When it comes to red blotchy skin, there are several ways to correct it. For example, Lightroom has the HSL/Color panel in the Develop Module. Photoshop also has a similar adjustment layer called Hue/Saturation and it has two important functions that Lightroom’s HSL panel does not have: Color Range and Masking. Here is how to easily and more effectively correct red blotchy skin in Photoshop.
The Original Photo
One of the problems with red blotchy skin is that they are very irregular and are fairly dispersed around the skin. Because of this, manually masking them off with a layer mask would take too much time and effort. A quicker way to isolate the red skin is to use the Eyedropper and Color Range Function within the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.
Step 1: Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer & Open Red Color
The first step is to add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and switch to the “Reds” under the second drop down menu.
Step 2: Use the Eye Dropper on Reddish Skin
Notice that there are 3 sets of Eye Droppers near the bottom of the Hue/Sat panel. Underneath that is the Color Range panel. Both work in tandem to help you isolate colors that will be affected by this adjustment layer for Reds. Pick the first eye dropper and sample one of the red blotchy skin. The Color range will adjust according to that sample color.
Step 3: Slide Hue All the Way to the Left
Next, take the Hue slider and slide it all the way to the left. The color for the skin should look very crazy like below. This is actually how you can easily tell what part of the skin is being affected by the Color Range. In this case, all of the skin is still affected so we will have to shrink the Color Range limiter until only the red, blotchy skin is selected.
Step 4: Adjust the Color Range Selection Until it Only Affects Red Blotchy Skin
This is the most important step in this technique. In the Color Range, there are two sets of limiters on both sides of the affected color range. The two small boxes at either ends are the absolute limit of affected colors. Next to these boxes are longer rectangles that feather the amount affected.
What you want to do is play around with this Color Range limiter until you shrink the affected colors so it only affects the red blotchy skin. You can easily see what is affected in real time because the Hue slider is all the way to the left. If you were to do this while the Hue slider was still at 0, you will not know what part of the skin is going to be shifted.
Step 5: Color-Correct the Red Blotchy Skin
Once you are satisfied with the area that you are want to correct, reset the Hue slider back to 0 and start moving it incrementally to the right until the red skin starts to blend in with the rest of the normal skin. In this case, a Hue amount of 15 effectively corrects the red skin. You can also adjust the Saturation and Lightness Slider as needed.
Step 6: Use Layer Mask to Mask off Areas such as Lips
Because certain areas such as the lips may be affected by this Color Range, you may have to use a Layer Mask and a Black Brush to mask off areas that you don’t want this Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer to affect. I also masked off his eyes in order to preserve the reddish tones in his iris and near the tear ducts. That’s it!
Before and After