If you have acne-prone skin, you’ve likely had to deal with not only the pain that comes with blemishes, but also the redness. 

Read on to learn about the causes of acne redness, how to get rid of redness from acne, as well as treatment options (both at home, and professional).

What Causes Redness from Acne?

Acne redness is actually caused by inflammation, explains Dr. Richard L. Torbeck, MD and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai.

  • This inflammation is the immune system’s response to the pimple.
  • There is an increase in blood flow to the area as the body sends white blood cells to fight the infection.

As a result, the area becomes red and inflamed - and leaves you with the unsightly redness.

How to Get Rid of Redness from Acne (At Home)

There are a few easy adjustments you can make to your lifestyle and skincare routine to reduce redness from acne at home.

The following recommendations come from Dr. Alain Michon, MD, Medical Director at Ottawa Skin Clinic:

  • Avoid washing your face too frequently and using over-drying soaps or other skincare products
  • Use cooler water when showering or bathing, as prolonged hot water causes skin flushing and redness
  • Avoid over exfoliation, specifically with products that contains acids (AHAs and BHAs) or retinol, as they will increase acne redness

Dr. Torbeck also mentions that you should avoid picking or popping blemishes, as this will only worsen the inflammation.

Lastly, for a quick at-home remedy for acne redness, he recommends applying ice to a blemish will temporarily reduce the redness.

Best Products for Reducing Acne Redness

If you’re looking into how to get rid of redness from acne, there are a few over-the-counter products that you can try. The following products are the best options for reducing acne redness.

1. Thayers Witch Hazel

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner for Acne Redness

Best Witch Hazel Toner for Acne Redness

Dr. Torbeck mentions that, while not scientifically backed-up, witch hazel may help reduce redness. This witch hazel toner is gentle enough to use on a daily basis to cleanse and tone the skin. The organic aloe vera and the rosewater hydrate and restore the skin without leaving a greasy finish. Unlike many traditional toners, it is free of alcohol. This is good for those with redness-prone skin, as alcohol often irritates the skin.

How to Use: After cleansing the skin, soak a cotton ball with the toner. Swipe the cotton ball all over the skin. Follow the toner with serums, treatments, and a moisturizer. The toner may be used both morning and night.

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2. Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum

Best Serum for Calming Acne Redness

This soothing serum contains a blend of ingredients that replenish the skin while simultaneously fighting signs of aging. The formula contains antioxidant-enriched plant extracts that calm the appearance of redness and soothe temperamental skin. It is hydrating yet lightweight, and suitable for all skin types, including those prone to rosacea.

How to Use: After cleansing, gently massage a few drops of the serum into the skin. Follow with a moisturizer. Use both in the morning and at night for the best results.

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3. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Best Topical Treatment for Acne Redness

This product from budget-friendly skincare brand The Ordinary features azelaic acid, which is an antioxidant that has been found to both fight acne and reduce redness. This formula reduces the appearance of blemishes, brightens and evens out the skin tone, and improves the texture of the skin. The lightweight cream-gel formula is suitable for all skin types, and is free of alcohol, parabens, sulfates, and gluten. It is also vegan and cruelty-free.

How to Use: After cleansing, gently massage the product into the skin. Follow with a moisturizer. This product may be used daily in the morning and at night.

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4. Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme

Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme

Best Drugstore Cream for Acne Redness

If you’re looking into how to get rid of redness from acne while you sleep, this night cream from Eucerin will do this trick. The hydrating formula contains licochalcone, an extract of licorice root that soothes the skin. It is gentle enough for sensitive skin, and is also free of fragrances and dyes. The cream is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores and trigger more breakouts.

How to Use: After cleansing and applying serums and treatments, gently massage the product all over the skin. Use at night on a daily basis.

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5. Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream

Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream

Best BB Cream for Acne Redness

The star ingredient of this cream from Dr. Jart is Centella Asiatica Leaf (also known as Tiger Grass), which is known for wound healing and its anti-inflammatory abilities. This moisturizing cream helps to reduce redness while also strengthening the skin’s defense against irritation. The slight green tint of the formula helps to reduce the appearance of redness immediately, and it naturally blends into the skin. This formula is free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

How to Use: After cleansing and applying serums and treatments, gently massage the cream into the skin. For maximum absorption, press it into the skin with the warmth of your hands. This cream may be used daily.

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How to Get Rid of Redness from Acne (Professionally)

If over-the-counter products don’t elicit sufficient results, there are professional treatments available.


  • Finacea (azelaic acid) can help with acne and redness, says Dr. Torbeck.
  • Topical low dose corticosteroids (like Desonate or Synalar)
  • Non-steroids (like Eucrisa or Elidel) may help for very short term redness reduction.

In-office treatments:

  • Dr. Torbeck says that lasers like Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) and some LED lights may be beneficial.
  • Injections of low dose steroids in troublesome lesions may be helpful for reducing redness.

He does mention that these injections come with a rare risk of short-term depression at the injection site.

Talk to your dermatologist to determine if any of the following options are suitable for your needs.


What is the best face wash for redness and acne?

Unfortunately, face washes will not get rid of acne redness. However, a good facial cleanser will prevent acne from forming in the first place. And by preventing acne, you prevent your skin from developing redness. A quality face wash will gently cleanse the skin, without making it feel overly dry or tight. 

How do you get rid of acne redness fast?

For quick results, try icing the affected area for 10 minutes. While the results are only temporary, ice will help reduce some of the swelling and redness associated with acne. There are also some topical prescriptions that may be used on a short term basis for redness reduction, including low dose corticosteroids (like Desonate or Synalar) and non-steroids (like Eucrisa or Elidel). Low dose steroid injections in a lesion will also rapidly reduce redness.

Can aloe vera reduce redness overnight?

Aloe vera is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and has antioxidant properties, and is a popular skincare ingredient known for moisturizing and soothing the skin. While it may not dramatically reduce redness overnight, a skincare product containing the ingredient may effectively minimize redness with regular use.

Do pimples heal faster when popped?

Picking or popping pimples at home comes with a lot of risks. By doing so, there is a good chance you will only widen the inflamed area, which means the redness will be more prominent and the blemish will take longer to heal. You also increase the likelihood of acne scars when picking or popping pimples. When you pop a pimple, it is also very easy to spread bacteria, which increases the risk of more breakouts – and therefore more redness.

The Bottom Line

There are multiple steps you can take, products you can use, and professional treatments you can try to get rid of redness from acne. Of course, the root of the problem is the acne itself, so it is important to establish a skincare routine that minimizes breakouts to ultimately get rid of redness. “Most importantly, you need to be patient,” says Dr. Michon. “Treating acne can be tricky, and often different skincare regimens must be tried before finding the right combination for you and your skin needs.”