Even 10-step skin care routine devotees get pimples. If you’re suffering from red, irritated acne blemishes, there are ways you can minimize redness through skin care efforts.

However, if you’ve arrived to this page with little time to spare, there are also some tips for concealing blemishes until you can get the redness to go away for good.

How to reduce redness from acne

The keys to reducing redness from acne are to apply anti-inflammatory compounds while being gentle to your skin. That’s right — gentle. This means don’t try to use every scrub or irritating product to treat your acne. Instead, try using a “keep it simple“ approach.

If you apply too many oil-removing products, your skin could react the opposite way: It could start to overproduce oil, which will worsen your acne. The goal is to keep your skin clean and apply targeted products to reduce redness while your blemishes heal.

Sometimes, you’ll need to call in the professionals for consistent, painful, and inflamed pimples. A dermatologist can evaluate your skin and prescribe professional-level treatments, such as topical applications, chemical peels, or laser therapy.

Acne can also closely resemble rosacea, a condition that causes significant skin redness. Because the treatments for rosacea can be different from traditional acne-fighting approaches, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist if you’re not sure.

You can also apply a mild cortisone cream to an inflamed pimple to decrease redness and swelling. This should be done sparingly and only as a spot treatment, as topical steroids themselves can actually cause acne, as well other potential side effects such as skin thinning.

How to use makeup to cover pimple redness

Sometimes, even your best efforts at reducing redness don’t show enough immediate results. When this is the case, you can use makeup to cover up the redness. Here’s how to start:

  • Clean your hands thoroughly before touching your skin.
  • Cleanse and moisturize the skin.
  • Apply base makeup (if you wear any). This usually won’t be full-coverage makeup (sometimes heavier makeup is a giveaway you have a blemish). Instead, try a tinted moisturizer or other lighter coverage foundation.
  • Choose a concealer for the blemish. You’ll want to look for a concealer that is like putty (thick) in consistency. Some makeup companies will offer color-correcting concealers that are green that may help for especially red zits. If not, matching the concealer cover as closely as possible to your skin will help.
  • Take a small, clean makeup brush and apply concealer over and around the pimple, blending well with your surrounding skin.
  • Set the concealer with a powder (loose or pressed is fine).
  • Sometimes, you may have to apply more than one layer of concealer. You can apply the first concealer layer, wait a few minutes, then apply another layer.
  • Clean your makeup brush with a gentle cleanser or rubbing alcohol after using it to conceal your blemish.
  • You’ll want to use products that are all oil-free and noncomedogenic when concealing your pimple. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of making it worse.
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