Serums For Redness: Can Any Of Them Calm Down My Reactive Skin?

I tried three serums in hopes of taking my complexion's apparent rage down a notch.
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Publish date:
May 1, 2014
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sensitive skin, serums, SkinCeuticals, redness, rosacea, first aid beauty, June Jacobs

Are we tired of talking about serums yet? I hope not! I already shared my experience with hydrating serums, but now we're going to talk about serums that are designed to reduce redness.

I'm always on the lookout for an effective redness treatment after both Metrogel and my dermatologist failed me, so I tried out three serums that promise to alleviate flushed skin.

June Jacobs Redness Diffusing Serum

This serum comes in a very pretty bottle with a convenient pump. (Actually, all three serums have pumps, so hooray for that!) It is free of parabens, preservatives, sulfates, synthetic dyes and--best of all--fragrances. Finally, I found a serum that's not fragranced. Not only can strong fragrances be annoying if you don't like the smell, but they can also be irritating--especially if you have a skin condition like rosacea.

Ingredients include white, red and green tea extracts, and goji berry, pomegranate and grapeseed extracts, all of which is supposed to protect the skin and prevent aging. Like most serums, it has a very light texture that is absorbed into the skin immediately without leaving behind any shine or greasiness. My skin looked matte and felt silky after using it.

It did not irritate my skin but it didn't immediately reduce redness, either. My skin tone did look less red and more evened out after a few weeks of consistent use, however.

First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum

This serum promises to "calm skin" and "relieve visible redness." It also claims, in big ol' print on the front of the bottle, to be safe for sensitive skin.

This serum is fragrance-free (it better be, if it's for sensitive skin!) and includes "naturally soothing" ingredients such as aloe and bisabolol. The consistency is a bit thicker than the June Jacobs serum, so it took a little longer to be completely absorbed by my skin and left some sheen behind.

It didn't irritate my skin, but I didn't see an immediate improvement in redness either.

SkinCeuticals Redness Neutralizer

This serum promises to "combat environmental triggers of redness to alleviate irritation and discomfort." It is free of parabens and silicones and also claims to be fragrance-free, but I swear I can detect a faint, almost perfume-y fragrance. It has not irritated my skin, though.

Ingredients include water, glycerin, shea butter, and a small amount of caffeine (which has been said to constrict blood vessels, thereby lessening redness).

This is the thickest consistency of all the serums I've tried, so you may find it takes longer to be absorbed and can leave a bit of a shiny, almost sticky residue behind. Like the other two serums, I did not find it to be irritating and I could not distinguish any immediate changes in my skin's redness.

After a few weeks of testing out these anti-redness serums, here's my skin now (you can see a "before" picture in this article from the beginning of April, which is right before I started using these serums):

My skin is still noticeably pink around my cheeks, but it's evened out a lot and definitely not angrily flushed. I wear sunscreen and stay out of the sun, but I don't do a good job of avoiding other triggers like coffee, alcohol, and hot showers, so the state of my skin in the above picture is actually pretty impressive to me.

That said, none of these serums totally eliminated my redness. Honestly, I didn't expect them to do that. I do appreciate that they're incredibly moisturizing without the greasiness of most heavy moisturizers while being free of irritating fragrances and ingredients that often make my redness worse.

I will probably continue to use these redness serums over the summer, and if my skin gradually becomes less red then that's just an added bonus.

If you have red skin, or even just sensitive skin that can't tolerate fragrances and harsh ingredients, I say it can't hurt to try any one of the above serums (although if you're oily, the June Jacobs is your best bet). I suggest getting a few samples first to test for any irritation, and then pick one based on the ingredients--not the claims on the bottle. Look for soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients and steer clear of fragrances and alcohol.

If your skin is extremely red and aggravated, however, please make sure you see your dermatologist before doing anything else if you haven't already.

Have you tried anti-redness serums, and if so, what did you think?