Facial redness is not an uncommon problem and there are several causes. For some people, it is just redness while for others the redness is accompanied by other symptoms. It is important to identify the underlying cause so that you can receive the proper treatment. There are options to help to calm the inflammation so that your skin looks and is healthier.
What is Skin Inflammation?
Your immune system plays an integral role in helping to reduce the risk of you getting sick. It mounts a response to detecting and neutralising infectious microbes and other foreign invaders. When your immune system is at work, inflammation can develop. Like any area of your body, an immune response can include your skin.
Inflammation is often thought of as heat. This heat can cause the affected part of your skin to become red and irritated. Some types of skin inflammation are temporary, such as acquiring a sunburn with too much sun exposure. However, certain chronic conditions may also cause your skin to become red and irritated.
Skin Inflammation Symptoms
When your skin is inflamed, redness is a very common symptom. However, it may be accompanied by other discomforts, including:
- Itching, stinging or burning
- The affected area might become warm
- Cracked or raw areas that could possibly start to bleed, especially if you scratch or pick at them
- Scaly or smooth red patches
- Raised areas of redness and irritation
- Pimples or blisters
- The affected area may become thickened
Causes of Facial Redness
There are several causes of facial redness. In some cases, things like stress or very hot or cold temperatures can cause redness. Certain medical issues are also commonly associated with skin redness.
Among the most common causes include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis: This is a skin condition that can result in a rash. When this condition is present, the affected area might also look scaly, dry and oily.
- Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that is characterised by the skin on your face blushing or flushing easily.
- Contact dermatitis: This skin issue usually occurs as the result of an allergy or sensitivity to something. For example, certain fragrances or poison ivy can cause redness and inflammation where these items touch your skin, including your face.
- Medication reactions: Certain medications can cause facial redness that resembles a sunburn when you take them. For example, if you use hydrocortisone cream for longer than recommended it may cause redness in the area where you applied it.
- Psoriasis: This is a chronic skin condition characterised by your body producing new skin cells too quickly. This causes them to essentially accumulate on your skin’s surface, resulting in scaly, raised patches that can be inflamed and red.
- Eczema: This skin condition is typically characterised by a rapidly forming rash. In addition to redness, the affected area may also be scaly, dry and itchy.
- Shingles: This is an infection that can cause rashes anywhere on your body. The rash tends to be blistering, red and painful.
- Spider veins: Facial spider veins typically result from sun damage. They can appear red and irritated. One area of the body where they can occur is on your face.
- Lupus: One of the characteristic symptoms of lupus is a rash on your face. It tends to have the shape of a butterfly, covering your nose and cheeks.
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Your doctor might recommend oral or topical treatments, depending on what is causing facial redness and inflammation. The following are general topical treatments:
- Facial skin inflammation may respond to corticosteroid creams, but you have to ensure that you do not take them longer than prescribed or you could possibly experience more redness
- Topical anti-fungal or antibiotic creams might be prescribed for infections
- If your immune system is causing facial redness, your doctor might recommend a topical immunomodulator to calm your symptoms
- For minor skin irritation, such as due to contact dermatitis, calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream may be beneficial
- For rosacea, creams that restrict the blood vessels may reduce skin redness. Examples include oxymetazoline or brimonidine. These creams are used regularly since their ability to constrict your blood vessels is generally temporary
The following are general oral treatments:
- If you have certain types of dermatitis or hives, the medication dapsone may alleviate itching and redness
- Methotrexate, retinoids or biologic medications may be prescribed if you have psoriasis
- Facial redness due to allergies may respond to antihistamines
- If an infection is causing your facial redness, prescription antifungals or antibiotics might be recommended
- Oral acne drugs or antibiotics might be recommended to calm the redness associated with rosacea
There are also some things that you can do at home to help to reduce facial inflammation and redness:
- When your skin is red and irritated, a wet, cool compress may ease your symptoms
- Oatmeal may protect against irritants and it has anti-inflammatory properties
- Manage your stress levels
- Keep dry skin moisturised using products that are free from dyes and fragrances
- If you have eczema, have your vitamin D levels checked since a deficiency may contribute to more frequent bouts of skin irritation
- Talk to your doctor about using phototherapy to reduce inflammation, using either artificial or natural light (just make sure that the underlying cause of your skin redness will respond favourably because using this method)
Tips for Preventing Facial Redness
There is no single way to prevent facial redness, but there are some things that you can do to reduce your risk. If your facial redness is the result of an irritant or allergen, reducing your exposure can help to decrease your chances of experiencing facial redness. Other ways to reduce your risk of facial redness and inflammation include:
- Limit how much alcohol you consume since this can cause skin warmth and redness, especially if you are prone to it. For some people, the enzyme in the body that works to breakdown alcohol does not work properly, making them more likely to get flushed when they drink.
- Reduce your exposure to bright sunlight and extreme temperatures.
- Work to better cope with stress since it can be a trigger for facial redness.
- Reduce how much spicy food you consume and handle, especially those that contain peppers.
- Do not take more niacin per day than recommended. Facial flushing can occur when you get over 50 milligrammes per day.
If you are experiencing facial redness and inflammation, you should make an appointment with your doctor. They can help you to identify the cause and discuss the possible treatment options with you.
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