However great the structure of your face is or how attractive you started out as a kid, once you get red acne, the perception of your “attractiveness” will diminish. In fact, it will make you feel ugly for a time until you deal with your acne or it clears on its own.
The trouble with red acne is, although it is temporary (at least for most people), it will stay for as long as your teenage years unless you find a suitable and effective treatment. For some, red acne even persists after teenage years.
Redness is an indication of an inflammatory response. That is, when your acne is red, the body produces compounds and immune cells that migrate and concentrate on the acne to neutralize the cause of inflammation.
Such causes could be bacteria, hardened sebum (comedo) or dirt. The inflammatory response, though, is not that gentle. While it will effectively neutralize the cause of inflammation, it will also kill of surrounding cells. This process leaves a permanent and noticeable acne scar afterward.
Types of Inflammatory Acne
There are two general types of acne: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Depending on how you respond to it, a non-inflammatory acne can become inflammatory over time.
Red acne is inflammatory, by nature. The redness indicates some immune response to factors that cause your acne. This could include dead skin cells, P. acnes, hardened sebum, and dirt.
Perhaps the least inflamed of the inflammatory acne, papules are red acne minus the pus. Unlike other forms of acne, inflammatory or not, the pores in a papule is usually not noticeable.
They may be tender to touch and vary in size. Usually, though, papules are small. A papule or two might not be visible but in numbers, papule can appear beside each other making them noticeable.
When treated properly, papules tend to leave no scars when they heal.
One defining attribute of pustules that differentiates them from papules is the pus at its tip or center.
Both papules and pustules are red inflamed acne. The only difference is the presence of immune cells in pustules. These white blood cells (not the white in pus, though) migrate to the area and attack the bacteria, dead skin cells, comedo and dirt on site.
The problem with this immune response is, the immune cells produce a class of substances called cytokine that also kills off healthy surrounding cells. This causes the formation of pus which is a combination of dead skin cells, dead bacteria, and white blood cells, among others. This is the main reason acne scars form after an acne.
Nodules are advanced cases of pustules. Similarly, the body sends out immune cells into the site to attack the underlying causes of the acne. Nodules, however, are bigger than pustules and are often painful. Nodules take a longer time to heal than pustules and leave a considerable scar after healing.
Unlike pustules, nodules do not have a white tip. This is because the infection is deep in the skin. There is still pus, however, only that it is not visible because it’s far from the surface.
The worst form of red acne is cystic acne. It is also the most difficult type of acne to treat. Unlike ordinary forms of acne, cystic acne form deep in the skin tissues. Cystic acne resembles nodules only that the infection extends from the surface into deep below. What differentiates a cyst from a nodule is the presence of pus. Because the inflammation takes time to heal, it may leave an irreversible damage to the skin. Treating a cyst will involve an intervention of an expert.
What causes red acne?
Redness is only one part of the inflammatory response which happens to be a visible aspect of it.
If there is one factor that we can associate with acne and is always a determining factor for the formation of one, it would be sebum. Acne occurs because the increased sebum production causes blockage of the pores. In addition, it feeds Propionibacterium Acnes, a naturally occurring species of bacteria in the skin that thrives during increased sebum production.
When P. acnes metabolize sebum, it produces compounds that irritate the skin causing it to be reddish.
During a blockage, oil builds up inside the pore and eventually hardens. The bacteria inside feeds on the sebum and produces more of the irritating metabolites. This prompts the body to produce an inflammatory response. First, it dilates the blood vessels surrounding the affected area to increase blood flow. Afterward, it sends in immune cells that neutralize the buildup inside the pore. The problem is, it also releases cytokines that kill off nearby healthy cells. The buildup of the mixture of dead bacteria, cells, and white blood cells increases the inflammatory response.
Quick remedy for red acne
Acne cannot easily be healed in a short span of time. The healing process for an acne may take from several days to few weeks. There are ways, however, to dry the acne up, reduce its size and take away the redness. Here are some quick home remedies that you can try to reduce the redness and swelling of pimples:
Using a thin and clean piece of cloth, wrap some ice cubes and place them directly on the zit. Let the ice be in each a pimple for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat this process much time throughout the day or until a pimple has dried out and the swelling has subsided. Leave a two-hour interval for each application to allow the skin to recover first before reapplication and to avoid potential damage.
Do not press the ice on the skin. Just let it sit atop the zit. Pressing the ice on the skin can rupture the acne which will cause more redness and spread pus and bacteria on surrounding pores thereby causing more acne.
If ice is too cold for you, use cucumber as an alternative. Cucumber has a cooling and soothing effect on the skin, similar to ice. Because it is not as cold as the eyes, you can place cucumber on your face for longer periods without fearing for potential damage.
Cucumber has also mild astringent properties that may help with the inflammation out. Cut a cucumber off into thin slices and put them over your acne. Leave them for 10 minutes or so.
You can also improve the effect of cucumber by putting the cucumber slices on the freezer or refrigerator. This will make the cucumber slices colder thus increasing their effectiveness against inflammation and redness.
Honey and yogurt mask
Honey and yogurt have natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Create a honey and yogurt mask to sooth the redness and swelling of acne by mixing equal parts of honey and plain full-fat yogurt. Flavored yogurts may contain acids that may irritate the skin.
Apply the mask evenly on the face especially on areas with inflamed acne. Allow the mask to sit on your face for 15 minutes or so. Wash it afterward with warm water and pat your face to dry.
To prepare an aspirin mask, crush 5 tablets and mix them with water forming them into a paste. Apply the paste into the skin by using your finger or a cotton swap. Apply evenly and liberally on the face and allow it to dry off. Rinse the mask afterward and pat your face to dry.
Be careful of allergic reaction, however. Some people are allergic to aspirin and may produce a reaction when applied to the skin. Avoid using aspirin mask if you are into other medication, as well.
Warm cloth or compress
While ice is perfect for addressing inflammation instantly, its effect is almost always temporary. For a long-term effect, you may want to try warm cloth or compress. Not only does it help deal with the inflammation better and produce a long-lasting effect, it also helps open the pore up to allow the release of toxin, bacteria, and sebum.
Place a warm washcloth over your pimple for 15 minutes or until the warmth subside. Do this 3 to 4 times a day to speed up the clearing of your pimples.
To warm a washcloth, simply soak it in hot water. You can add a tea bag in the water to take advantage of the ability of the tea to reduce swelling and redness. You can also add in other ingredients on the water such as lavender o tea tree oil—both of which are known to help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Since warm compress will most likely open your pores up, it would be best to follow it up with face wash—a gentle one at that to avoid further irritation. While the pores are opened, it would be a chance to remove dirt and bacteria. Removing bacteria, dirt, and oil that may have been trapped inside the pores will dramatically improve redness.
If the redness does not subside with the above-outlined strategies, the best way for you, then, is to conceal it. Although there are lots of concealers that would hide the redness out, the best one to use for Caucasians would be green concealer.
Apply a green concealer directly into and around the zit and blend it using either a brush or a sponge. Apply a thin layer of powder, afterward, to set it in. The green color seems to neutralize redness well.
If the green concealer doesn’t hide the redness that well for your skin tone, try applying a thin layer of foundation on a tone that matches yours on top of the green concealer. The green concealer neutralizes most of the redness while the foundation hides the redness that the green concealer cannot.
Although a concealer can perfectly hide the redness, it cannot cover up for the bumps of a pimple. Try using concealers with salicylic acid as one of its ingredients. Salicylic acid helps dry acne out fast. Concealers with salicylic acid will help hide the bumps of the acne the longer it is on the skin.
Medication to get rid of red acne fast
Because home remedies that use natural products to reduce redness and inflammation of acne are not strong enough, they do not work on all forms of acne. Some forms of acne require medication with strong ingredients that are proven to address swelling and redness fast. Here are some of the simple medication for acne that is powerful enough to dry a zit fast.
One of the oldest and proven effective medication for acne is salicylic acid. Not only does it dry a pimple out, it also increases cell turnover. Thus, old skin cells shed off easily decreasing the chances of blocked pores.
The best method for applying salicylic acid is through its cream form. Spot creams allow salicylic acid to be in contact with the skin longer thus allowing it to work its magic more effectively. Its liquid form is volatile and evaporates readily upon contact with the skin.
Apply the cream directly into your pimple. Spread the cream a bit to its surrounding area as well. The acid in the cream will dry the oil up and reduce the swelling and redness in no time. Although the spot cream will work its wonder immediately, it will still take hours or days for a pimple to heal completely. With salicylic acid drying the pimple out, though, the healing process is much faster than without treatment.
One of the most effective means of drying out acne while killing the bacteria off is benzoyl peroxide. In addition, benzoyl peroxide helps control the production of sebum and improves the cell turnaround.
Benzoyl peroxide is available in certain concentrations. The lowest of these concentrations is 2.5%. If it’s your first time to use benzoyl peroxide, it’s always a good idea, to begin with, 2.5% to test the tolerance of your skin. You can gradually increase the concentration as you continue with using it to test the limit of your skin.
By using a cream with a high concentration of benzoyl peroxide, you speed up the drying process, as well. This, however, could irritate your skin and cause more redness.
Another way to instantly remove redness is to use a hydrocortisone that is proven to reduce irritation. Hydrocortisone cream can combat redness in under 12 hours. Before using hydrocortisone, however, make sure that you don’t have an adverse reaction to it by consulting your dermatologist first.
There are two forms of acne—inflammatory and non-inflammatory. While the non-inflammatory kinds are less noticeable, they can get easily become inflamed without notice. Inflammatory acne is red and sometimes has a pus on its tip. It is highly noticeable not only because of the redness but also because it forms a bump on the skin.
An inflammatory acne can take time to heal. There are ways, however, that you can reduce the swelling and the redness to make the acne less noticeable.
You have two options to deal with the acne—use home remedies that are milder to the skin but produces a result more slowly. Another method is to use medication. Acne medication is proven to work and can produce result instantly although its effect varies from skin to skin.