Woman with rosacea

Reduce redness with these skin care products and expert advice. Photo: Alamy

From scrubs to cleansing brushes and antiaging retinoid treatments, today's complexions are often put through demanding paces to achieve that most prized, glowing complexion.

Yet our skin has never looked more red, or ached with more sensitivity.

And it's no coincidence. According to experts, all of those popular high-tech potions and procedures contribute to a gradual wearing down of the outer layers of skin, leading to an uptick in the number of people who suffer from continual redness and sensitivity issues.

"I am seeing an increased number of patients in my practice with stressed out skin from overexfoliation. In these cases, exfoliation can be too much of a good thing," says Washington, D.C., dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi.

Facial tools that are too aggressive, scrubs with jagged granules and simply treating skin too often are all common causes of redness. Yet the sneakiest trigger is overlayering too many ingredients on the skin -- which is all too easy to do with the proliferation of moisturizers and serums that seemingly pack everything in but the kitchen sink, says Dr. Anne Chapas, assistant clinical professor at New York University School of Medicine.

"Anyone can have sensitive skin after combining products with similar irritation profiles, or just using too many products in general. The big culprits are Retin A and retinol, alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids and irritating fragrance or preservatives," says Chapas.

If your skin is flushing red with sensitivity, you can stage an intervention by taking a week off from using exfoliating products like cleansing brushes and retinol. Use a mild cleanser like Cetaphil and a fragrance-free moisturizer during this "detox" time.

Then slowly introduce your favorite products back to your routine, one at a time, and taking careful note if you react to any of them. If so, back off use. It's actually better for you in the long term, advises Chapas.

"It's important to realize that whatever gains can be made by exfoliating or using a great product are going to be nullified if the skin is in a constant state of stress, which can actually accelerate the aging process, or make acne worse," says Chapas.

Yikes. You need not tell us twice.

Yet the beauty industry has taken notice of all our overzealous scrubbing and treating, with a plethora of products created solely to ease the redness and sensitivity our ambitious skin-care routines have left behind.

When StyleList caught up with Bare Escentuals CEO Leslie Blodgett at a QVC press event recently, she divulged that the brand's next big launch, coming in August, will be a skin cream formulated to target red skin.

"Red skin is an issue our customers have told us is a chief concern for them," Blodgett told StyleList. "We want to provide not just Bare Minerals to minimize it, but a skin-care solution as well."

But a word of caution: First, you'll want to determine if the redness you're experiencing is due to sensitivity or the medical condition rosacea.

Affecting over 16 million Americans, rosacea is marked by clusters of small bumps, spidery facial veins and redness localized to the center nose, inner cheeks and chin. On the other hand, classic sensitivity redness can be found anywhere on the face, and is not automatically accompanied by bumps or veins.

Whether you have rosacea or sensitivity, you may find relief from the products in the gallery below -- but it's important to visit a dermatologist if you suspect rosacea as a possibility, as the condition can grow more stubborn and severe over time without the guided treatment of an expert.

Check out celebrity makeup artist Eve Pearl's how-to video on applying foundation and eliminating rosacea.