Facial Redness: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
Many people struggle with red, swollen skin. Facial redness can be caused by a host of conditions, including sun damage, rosacea, seborrhea, and acne. If you’ve been dealing with rough, red skin and want to alleviate this sometimes painful condition, it’s important to learn what might be causing your facial redness.
In order to treat your facial redness, it’s important to examine the causes behind it.
Facial redness causes run the gamut, ranging from serious diseases like lupus to mild cases of eczema. Take a look at six of the most common factors behind facial redness and discover ways you can better treat and maintain a radiant, smooth complexion.
One of the most common reasons for a red complexion is rosacea. This is a common, incurable, chronic skin condition that can mimic adult acne. This condition typically affects the central portion of the face, particularly the nose.
The symptoms of rosacea:
- Facial redness
- Small red pimples
- Find red vascular lines on the face
- An enlarged red nose with bulbous qualities
- Eye issues, which may include red, swollen eyelids, conjunctivitis, and cornea inflammation
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, rosacea could be to blame. This common skin condition affects at least 16 million people in the United States, and tends to be more prevalent among Caucasian people with fair skin.
For many, rosacea goes undiagnosed for years. Many mistakenly believe their rosacea flare-ups are just a sign of sensitive or flushed skin, but that’s simply because this auto-inflammatory condition can ebb and flow. Unlike acne, rosacea isn’t outgrown but there are treatment options that can reduce redness and lessen its symptoms.
What causes rosacea?
While the exact cause of this skin condition is still unknown, rosacea can flare up for a variety of reasons, including abnormal reaction of blood vessels, bacteria, improper use of facial products, sun exposure, and lifestyle triggers, like alcohol abuse and poor diet habits.
Treatment and Prevention
You can’t prevent rosacea, but you can commit to avoiding certain triggers. If you believe your facial redness is caused by rosacea, avoid eating spicy foods, smoking, and wear only high-quality cosmetics that offer sun blocking protection without clogging pores.
Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, and affects over 50 million Americans annually. This sometimes painful skin condition often begins in adolescence, when young men and women begin puberty; while many see their acne woes disappear after reaching adulthood, many deal with adult breakouts result in facial redness and painful, swollen blemishes.
What causes acne?
Acne forms when the tiny pores on the surface of your skin become plugged with oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, and debris. Each of your pores opens up to a follicle beneath the top layer of your skin; each of these follicles contains a single hair and a sebaceous gland. The latter is responsible for producing sebum, a waxy substance that keeps your skin soft and supple.
When hormonal fluctuations occur, this gland pumps out an excess of sebum. This oily substance can pick up dead skin cells and bacteria on its way out of the pore, creating a plug. When the plug presses against your skin, your body sends red and white blood cells to fight infection. The result? A painful pimple that may be surrounded by facial redness that’s sensitive to the touch.
Treatment and Prevention
If you’re struggling with acne, it’s important to follow a daily skin care regimen using products that are gentle on the skin. With facial redness, it’s especially important to avoid abrasive products, in terms of cleansers and cosmetics. Gently dab your face and avoid harsh scrubbing to prevent further irritation.
Seborrhea, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects millions of Americans each year. Typically, it presents as flaky, red patches. These patches may or may not be itchy, and when this condition is found on the scalp, it can be called dandruff. Most often, you’ll spot these patches on your chest, around your belly button, on the buttocks, in skin folds under your arms or behind your knees, and within the groin.
Newborns and adults ages 30 to 60 are most likely to struggle with seborrheic dermatitis, but it tends to be more common in men and those with oily skin.
What causes seborrhea?
Health care experts aren’t sure exactly what causes seborrhea, but typical culprits include:
- Excess stress
- Genetic predisposition
- A yeast that thrives on the skin
- Medical conditions
- Cold, dry weather conditions
Treatment and Prevention:
Seborrhea is typically a lifetime condition that can be controlled with the right habits. However, if your seborrhea is caused by an underlying medical problem, treatment of the issue may clear up your facial redness and dryness.
Rest and exercise can help to reduce stress, which in turn reduces the likelihood of seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups. Wash every day with a gentle cleanser, and consider using medicated shampoos and sulfur products to control this condition.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause damage to virtually every part of the body, including organs, joints, and the skin. This condition is relatively rare; there are 16,000 new cases reported in the United States each year. It’s most commonly seen in women, but men, children, and teenagers can develop this condition as well.
What causes lupus?
Many researchers believe that lupus develops as a result of a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, and environmental factors. There are more than 50 genes associated with lupus, but none of those have been proven to be a direct link. When it comes to environmental factors, researchers are split. Most believe a virus or chemical can trigger the disease, but other examples of potential triggers include UV rays, infections, colds, exhaustion, and emotional stress.
Treatment and Prevention:
Lupus isn’t preventable, but early diagnosis can help manage this disease. If you believe you have lupus, it’s important to see a rheumatologist, who can treat the condition through a variety of medications.
If your facial redness consists of dry, scaly patches and itchy, cracked skin, you may have eczema. This common, chronic skin condition appears first as dry red and brown patches in skin folds—often inside of elbows, behind the knees, on the underarms—or on the face, neck, hands or feet.
Eczema is truly an umbrella term; it can be used to describe many rash-like skin conditions, or may be used in reference to atopic dermatitis, a skin condition most common amongst infants and young children.
What causes eczema?
Researchers have been unable to pinpoint a direct cause of eczema, but believe that it develops due to a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. Some of these factors include certain irritants found in soap, detergent, shampoo, and juices. Environmental factors may also include certain foods (especially dairy products) and extreme temperatures. Like acne, hormonal fluctuations can also cause eczema flare-ups and excess facial redness.
Treatment and Prevention:
There is no cure for eczema, but there are ways to reduce the appearance and frequency of these flare-ups. There are certain creams and ointments that doctors can prescribe for more severe cases of eczema, but there are some easy DIY ways to combat the facial redness and itching associated with this skin condition.
Try one of these home remedies to treat your eczema:
- Take a lukewarm bath
- Apply moisturizer regularly
- Wear breathable fabrics
- Pat skin dry instead of rubbing
- Avoid triggering factors
5 Ways You Could Be Making Facial Redness Worse
Facial redness can affect anyone at any age, but there are certain triggers that can contribute to red skin. Make sure you’re not unwittingly adding flame to the fire. Here are five things that can make your facial redness worse.
- Stress: We’ve long been told that stress affects our health in a variety of ways, so it should come as no surprise that excess stress can make facial redness worse. To prevent stress-induced redness, practice meditation, exercise regularly, and be sure you’re getting the adequate amount of rest.
- Sun Exposure: We all know spending too much time in the sun can cause a sunburn, but any type of sun exposure can make facial redness worse. The UV rays from the sun trigger your blood vessels to grow; the only way to reduce this is through laser treatment. Be sure you’re sporting sunscreen every time you head outside.
- Alcohol: Alcohol causes inflammation throughout your body, and this inflammation is easy to spot on your skin. Excess alcohol causes the small blood vessels in your skin to widen, allowing more blood to flow close to the surface of your skin. This can lead to flush, which may cause capillaries to break. Drink in moderation to avoid these harmful effects.
- Poor Quality Cosmetics: Using poor-quality cosmetics with harmful ingredients can irritate the skin, resulting in itchy redness. Always select high-quality products that treat your skin while providing the look you want. Browse Colorescience for products that offer SPF protection and a flawless finish.
- Spicy Foods: If you’re struggling with rosacea or another form of facial redness, leave the spicy foods alone. In a survey of over 500 rosacea patients, 61 percent of those affected by spicy foods said hot peppers triggered rosacea signs and symptoms. It turns out spicy foods can dilate blood vessels in the skin, increasing the appearance of facial redness.
If you’re looking for facial redness treatment, first consider the causes behind your skin irritation. Finding the root of the problem helps you discover the best solution, so talk to your health care provider and try some of the above remedies for facial redness.