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4 Ingredients To Soothe Itchy, Inflamed Skin + What To Avoid

Image by Ani Dimi / Stocksy
November 2, 2022
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What are you supposed to do if your skin is burning, itchy, peeling, red, and generally inflamed? Well, if you reach for an exfoliant or retinol serum, you're sentencing yourself to even more irritation. Even a foamy, stripping cleanser can be damaging—to sum it up, you have to tread very lightly.

However, there are a few hero ingredients to look for in your go-to products if you want to mitigate redness, and they can actually help, not hurt, an irritated complexion. Save this list the next time you wonder what's safe to slather on your skin (and what's decidedly not). 

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Do use: 

1.

Panthenol

Panthenol, also known as provitamin B5 can help restore and protect the skin barrier1—which is likely what's damaged if you're experiencing irritation. While it mainly functions as a moisturizer, it's also a dream ingredient for inflamed skin.

See, panthenol is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to reduce erythema (aka, red, angry skin). What's more, it can even help the process of wound healing, which is why it's often used post-microneedling. Look for vitamin B5 or panthenol in your next soothing serum or face cream.

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2.

Hypochlorous acid

This one has been gaining more buzz over the past year, in part due to the signature Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray that blew up on beauty TikTok. But don't let the name fool you—this acid isn't like AHAs or BHAs.

Hypochlorous acid is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, which is why it's been used for wound healing and easing skin inflammation2. Especially if you frequently face red and acne-prone skin, this one is an easy winner.

3.

Calendula 

Calendula oil (oftentimes referred to as marigold) has been used for centuries for its soothing properties. Like the other topicals mentioned, calendula is also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Plus, it delivers a major antioxidant boost.

You can find calendula oil on its own (look for a bright orange color) or mixed into creams and serums. You can even use the flowers themselves to make an at-home face mask.

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4.

Skin supplements 

Using topical products with soothing ingredients is definitely a must, but you can also maintain a healthy complexion from the inside out. Look for ingredients like ceramides and antioxidants to help nourish and protect the skin from within. Apart from easing continuous flushing, certain skin supplements can help support the skin barrier as well, leading to a more supple, youthful complexion and making them even more worth your dollar.

Although, finding skin supplements with research-backed ingredients isn't always easy. Here's a list of our 13 top picks to help ease your search.

Don't use: 

As a quick reminder, try your best to stay away from irritating ingredients when your skin is red, itchy, dehydrated, angry, or inflamed. These include:

  • AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, etc.) 
  • BHAs (salicylic acid) 
  • Harsh scrubs 
  • Retinoids or retinol
  • Chemical peels 
  • Any sort of laser or needling treatment 
  • Unprotected UV rays. Not an ingredient, per se, but a friendly reminder to protect your vulnerable skin!
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The takeaway. 

Navigating topical products when your skin is inflamed takes some extra-special attention. Remember to call upon calming and hydrating ingredients, use skin supplements to ease inflammation from the inside out, and stay away from harsh exfoliants and treatments at all costs. Here are even more tips if you want to dive deeper.