick and help get your skin back to feeling its best.
Rather than trying to treat the skin with exfoliation, or a lot of active products, a better approach is to pare down your skincare routine to just a few essentials, such as gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and maybe a soothing step such as hydrating toner, or an organic facial oil.
Additionally, it can be helpful to look for anti-inflammatory ingredients that bolster the skin barrier, such as aloe vera, rosewater, niacinamide, and squalane oil.