Many people with rosacea suffer from facial redness, flushing, and blushing. Exercise provides many health benefits, but for some people, it can trigger a flushed, hot and irritated face. Here are some tips on how to reduce the redness caused by working out or any physical activity.
Why does my face turn red after exercising?
A facial redness from exercise may appear to be a cause for concern, but it is usually just your body’s way of dealing with the extra heat created by exercise. Many changes occur in your body when you exercise:
- You will breathe more quickly in order to increase the amount of oxygen in your blood.
- Your heart rate will increase, increasing blood flow to your muscles.
- Your small blood vessels will dilate, allowing more oxygen to reach your muscles while also carrying away carbon dioxide and other waste products.
When you exercise, your temperature rises, causing blood to flow to the skin’s surface and causing you to sweat and cool down. The capillaries dilate to deliver more oxygen to the working muscle groups while also bringing heat to the skin’s surface to prevent overheating.
This natural mechanism can cause a flushed, redness, which is especially noticeable in fair-skinned people.
When skin redness should be a concern
Exercise causes flushing that goes away after a while; however, rosacea does not go away. Rosacea occurs when the cheeks, chins, nose, and forehead remain flushed for extended periods of time without any stimulus for flushing.
Because this is a chronic flushing disorder, you’ll notice small broken capillaries on your cheeks and nose, as well as pimples similar to acne, but without the blackheads or whiteheads we usually see.
If you’re experiencing this, you should see a dermatologist right away.
Most exercise-induced facial flushing is normal; however, if you are exercising in extreme heat, a facial redness could be an early sign of heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.
Excessive sweating, nausea, and lightheadedness are also symptoms of heat exhaustion. Heatstroke occurs when the body’s ability to compensate for excessive heat is exhausted. This may include a reduced ability to sweat with hot, dry, or only slightly moist skin.
Heatstroke is a potentially fatal condition that requires immediate medical attention because it causes your body’s temperature to rise above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to prevent flushing BEFORE exercise
Avoid high-inflammatory, stimulants foods/drinks
High-inflammatory foods, such as cakes, candies, fast foods, pastries, pastas, and so on, can dilate the capillaries, making them more visible.
Stimulants such as chocolate, coffee, and, most importantly, ALCOHOL make the redness ten times worse. Have you ever noticed how your face appears flushed after every cocktail party, as if you’ve just gotten out of a wild rut? It’s because alcohol stimulates your capillaries in the same way that exercise does.
Many people have the habit of grabbing a Starbucks before a workout to get that low-calorie energy boost, but if your face flushes easily, it’s time to switch to healthier options.
Avoid using creams & topical products with harsh, drying ingredients
It’s true that dry skin turns red easily, so avoid skin care and makeup products with drying ingredients like dry alcohol, acidic contents, essential oils, parfum, and mattifying properties.
Instead, choose topical products containing nourishing, hydrating, and skin soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, green tea, niacinamide, vitamin B5, and antioxidants (vitamin C is recommended) to combat inflammation and skin irritation.
Choose a cool environment and wear loose fitting clothes
One of the simplest ways to avoid those pesky rosy cheeks is to exercise in a cool environment. Try getting up early and working out before it gets too hot outside, or wait until later in the afternoon after the sun has set and it has cooled down a bit.
Wearing clothes made of lighter materials that aren’t too tight around or on your face is another way to avoid face redness while working out. If they are, they will trap heat and cause you to sweat even more, leading to the red.
How to prevent skin redness WHILE you’re working out
Staying hydrated is key
Because your skin is an organ, it requires water just like the rest of your body! Dehydration causes your skin to become drier and more irritated than usual.
Drinking water throughout your workout will make a significant difference in how your skin reacts to being pushed to its limits.
Furthermore, staying hydrated throughout your workout helps to keep your internal temperature stable, preventing overheating.
Try cleansing wipes with soothing ingredients
During your short rest periods between workouts, use a cleansing wipe containing skin-soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, cucumber, green tea, or witch hazel. These natural ingredients can help decrease the red and irritation in the skin while also providing a nice, refreshing sensation — why not give them a try?
Don’t push yourself too hard!
When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do for your skin is to not push yourself too hard during workouts, especially if you’re doing something new or more intense than usual. Listen to your body, take it easy when necessary, and avoid overexertion.
How to reduce Face redness AFTER working out
Spritzing cold water/cooling mist all over your face and body
Sweat and red skin work together to keep the skin cool. When your skin circulation increases, you need more water to produce sweat that can evaporate from your skin.
The conversion of liquid sweat to vapor consumes energy in the form of heat, which cools the skin. She recommends spritzing cold water on your face while exercising to mimic the cooling effect of sweat.
Keep an Avène Thermal Spring Water, $19, in the fridge and bring it to classes as a go-to stay-cool trick to help manage redness. The lovely light mist feels lovely, but if you don’t want to spend money, you can always keep a spritz bottle of tap water in your fridge for the same cooling effects.
This trick keeps your skin hydrated after a heavy sweat session, but it doesn’t exactly decrease redness. After using the hydrating mist, your skin will feel smoother and less tight.
Using a cold, damped washed cloth
After exercising, you can also apply a cold, damp washcloth to your face to relieve skin tightness. After that, apply a gel moisturizer to help cool your skin and soothe inflammation.
If your facial redness persists, you can treat the inflammation with a dab of hydrocortisone cream; just be careful how much you apply because it is a topical steroid.
Try a green tinted moisturizer
When applying makeup, avoid using anti-redness products in excess. The red will fade on its own sooner or later. To cover post-workout flush, many skin experts recommend a tinted moisturizer rather than a heavier foundation. This little trick works wonders for reducing redness without looking too makeup-y.
It’s natural to want to stay in shape and look good, but sometimes you’ll find yourself at a gym, getting ready to do some hardcore fitness exercise and wondering why your face is red while everyone else is healthy-looking and normal.
The best way to reduce face redness after you work out is to be prepared for it. Find out why your face gets red, is it just a normal heat processing of the body, or because of underlying causes like Rosacea? Hopefully, next time you go to the gym, you’ll be more confident about your skin and your problem will be improved.