Red Face When Exercising- Normal or Not?

man exercising and lifting weights with a red face

Red Face After Exercise- Why Does My Face Turn Red When I Exercise?

Do you get a bright red face or red blotchy red skin after exercise?  Is this normal or does it mean you have rosacea? Is there anything that can be done to prevent facial flushing?

What causes red face when you exercise?

When you exercise, blood flow increases to your skin making it look pink, red or blotchy. 

This is one of the ways that the body helps lower it's temperature and it is completely normal. 

However, some people, especially those with very light skin, get an extremely red face after exercise and it can last over an hour. 

Why do I get red, blotchy skin after exercise?

Increased blood flow to the skin causes a red face.

A extremely red face that lasts along time after exercise may be rosacea.

Even if it not true rosacea, rosacea prescription medication that prevent dilation of the blood vessels can help prevent a red face when you exercise.

Ask your doctor about oxymetazoline.

Find a dermatologist or medical provider near you here.

Rosacea is a skin disorder that is progressive when not treated.  

If you have normal blood pressure and are healthy but your face gets very red when exercising,  you may have rosacea.  Learn more about rosacea in men here.

Getting on a soothing skin care routine will help.  The first step is learning your Baumann Skin Type .  If you are using the wrong skin care products, this can make your face get really red with exercise even if you do not have actual rosacea. 

How to prevent a red face when working out?

I live in Miami where it is very hot so I am often asked by patients "How to keep my face from getting red when working out?"  This can be especially troublesome problem when exercising outdoors.

Here are some tips to help prevent a red face while running or exercising:

  • Avoid chemical sunscreens that can cause a skin rash when used in the sun (photoallergy)
  • Put ice in a metal water bottle so your beverage is really cold.  You can roll the cold metal bottle on your face to cool it
  • Ask your doctor about a medication called Rhofade that helps shrink blood vessels on the face preventing redness when exercising. Apply it 2 - 4 hours before exercising for best results.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to stabilize your microbiome which plays a poorly understood role in rosacea
  • Eat salmon and flax seed oil for their anti-inflammatory properties
  • Use detergents such as Tide free on the towels you use for your face when exercising
  • Avoid washing face with face wipes or alcohol pads
  • Avoid using hydroxyacids on your skin prior to exercise
  • Use a skin care routine for sensitive skin that matches your Baumann Skin Type

What chemicals in sunscreen should I avoid so I wont get a red face when exercising outside?

  • Avobenzone (Parsol)

    Benzophenone

    Butylmethoxydibenzoylmethane

    Dibenzyl

    Octocrylene

    Oxybenzone

How to get rid of a red face after exercising?

The prescription medication for rosacea called Rhofade works by preventing blood vessels from dilating on the face. 

If used regularly (on a daily basis) it can help prevent facial redness during and after exercise.  It takes 2-4 hours to kick in so apply at least 2- 4 hours before exercising.  Results last 12 hours so if you exercise first thing in the am, you can apply it before you go to bed so you are within the 12 hour window. 

Although you can use Rhofade sporadically, it works best when used regularly as a part of an anti-inflammatory skin care routine that is customized for your Baumann Skin Type.

What can cause a red face besides exercise?

  • detergents in towels
  • caffeine, red bull and other stimulants
  • emotion
  • hormones
  • stress
  • rosacea
  • using the wrong skin care products for your skin type

Discover your baumann skin type

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