How to Get Rid of Redness From Acne

Upset girl looks in the mirror at her problem skin with red acne and post-acne isolated on a pink background

No one likes acne, and the sooner it goes away the better. The redness that stands out on your face is like a beacon drawing unwanted attention to your blemishes. But the redness doesn’t always fade when the acne is gone. So what can be done about that?

How to get rid of redness from acne is a problem that has a few different possible solutions. Some of the solutions won’t work for everyone and some of them are only temporary. But there are some permanent options.

There is no set timeline when it comes to the reduction of redness caused by acne. It will depend on your skin type, the solution you are trying, and your level of dedication and consistency. For example, if you try something once and it doesn’t work immediately, don’t give up. It may take a few applications to see results.

Why Does Redness Happen?

Redness can happen for a number of reasons, but one of the top causes is from picking at blemishes. By bothering the breakout in an effort to make it go away, it is actually causing it to hang around longer in the form of redness. Picking at a blemish can also cause scarring that will be hard to get rid of.

However, even if you are the model citizen and leave a breakout alone other than your typical skincare routine, you can still have redness and scarring. This is the body’s natural response to infection and the way it heals.

Of course, we are grateful that the body is doing its job, but we are not grateful for the redness.

How Long Does Redness From Acne Last?

So how long can we expect this redness and scarring to last? While the redness and scarring will fade over time, it could take a while depending on a few factors. We would like to tell you that it will only take a week or two, but the truth is that it could be months or even longer.

Severity of Acne

The first thing that will influence how long the redness lasts is how bad your acne is. If you suffer from severe or chronic acne, you are looking at a longer period of time.

Acne is an infection in your body. If you have chronic or severe infections that you are not consistently treating, the redness will not be leaving anytime soon.

Your Body’s Healing Process

Another factor that plays into how long the redness will last is your body. How long of a healing process does your particular body have? If you typically do not heal from other injuries or infections quickly, it is likely the redness will last longer.

How to Get Rid of Redness From Acne

While it may take a while to finally get rid of acne redness and scarring once and for all, there are solutions that can speed up the process. There are also solutions that can provide temporary relief while your body is healing.

One of the desired results is to calm the redness and make the scarring look less prominent on your face while you are waiting for long term results. This short term reduction of redness can give acne sufferers hope that scarring isn’t forever.

Temporary Solutions

Waiting for a permanent solution to take effect may feel like an eternity if you have a job interview tomorrow. For all of those times in life when you want to look your best, you really need a temporary solution that will work now.

That is where these three suggestions come in. They won’t work longterm to take care of the underlying issue, but they can make you feel confident when you are out and about.

Eye Drops

Redness-reducing eye drops are a great solution for when you need the redness reduced now. You may be wondering if this will hurt your skin, dry it out, or irritate it more. Trust us, it won’t.

These are gentle and won’t cause any issues with your skin. If you just have a little bit of redness, this may be enough to get you out the door feeling your best. However, if you have more severe redness or larger areas, you may need a little extra help.

That is where our next temporary solution comes in.


Makeup is great and can pull off some magic with the right techniques. With stubborn redness that seems to not want to let you go, it is wise to combat it with some green tones.

There are some great concealers on the market, but don’t overdo it. Painting your face with thick makeup won’t help even though the redness is covered up. The goal of makeup is to conceal imperfection and highlight your natural assets.

Concealers should be used only on spots that are troublesome and should be blended very well.

Acne Spot Treatment

Acne spot treatments tend to work very quickly to reduce redness and decrease the size of the acne spot. This is temporary like the other solutions we have talked about. The underlying cause of the acne and the redness should be treated.

Permanent Solutions

Temporary solutions are great when you need a quick fix for a special occasion or big meeting but should not be used longterm. The goal is to be acne, redness, and scar-free for good.

Always consult with your dermatologist before you start any longterm skincare regimen. Just because something works for your best friend doesn’t mean that it is good for your skin type and would even work for you.

Anti-Inflammatory Treatments

There are wonderful topical treatments that will reduce or even eliminate redness and scarring. Many times a treatment typically used for rosacea will have a positive result for acne redness.

These types of treatments actually neutralize redness instead of just covering it up.


Exfoliating is an important part of any skincare routine, even if you don’t suffer from acne redness and scarring. Getting rid of the dead skin cells on the top of the skin will prevent buildup in the pores.

Don’t overdo it though. Exfoliating should only be done at the most twice a week. If it is done more than that it will actually have the opposite effect and cause redness and sensitivity. You can add an overnight peel once a week if you need a little more.


Another permanent solution is moisturizing. It sounds so simple, but skin needs to be hydrated in order to be healthy and able to heal properly. A good moisturizer should be a part of every skincare routine anyway, so this is a really practical solution.

The key is to have an oil-free face cream that will not clog pores. Clogged pores will be counterproductive in the long run because they will cause acne and redness. Water-based moisturizers are best if you don’t want acne.

How to Prevent Redness from Acne

Knowing how to reduce and treat the redness and scarring that you already have is a great way to feel better about your skin both immediately and in the long run. But wouldn’t it be great if you could prevent the redness altogether?

We think so too. It is actually possible to prevent the redness and scarring before it happens, even if you do have an acne breakout. There are three things we suggest you avoid when trying to prevent even the slightest acne redness.

Don’t Pick

This is a big one: don’t pick at your breakouts. This is really hard because they seem to demand our attention. We just want them to go away, so we pick at them hoping that the infection will be gone when we are done.

But that doesn’t happen, does it? Not only does it not work, it actually makes it worse.  Picking is a top cause of redness and scarring, which means a top way to prevent that result is to stop doing what causes it.

Anytime you catch yourself starting to pick at a blemish, make an intentional effort to stop. Go find something else to do to take your mind off of what is on your face. Make a commitment to yourself that you will not pick your blemishes to keep the redness away.

Use Anti-Inflammatory Treatments

Everyday skincare regimens are important to the overall health of your skin. The type of skincare line you choose can go a long way in preventing redness and scarring. Choosing a skincare line that is used for acne treatment is the best choice due to the fact that they usually have anti-inflammatory properties built in.

Using a skin regimen with anti-inflammatory properties can help your skin stay free of redness caused by inflammation. If you need something stronger than what you can buy in the skincare department at your local store, talk to your dermatologist to get a recommendation.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Diet is a huge contributor to inflammation all over the body, not just in your skin. Choosing to eat food that decreases inflammation and avoiding foods that promote it will go a long way in preventing redness in your skin.

What happens in the gut affects the rest of the body. Those effects can be negative or positive depending on what we put in our bodies.

Unfortunately, the diet choices that are bad for your skin are probably some of your favorite things. Foods that are wise to avoid if you want to prevent acne redness are caffeine, chocolate, starches, sugars, alcoholic beverages, and some spicy foods.

That’s right, your morning cup of coffee may be contributing to your acne redness.

Can Acne Scars be Removed?

Have you tried every way you can possibly try to remove or reduce redness and scarring but it isn’t working? If so, you may need to take the next steps. Sometimes scarring is more severe and needs more aggressive treatment.

If you have deep, dark scarring that just won’t go away, it’s time to talk to your dermatologist about having the scars removed. There are three options that can be used to help reduce the appearance of scars, if not remove them completely.

In the case of a very severe or deep scar that can not be treated with one of these three methods, your doctor may recommend surgical removal. The scar would have to be very bad though for a doctor to make that recommendation.


Dermabrasion is a treatment that is done in a dermatologist’s office. This treatment reduces scars by wearing down the surface of the skin. This removes layers of skin similarly to exfoliating but more aggressively.

The treatment is completed by using a wire brush that spins on the surface of the skin. It will take time for the skin to heal after the treatment, but once the new layer of skin replaces the old, the scars will be harder to see.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is another treatment that can be done in the dermatologist’s office and reduces redness and scarring by removing a layer of skin. This could take up to an hour and can be painful, so there is typically some type of pre-session pain relief given.

The time it takes the skin to heal is slightly shorter than the dermabrasion treatment. It could take up to a week and a half for the new layer of skin to grow before you will see results.

Fractional Laser Therapy

The last treatment that we will talk about that can remove acne scarring is fractional laser therapy. This treatment actually heals scars on a deeper level than the other two treatments.

Unlike the other two treatments, fractional laser therapy does not wound the top layer of the skin. Most of the work is done beneath the surface. The skin could still be painful after treatment but it will be more like a bad sunburn.

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