Sometimes the dry red patches that accompany breakouts can feel worse than the zits themselves. These inflamed, blotchy areas can be very difficult to hide; the problem is that to cover the redness, you have to use a super-pigmented, full-coverage concealer or color corrector, but since red patches tend to be flaky, any makeup applied on top generally looks crusty and obvious and bad.
Recently, during a particularly brutal menstrual cycle, my skin erupted: pimples, red patches, the whole thing. I took to my usual skin-care forums and blogs (like Fan Serviced and r/AsianBeauty) in the hopes of finding a new product or ingredient that would help me soothe my very red, pissed-off skin. My beloved Centella Blemish Cream from Cosrx had just run out (although I generally prefer that product for healing scabs, rather than redness and irritation) and my frozen jade roller just wasn’t doing it for me. Some light research revealed that everyone on Reddit was talking about a single, strange-sounding ingredient: mugwort. So I looked into it. Mugwort, apparently, is a weed commonly used in both Korean cuisine and medicine, and has antibacterial, antifungal, and skin-healing properties. The antioxidant-rich weed has been known to have calming and soothing effects on any kind of inflamed, angry, or hot skin.
I decided to purchase two mugwort products — a wash-off mask and an essence — from a K-beauty brand called I’m From, which I learned about via the skin-care YouTuber Gothamista. When they arrived, my skin was still a mess, and I decided to test them out.
I washed my face with a gentle cleanser (Dr. Loretta, per usual), put on the mask for five minutes (it has this wonderful cooling sensation, which feels particularly refreshing on irritated skin), rinsed it off, and patted on some of the essence.
And wow! My skin looked soft and supple, and the flaky redness surrounding my pimples had calmed significantly. The instructions said to only use the mask once a week, but I continued to incorporate the essence in my nightly skin-care routine (after cleansing, before moisturizer) for a few days after. I should note here that neither product really reduced the size of the pimples themselves — I’d recommend sticking on an Acropass pimple patch after the essence absorbs — but they took care of all of the redness surrounding the acne by the second day of use.
Using these two mugwort products together worked wonders on my skin, but they’re great used separately, as well. If you have oily skin, or suffer from red, dry scaliness only occasionally (around your time of the month, or after a breakout), the mask is the perfect intensive, once-in-a-while treatment. And if you have consistently dry, blotchy red skin, you should incorporate the soothing, hydrating essence into your day-to-day routine — it’ll be a lifesaver for you.
Redness can feel like one of the most frustrating, hard-to-solve skin-care problems, but these two products have given me great hope.
And the essence.
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