What are you supposed to do if your skin is burning, itchy, peeling, red, and generally inflamed? Well, if you reach for an exfoliant or retinol serum, you’re sentencing yourself to even more irritation. Even a foamy, stripping cleanser can be damaging—to sum it up, you have to tread very lightly.
However, there are a few hero ingredients to look for in your go-to products if you want to mitigate redness, and they can actually help, not hurt, an irritated complexion. Save this list the next time you wonder what’s safe to slather on your skin (and what’s decidedly not).