5 Reasons for Facial Redness

There are a lot of reasons people’s faces turn red. But, many people want to get rid of it, or they want to figure out why it’s happening. So, let's talk about the top five reasons. If any of this sounds like you, you can take this information to your doctor or dermatologist and get a diagnosis that could help you with facial redness.


Photocred: LifeofAlley

When Cassandra lightly rakes her fingernails across her skin, she gets these big, red welts. For Cassandra, this is how her dermatographia presents. Some people get dermatographia that welts up badly and some people just get a little redness like Cassandra. 

Dermatographia is a histamine-driven reaction in the skin. Your body creates histamine when you’re having an allergic reaction. So, it's an inflammatory hive-like reaction in the skin. However, it may not hurt. For Cassandra, it doesn’t. This is also related to circulation. There are lots of blood vessels all over our skin and all over our body. But, those blood vessels are really close to the surface. And if they are very overactive, they can flush. This often happens when we’re embarrassed. 

Idiopathic craniofacial erythema 

For some people, blushing takes on a new level.  Idiopathic means there is no reason for it, and although the exact causes are unknown, it may be due to acne. This event is not damaging though. 

Photocred: Scroller

Damaged skin barrier

Photocred: idiva

Sometimes when we use certain exfoliants and products a lot, it can damage our skin barrier. And even when we switch out too many products at a time, or we don’t use products that nourish or rebuild our skin barrier, we can end up with a damaged skin barrier. 

If it’s because of products, you can start using products that are more calming and less irritating. It might be helpful to use fewer fragrances, less colorants, and less stripping agents like denatured alcohol. These changes may help improve the skin barrier.

What is the skin barrier?

Our skin has multiple layers. The first one is the epidermis which has five tiny little layers within it. Then, there's the dermis which has two, big thicker layers. On top of the epidermis, there’s something called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is made of oils and fats that protect the epidermis.



But, what happens when the acid mantle becomes compromised? Well, you may start to see dryness and redness. But, you can also have oily skin and a damaged skin barrier, too.

But, if you notice dryness, flaking, irritation, and a whole bunch of redness, you may be using damaging products that are damaging the skin barrier. 

Another thing that can cause redness is eczema and psoriasis. Conditions like eczema and psoriasis are normal, but they have a large genetic component, and they can damage the skin barrier. If you think you have eczema or psoriasis, you need to get these diagnosed and treated by a derm. 



Photocred: Medical News Today

Rosacea is a response within the skin that can look similar to acne. Rosacea can present as redness on the skin, and it is usually a response to someone’s lifestyle choices, environment, or diet. Rosacea has different levels. For some people, it presents as flushing, and for other people, it looks like papulopustular rosacea which almost looks like acne, with extensive redness. Rosacea doesn’t always respond to acne medicine in the same way acne medicine does though. 

Rosacea can be ocular, and some people can develop rhinophyma which creates a large nose that has tons of overactive sebaceous or oil glands. This needs to be diagnosed by a doctor though. Rosacea is very common, and it’s more common in women than men. It usually develops later in life and can flare up when it’s under the sun. Fortunately, there are some wonderful prescriptions and ingredients like azelaic may treat rosacea.


Some people don’t realize it, but you can get a sunburn on cloudy day. You can also get a sunburn while driving in a car. You can even get it from sunlight reflecting off of snow! 

That’s why SPF is always good. SPF also prevents fine lines and wrinkles too. It prevents collagen and elastin degradation in the epidermis and dermis. 

There are two different forms of sun rays that penetrate through the atmosphere and damage our skin. UVA rays go deeper, and degrade collagen and elastin which in turn causes aging. Then, there are UVB rays. These hit the top of the skin, cause damage, and create that burning sensation. It can be hard to treat a sunburn, specifically a bad one. 

Photocred: Bebeautiful

But, one of the best things you can do to prevent sunburn from happening is by using a really good sunscreen. You can also use sunscreens to color correct.

Did you know some sunscreens that have a slightly green tint? Green can neutralize redness. If you have constant redness like rosacea or idiopathic craniofacial erythema, the product below could be a really great option because this prevents that from showing all the time. 

All Calm Clinical Redness Corrector SPF 50 

This is one of Cassandra’s favorites. This not only prevents redness, but it helps to cover up flushing because it's slightly tinted. This was actually made by a group of people specifically for those who have rosacea.

So, if you flush easily, or you just want that skin protection all the time, this formula can absolutely do it. A little bit goes a long way, and you should never skimp on your sunscreen. 

If you have a major sunburn, sunscreens prevent the next one as well as soothe the current one. This is also fragrance-free because it’s made for people with rosacea, and it’s much more gentle on the skin. So, if you have a damaged skin barrier, this should help. 

But if you’ve already got a sunscreen in your routine, one of Cassandra’s favorites is the following. 

Holika Holika Less On Skin Cream -$13.99

This is such a good serum, and Cassandra has loved it for you. This is K-beauty, and it's really good for hydrating the skin. Moreover, it has a beautiful blend of ingredients that calms down irritation. And yes, this is fragrance-free. It’s lightweight on the skin and is hydrating. So, if you do have a damaged skin barrier, and you’re  looking to step away from all exfoliants and calm down redness, this is something you can use day or night to help calm the skin down and rebuild it. 

The Holika Holika skin cream has centella and other skin-calming ingredients. You could use this if you have rosacea as well. If you have blushing or extreme dermatographia, it will work, but it’s probably not going to be as effective as something that covers it. 

One of the best things you can do if you have redness from rosacea or acne, use something that targets redness. Rosacea tends to respond well to azelaic acid. A lot of people with papulopustular rosacea respond very well to azelaic acid too, and fortunately, there are azelaic acids that you can get over the counter like this one. 

Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster - $12

Cassandra loves this for rosacea and for anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding. It works for both acne and rosacea. This is an azelaic acid booster, meaning you can use this on its own or layer it with other products. 

This is a 10% azelaic, but you could get 20% with a prescription. If you’ve really been struggling with your skin,  you’re on the waitlist to see a derm, or you haven’t been able to see a derm, this is something you could pick up and use over the counter. It’s good to get something like rosacea diagnosed. 

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid

This is wonderful for redness caused by rosacea as well. 

But, just remember, facial redness is nothing to be embarrassed about, especially if you have anxiety and you’re blushing extensively. You're beYOUtiful inside and out, and if it's something you'd like to address, there are options available.