Why is my face always red (and what to do about it)

Why is my face always red (and what to do about it)

Every week or so we get at least one client that comes in asking us, ‘Why is my face always red? Is it rosacea? Is it acne? How can I reduce redness in my face?’

A red face can be caused by many things. Some people have a naturally ruddy complexion. You might have gotten too much sun. Or it could be the sign of a medical condition (like lupus) - though this is rarely the case.

The best way to know for sure is to see a skin specialist or if you’re worried it might be something serious, check in with your local GP.

Here are five of the most common red face causes.

1. Rosacea

Rosacea (pronounced row-ZAY-she-uh)  is facial redness that usually occurs around the cheeks and nose. It can also affect the skin area around the eyes. Rosacea is often accompanied by small bumps filled with pus and can resemble acne.

The red face skin is caused by the swelling of blood vessels under the skin which makes the skin look red and warm. Rosacea is not caused by bad hygiene, it is hereditary and can be triggered by alcohol, red wine, heat and spicy food. 

The redness from rosacea usually flares up for a few weeks or months and tends to go away on its own, but will tend to come back again. Rosacea usually affects women over 30 with fair skin.

What to do for rosacea: 

There is no cure for rosacea but to reduce the facial redness and keep it under control, you can consider LED light therapy and laser genesis. It is also a good idea to avoid over exposure to triggers like sunlight, alcohol, stress and spicy food.

2. Acne

Acne is another common cause of redness on the face. Acne is caused by hair follicles that get clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It presents as red bumps and pimples on your face - yes, just like rosacea.

So how can you tell the difference between acne and rosacea? 

According to the National Rosacea Society, rosacea looks like persistent flushing and redness of the face, whereas when you have acne, you will notice the presence of lots of comedones or blackheads. Acne also often occurs on other parts of the body as well such as the chest, upper back and shoulders.

What to do for acne: 

Acne is a skin condition that can be treated by over-the-counter medications, either topical or oral. If acne scarring or acne prone skin is bothering you, you can seek advice from a skin therapist or dermatologist. New advancements in laser skincare have been found to be effective in treating acne such as using a combination of chemical peels and LED light therapy

3. Eczema

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. You may notice dry red patches, rough scaly skin or itchy bumps which may leak fluid when you scratch.

It is caused by an overactive immune system to allergens in the air. People with eczema tend to be allergic to many things such as pollen, cats, laundry detergent and dairy products, and many people with eczema also develop asthma and hay fever.

Melbourne has been dubbed the allergy capital of the world due to its high grass and pollen count. So if your face is red and itchy, especially during the spring season or thunderstorm asthma, there is a high chance you may have eczema.

What to do for eczema:

People with eczema tend to have very dry and sensitive skin. It is important to keep skin moisturised and clean using hypoallergenic and fragrance-free products.

4. Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is actually dandruff but it can also appear on your face, eyebrows, eyelids and the sides of your nose. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can be characterised by patches of greasy skin, flaky white or yellow scales, red skin and itching.

What to do for seborrheic dermatitis:

If you have seborrheic dermatitis, it’s best to see a doctor. The condition can be treated with anti-fungal creams and medication, alongside ointments and shampoos to control the inflammation.

5. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis simply means you may be allergic to a certain product or substance you have come into contact with. Have you used a new moisturiser or facial cleanser on your face lately? Are you trying out a new perfume?

Sometimes the allergy-causing culprit could be something not directly related to your face.

Like a new shampoo for example. If you have contact dermatitis, the redness and itch will usually show up within a couple of minutes or hours.

That said, there are some products which may only trigger an allergic reaction once they have been exposed to the sun such as certain sunscreens. The best way to figure out what you’re allergic to is to do a quick audit of anything new you have used lately.

What to do for Contact dermatitis:

Contact dermatitis rashes are usually not serious, just uncomfortable. You can wash the affected area, take antihistamines and use topically applied creams to soothe the rash. Try to avoid the allergen. Or if you’re not sure what triggered it, take a patch test to find out. 

Are you still wondering, 'Why is my face red?'

There are a few other causes of red face such as an Asian glow (a flush you get after drinking, common among Asians). Or it could be broken capillaries from sun damage, which can be easily treated with laser treatment for spider veins.

As you can see, there are many red face causes. Many are related to sun exposure, excessive alcohol and the use of allergenic skincare products. Hence, the first step to preventing a red face is to limit your exposure to these products.

If you have any more questions about what causes red face, please get in touch with one of our friendly therapists today.