How to Reduce Redness of Acne

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Let’s get right to it…

What really causes the redness of an acne?

Acne is a common skin condition experienced by some that is caused by blockages in the skin’s oil glands. Bacteria fills up these glands over time and causes “reddish” bumps that are visible on the skin’s surface. Those are what we call “pimples.”

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For people with fairer skin, the redness is more visible. Regardless, any acne condition can often be the source of embarrassment during puberty or even as older adults. Acne doesn’t discriminate and can be experienced by anyone of any age. 

Acne can extreme yet it is a common skin condition. Its levels can range from mild to severe and usually looks like bumps on the skin that can become red and irritated. 

The main reason for the inflammation and redness is from an increase in local blood circulation in your skin, but pus and bacteria can worsen the inflammation.  The immune system’s response to the buildup tries to push the bacteria out which is what causes the swollen bumps and redness. And when the infection goes deep in the skin, one might experience very red, tender bumps that filled with pus which is called Cystic acne. It can be painful or uncomfortable and can also itch.

Although it isn’t pretty, can be discouraging, and lower one’s self-esteem, this irritation is actually your body’s healing response to help regenerate our skin’s tissues for new, healthier skin.

So, whenever a pimple starts to appear on your skin, do not be tempted to squeeze or pop it. This will cause more inflammation and redness and possible cause scarring where the pimpes were. Acne scars can stick around for a long period of time or even permanently. The trick is to have patience with your acne and just ride it out! 

Next, we’ll uncover the different forms of acne which we’ve also shown in the diagram above. 

Whiteheads are a type of acne that forms when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria are trapped in your pores. Unfortunately, excessive washing and scrubbing don’t prevent whiteheads, and washing your face too hard can irritate the skin and worsen them.

Papules are small, solid bumps that are raised or swollen. Often times it forms a rash on the skin and is typically inflamed but does not produce pus. Papules are inflamed and cause redness around the bump. 

Nodular acne is a severe acne characterized by large, painful papules that are inflamed and appear as a breakout. They are larger and more severe than papules, like hard bumps that affect deeper layers of the skin. They sometimes resemble whiteheads and typically last longer. 

Pustules are a result of the blockage of oil and dead skin that causes small bumps to fill with pus and can be identified as having a white or yellowish dot in the center surrounded by redness. It may look like a pimple but is likely to get larger. 

Treatments for acne can vary from person to person. Not all treatments that work for person A will work the same for person B, so below are different remedies that anyone can try to reduce the redness of their acne and determine what works best!

Quick and Easy Home Cures

Apply ice to the pimple to reduce inflammation.

Use a clean white cloth and apply directly to the bump without too much pressure. Hold for about 5 to 10 minutes and swap with more ice if needed. You may repeat as needed, but give the skin time to breathe in between applications.

Place a sliced cucumber on the pimple.

Cut off a cold, thin slice and place it over the pimple for 5 to 10 minutes.

Cucumbers have mild properties that may help minimize swelling and redness. They are naturally cooling and have a high water content that can help reduce pimple redness, which is the same reason cucumbers are recommended for reducing bags under the eyes. It works by restricting the blood vessels in your skin. 

Cold applications are always better for inflammation. It is safe to repeat it unless the redness or breakout is worsening as you apply the cucumber to your skin. 

Whip up an Aspirin mask. 

Make a paste to form a mask by mixing together 4 to 5 crushed, uncoated aspirin with a little bit of cool or room temperature water. Use a clean cotton swab to gently apply the mixture to the inflamed area. Once the skin has dried, carefully rinse it off.

Aspirin contains salicylic acid, a chemical used to relieve minor pain and inflammation. It reduces swelling and has been known to dry out bumps on the skin. 

Do not try this mask if you are allergic to Aspirin or if you don’t react well when using this medication. Instead, try toothpaste as described next in this blog! It can have similar effects.

Use toothpaste.

Apply a very small amount of mild toothpaste on the pimple. Once the area has dried, wash the area well. 

Toothpaste has been used for acne for generations and has proven to work pretty well. It can also be used overnight. Since most kinds of toothpaste have a minty flavor, this could potentially make the acne worse, and gel toothpaste does not work well. So, toothpaste that is noted as “paste” and that doesn’t have minty crystals in it works best. 

Make a yogurt and honey mask.

Mix together an equal amount of full-fat yogurt and honey. Spread a thin layer of the mask over any inflamed areas on your skin. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes and wash the mask off with lukewarm or warm water.

Yogurt has a probiotic element that helps to prevent bad bacteria. It has also lactic acid properties that can not only clear acne but also improve your skin. Honey has anti-inflammatory qualities that help in preventing swelling and redness.

Try eye drops.

Soak a cotton swab with eye drops that contain tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride. Apply the swab to the irritated area bumps for less than a minute.

Most eyedrops are formulated to help get rid of redness. Dr. Audrey Kunin, a dermatologist and assistant clinical instructor of dermatology says, “these eye drops will also remove the redness from your zit–albeit temporarily.” 

Grab a lemon or tomato.

Make a thin slice of lemon and tomatoes and place it over the infected area. Don’t leave them on for longer than an hour.

Lemons have citric acid and great anti-inflammatory properties that help fight acne caused by bacteria and can also help to heal scars. Lemons also lighten the skin and minimize redness. Tomatoes are good sources of vitamin A and vitamin C, which are useful in healing acne. 

Ways to Prevent Breakouts

  1. Determine your skin type and use appropriate skin care products
  2. Wash your face 1-2 tmes per day with a face wash, face soap or cleanser
  3. Use a toner and/or astringent after cleansing
  4. Moisturize your skin as needed to avoid dryness or too much oil production
  5. Exfoliate once a week using quality masks to get rid of dead skin cells
  6. Keep your skin hydrated by drinking the recommended amount of water daily
  7. Ensure that your body is getting the proper amount of vitamin A as an antioxidant and vitamin C for collagen production
  8. Wash off your makeup especially before sleeping
  9. Wear quality sunblock regularly
  10. Visit a dermatologist regularly if you experience breakouts often
  11. Avoid squeezing, picking and popping your pimples
  12. Recognize the different causes of acne
    • Hormone levels may need monitoring
    • Healthy diet
    • Unwashed hair
    • Cosmetics with unhealthy ingredients
    • Excessive sweating or bad hygiene

To reduce the swelling and redness of pimples quickly, it’s smart to start with safe remedies like those that are explained above. It is also important to be consistent with your safe skin care routines to find out what works best for maintaining your desired skin health.

Whatever routine you choose, make sure to always treat your skin with care to avoid irritating it or drying out your skin. 


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