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Facial Redness: Causes and Treatments

How to prevent and get rid of redness on the face

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Anyone who has ever dealt with any kind of redness on their face knows that it’s not fun or easy to cover up, and in some cases, it’s flat-out uncomfortable. If you’ve ever wondered how to get rid of redness on your face, you’re not alone—but the first step is figuring out exactly what’s causing the redness.

Here’s everything you need to know about the most common causes of facial flushing and redness on the face, and how to get rid of it.

What Causes Redness in the Face?

According to cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, facial redness can be caused by several factors. “Causes range from rosacea to acne to visible blood vessels from sun damage,” she says. “Any facial flushing as a result of these factors will often need intervention by a board-certified dermatologist and may require cosmetic procedures.”

However, she adds, facial redness can also be a result of lifestyle factors like exercise, emotional stress, alcohol, spicy foods, and/or high heat. “In these instances, facial redness is often temporary and will subside on its own,” she says.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a common chronic skin condition that causes redness, visible bumps, or pimples on your skin, and broken blood vessels. “The primary sites are the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin and may also be associated with a burning or itching sensation,” Dr. Green notes.

Rosacea treatments

There is currently no cure for rosacea, according to Dr. Green, but treatment can help control the symptoms. “Rosacea is commonly diagnosed incorrectly as eczema, psoriasis, or allergic dermatitis which can make it difficult for patients to find relief,” she says. “Therefore, it is essential to get a proper, immediate diagnosis so you can receive appropriate treatment.”

One of the best ways to treat rosacea, according to Dr. Green, is with a laser. “Facial redness as a result of rosacea is often treated with the VBeam Laser which only targets the red pigment on your skin and leaves the surrounding skin unaffected.”

You can also try topical medications if you have mild to moderate rosacea. “A dermatologist can prescribe Mirvaso, Soolantra, and Metrogel,” Dr. Green says. “These topical medications work to reduce flushing by constricting blood vessels. Many of these medications need to be applied regularly for a few weeks to see improvements and maintain them.”

Making sure you’re taking the best possible care of your skin is also key. “You should always try to cleanse your face twice a day to remove all dirt and oil,” Dr. Green says. “Choose a mild, rosacea-friendly cleanser and gently rub it into your face with your fingertips before rinsing off with lukewarm water. Another important step is moisturizing which can help support the skin’s protective barrier and make it more resistant to environmental damage that can dry out your skin. It is also essential that you use a physical sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above. Sun exposure is one of the most common triggers of facial redness.”

Finally, you may want to try oral antibiotics. “If you have moderate to severe rosacea with bumps and pimples, oral antibiotics like doxycycline (Oracea) can help,” Dr. Green says. “Although its mechanism of action is unknown, it works to effectively treat inflammatory lesions of rosacea.”

Other Causes of Facial Redness

Of course, as noted above, rosacea isn’t the only cause of facial redness. Some other common causes of redness in the face include:


Sometimes, your genes are to blame for facial redness—particularly when it comes to rosacea. “Certain variations in HLA genes contribute to the abnormal inflammation that is characteristic of rosacea,” notes Dr. Green. “Some studies have suggested that people with rosacea are four times more likely to have a positive family history than individuals without the condition.”

Treatment options

If you’re dealing with rosacea, talk to your dermatologist about what treatment options may be available for you, from a topical treatment to oral antibiotics and laser treatments.


Acne is another common cause of facial redness, according to Dr. Green. “Facial acne occurs when the pores are clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, and infected with bacteria,” she says. “The body’s immune system responds to the bacteria by attacking it which causes inflammation. This results in skin redness that is mainly localized around the major areas of skin breakouts.”

Treatment options

If you’re suffering from facial redness due to acne, talk to your dermatologist about what treatment options may be available to you including topical treatments, oral antibiotics, and more.

Sun damage

Sun damage is another cause of facial redness. “ Sun damage can break down collagen and elastin and cause your skin to become thin,” explains Dr. Green. “Persistent sun damage to your face can cause the top layer to peel and make blood vessels under the skin more visible. It can also enlarge and dilate your blood vessels, creating the appearance of facial redness.”

Treatment options

If you’re dealing with sun damage, your dermatologist may be able to present certain laser treatment options to you that can help. And to avoid further sun damage, make sure to always apply SPF.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is another common cause of facial redness. “When blood pressure is temporarily higher than normal, the face can become red,” Dr. Green says. “Exercise and alcohol are two factors that can raise your blood pressure which can cause the blood vessels in the face to dilate and become red.”

Treatment options

If your blood pressure is temporarily high, the redness should disappear on its own. However, if you have generally high blood pressure, it’s important to talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower it.

How to Prevent Facial Redness

A good skincare routine can help with facial redness and rosacea by helping your skin feel more comfortable, boosting your skin’s overall health, and reducing the risk of flare-ups, Dr. Green explains.

“Individuals should cleanse their face twice a day with a gentle cleanser, moisturize frequently, and protect their skin from the sun,” she says. “Cleansing your face twice daily will ensure there is no oil and dirt on your skin that may irritate you. Moisturizing frequently can also help reduce irritation and reinforce an impaired protection barrier.”

Sun protection is also key. “Sun exposure damages the skin barrier and can trigger a facial redness flare-up, especially when combined with heavy exercise and heat,” Dr. Green says. “And try to avoid skincare products that contain ingredients like alcohol, fragrance, glycolic acid, lactic acid, menthol, urea, and sodium laurel sulfate.”

Key Takeaways

Facial redness has a handful of causes, and some of them are easy to get rid of on your own. But if you’ve tried to get rid of facial redness to no avail, it’s important to talk to your dermatologist, who can help you get to the bottom of exactly what’s going on and lay out the best treatment options.

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