How to Soothe Irritated Skin on Your Face: 7 Effective Remedies

Keep calm and soothe on!
Fact-Checker: Camila Perez
This article was last updated on: March 29, 2023
Irritated skin on the face can be caused by a variety of factors, but luckily there are a ton of things you can do to get rid of/prevent it from happening in the first place! In this article, we're explaining everything you need to know.
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Inflamed, irritated, itchy, and/or red skin on your face can seriously be a bummer. Not only is it relatively unsightly and damaging to your self-esteem, but it can also be distracting too.

If you have irritated skin on your face you’re in good company – it’s a very very common ailment and thankfully, there’s a huge amount of things you can do to get rid of it fast.

1. Cold Compress

Ah, the good old cold compress. This tried-and-true method is a lifesaver when it comes to calming irritated skin on the face. By applying a cold compress, you’ll help to reduce inflammation and redness, while also providing some immediate relief for that pesky itch.

To make a cold compress, simply grab a soft cloth or towel and soak it in cold water. Wring out the excess, and gently press it against the affected areas of your face. If you’re in a pinch and need something colder, you can even use a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin cloth. Just make sure not to apply the cold compress directly to your skin, as that can lead to further irritation.

Remember, the key here is gentle pressure. Hold the compress on your skin for 10-15 minutes, and repeat as needed throughout the day. Before you know it, your skin will be feeling as cool as a cucumber, and you’ll be well on your way to soothing that irritation

2. Moisturize The Itchy Area

Moisturizing is a crucial step in soothing irritated skin on the face, especially if dryness is the culprit behind the itch. When your skin is parched, it’s more prone to inflammation and discomfort. But don’t worry, we’ve got a remedy that’ll quench your skin’s thirst in no time.

First, make sure to choose a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer that’s specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or glycerin, which will help to draw moisture into the skin and create a protective barrier. Steer clear of any moisturizers containing harsh chemicals, fragrances, or dyes, as these can exacerbate the irritation.

To apply the moisturizer, start with a clean face. Gently massage a generous amount of the product onto the itchy area, using circular motions to ensure even distribution. You’ll want to do this at least twice a day—once in the morning and once before bed. As you continue to hydrate your skin, you’ll notice the itchiness start to subside, and your skin will become more comfortable and radiant.

3. Colloidal Oatmeal Baths

When it comes to natural remedies for soothing irritated skin on the face, an oatmeal bath is a game-changer. Oatmeal has been used for centuries to calm inflammation and itchiness, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Plus, it’s a gentle exfoliant that helps to slough away dead skin cells, leaving your face smooth and refreshed.

Here’s how to make your oatmeal bath for your face:

  1. Grab some colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oats), which is specifically designed for skincare. You can find it at most drugstores or even make your own by blending regular oats in a food processor until they reach a fine, powdery consistency.
  2. Fill a bowl or basin with lukewarm water, making sure it’s not too hot, as extreme temperatures can further irritate the skin.
  3. Mix in 1-2 tablespoons of the colloidal oatmeal until it’s well dispersed in the water.
  4. Gently submerge your face in the oatmeal bath for 10-15 minutes, ensuring the irritated areas are fully soaked.
  5. Rinse your face with lukewarm water and gently pat dry with a clean, soft towel.

Repeat this soothing oatmeal bath up to twice a day to help reduce irritation and itchiness. As your skin starts to heal, you’ll feel a world of difference in its comfort and appearance.

4. Apply Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a true MVP when it comes to soothing irritated skin on the face. This wonder plant is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that work together to reduce inflammation, promote healing, and provide much-needed hydration. Plus, it has a cooling effect that’ll bring instant relief to itchy or burning skin.

To harness the power of aloe vera, follow these simple steps:

  1. Opt for pure aloe vera gel, either directly from the plant or a store-bought product that’s free of any added fragrances, alcohol, or preservatives. These additives can sometimes cause further irritation, so it’s best to stick with the pure stuff.
  2. Clean your face thoroughly and gently pat it dry.
  3. Apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the irritated areas, massaging it in gently with your fingertips.
  4. Let the aloe vera sit on your skin for 15-20 minutes, allowing it to work its magic.
  5. Rinse off the aloe vera with lukewarm water and pat your face dry.

Repeat this process up to twice a day to keep your skin cool, calm, and collected.

5. Anti-Itch Skincare Products

When your skin is throwing a fit, sometimes it’s best to call in the big guns. Anti-itch skincare products are specifically designed to tackle irritation and provide relief for your face. These products often contain ingredients like hydrocortisone, colloidal oatmeal, or calamine, which help to soothe and calm angry skin.

Before you start slathering on the anti-itch creams, though, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always patch test: Before using any new product, it’s essential to perform a patch test on a small area of skin to ensure you won’t have an adverse reaction. The last thing you need is for your already irritated skin to become even more inflamed.
  • Look for gentle formulas: As with any skincare product for irritated skin, you’ll want to choose anti-itch products that are free of harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. Stick to hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic options to minimize the risk of further irritation or breakouts.
  • Follow the instructions: When using anti-itch skincare products, it’s crucial to follow the recommended usage instructions. Overusing these products can sometimes lead to skin thinning or other unwanted side effects.

6. Apply Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another natural remedy that can work wonders for soothing irritated skin on the face. This tropical treat is packed with nourishing fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties that help to moisturize, protect, and calm your skin.

Before you go slathering coconut oil all over your face, though, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind:

  • Choose the right coconut oil: Opt for virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil, which is minimally processed and retains more of its beneficial properties. Avoid using refined coconut oil, as it may have undergone harsh processing methods that strip it of its skin-loving nutrients.
  • Patch test: As with any new skincare product, it’s crucial to patch test coconut oil on a small area of skin to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction.
  • Be mindful of your skin type: Coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning it can clog pores and potentially lead to breakouts for some individuals, especially those with acne-prone or oily skin. If you’re unsure whether coconut oil is right for your skin type, consult with a dermatologist.

To apply coconut oil to your irritated skin, follow these steps:

  1. Clean your face thoroughly and gently pat it dry.
  2. Warm a small amount of coconut oil between your fingers, allowing it to liquefy.
  3. Gently massage the oil onto the irritated areas of your face, using light, circular motions.
  4. Leave the coconut oil on your skin for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight if your skin can tolerate it.
  5. Rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Repeat this process as needed to help soothe your irritated skin.

7. Antihistamines

When your irritated skin on the face is caused by an allergic reaction or histamine release, antihistamines can be a real lifesaver. These medications work by blocking the action of histamines, which are chemicals released by your immune system during an allergic response. By doing so, antihistamines can help to reduce itching, redness, and swelling.

There are two main types of antihistamines to consider:

  1. Oral antihistamines: These are available over-the-counter or by prescription, and include options like diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin), and cetirizine (Zyrtec). Make sure to follow the recommended dosage instructions and be aware that some oral antihistamines can cause drowsiness, so plan accordingly.
  2. Topical antihistamines: These creams or gels can be applied directly to the irritated areas of your face to provide targeted relief. Look for products containing ingredients like diphenhydramine or hydrocortisone. As with any skincare product, it’s important to patch test before using a topical antihistamine and follow the usage instructions carefully.

If you’re unsure whether an antihistamine is right for your situation or need guidance on which one to choose, consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist. They can help determine the underlying cause of your skin irritation and recommend the best course of action for your specific needs.

The Main Triggers of Facial Skin Irritation

Soothing it is great, but understanding why it’s actually happening is also important. Understanding the root cause of the irritation is essential for effective treatment and prevention.

There are various factors that can cause irritated skin on the face. Some common causes include:

  • Dry skin: When the skin lacks adequate moisture, it becomes more prone to irritation, itching, and flakiness. Factors that contribute to dry skin include cold weather, low humidity, harsh soaps or cleansers, over-washing, and long hot showers or baths. Aging and certain medical conditions can also cause the skin to become dry.
  • Allergies: Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to substances that come into contact with the skin. Common allergens include fragrances, preservatives, latex, nickel in jewelry, and certain plant materials like poison ivy. Allergic reactions can cause redness, swelling, itching, and inflammation.
  • Eczema: Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, itchy patches of skin. Eczema is often triggered by environmental factors, allergens, stress, or hormonal changes. People with a family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever are more prone to developing this condition.
  • Acne: Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Inflammation from acne breakouts can cause redness, irritation, and discomfort. Hormonal fluctuations, stress, certain medications, and a genetic predisposition can contribute to acne.
  • Sunburn: Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburn, which results in skin redness, inflammation, and pain. Sunburns can damage the skin, making it more susceptible to irritation and premature aging.
  • Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness, swelling, and visible blood vessels on the face. It can also result in sensitive, irritated skin. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but it may be linked to genetic factors, blood vessel abnormalities, or an overactive immune system.
  • Harsh skincare products: Products containing harsh chemicals, fragrances, alcohol, or dyes can cause skin irritation and sensitivity. Overusing skincare products or using products that are not suitable for your skin type can also contribute to skin irritation.
  • Over-exfoliation: While exfoliation is essential for removing dead skin cells and promoting skin renewal, overdoing it can damage the skin’s barrier and cause irritation. Exfoliating too frequently, using abrasive exfoliants, or applying excessive pressure during exfoliation can lead to skin irritation.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to cold weather, wind, pollution, and other environmental factors can cause skin irritation and sensitivity. These factors can strip the skin of its natural oils, making it more susceptible to irritation and damage.
  • Stress: Emotional stress can impact the skin’s health, making it more reactive and prone to irritation. Stress can also trigger or exacerbate certain skin conditions like eczema and acne.


Irritated skin on the face is a common issue that can be effectively managed with a variety of remedies. To soothe and reduce inflammation, try methods such as cold compresses, moisturizing, colloidal oatmeal baths, aloe vera, anti-itch skincare products, coconut oil, or antihistamines.

Always opt for gentle, fragrance-free products and patch-test before use to ensure compatibility. If you’re uncertain about the cause of your irritation or the best solution for your skin, consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional for personalized advice.

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