Let's take a little trip down memory road, friends, way back to the sepia-toned summer of 2014, when I wrote my first big story for ITG: Keep Calm And Reduce Redness. It was my first big foray into skincare trial by fire, wherein a writer tries to solve a problem with lots of new products, only to exacerbate the problem in the process. Fun, right? (Yeah, sorta.)
Eventually you find the right products that work for you and the story and the people, and a review is born. Everybody wins in the end. But what's the expiration date on a review, I wonder? Sure, if it's a good enough product, its integrity should keep you covered for a while. But skin changes, and more importantly, the market changes! New products come out (or at least new-to-me products make their way to my desk) and I'm duty-bound to try, if only to confirm my current routine. Best case scenario: I find something even better than before.
Considering my previous recommendations, I stand by them—particularly the Avéne Antirougeurs Anti-Redness Dermo-Cleansing Milk: a standby for aggravated skin if ever there was one. But there are a few others I'd like to add to the list after two years of continual research. Don't think of any of these as an overall winner—more like inductees to a Hall of Fame for irritated skin. Get familiar with any or all of them for a calmer, clearer complexion:
Since we're sticking with that Avène cream cleanser for actual face washing, I'll propose another technique to work in tandem. Sometimes, when I'm red, washing with water is the last thing my skin wants. Maybe this is unique to just me, but I doubt it. If you have this inclination yourself, consider Korres Greek Yoghurt Cleansing Wipes as fallback. It's not the deepest clean, but it's a gentle way to rid skin of the irritants that cause that pesky redness wherever you are.
If your skin is dry in the slightest, you might not be as familiar with salicylic acid as you should be. Well, start studying: In addition to chemically exfoliating, salicylic reduces inflammation in the same way Advil works internally. So find a formula that doesn't dry you out too much in the process and you're golden. Paula's Choice Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution is like her magical 2% BHA Liquid, except it feels like water when swiped on skin with a cotton pad. It works while you're sleeping without any hint of residue or flaking in the process.
I've been a longtime fan of Pai products for sensitized skin, but I only recently learned that their Lotus and Orange Blossom Bioaffinity Tonic has the most scientific reason for calming skin than anything in my kit. To get specific, it harnesses the antioxidants in the lotus stem that inhibit the "release of cutaneous neuropeptides, the molecules that cause our skin to flare." It's complicated enough for me to quote the press release and a good enough product for me to use it every night regardless of my irritation levels. Oh, and it smells like neroli.
Ain't no moistuirzer better than the Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask. Plus, if you suffer from redness regularly, using a little bit of this daily will do more good than a sporadic masking session. Just enough moisture to soothe, but not too much to create more problems in the wake of old ones. Here's to a summer of clear skin!
Photographed by Tom Newton.