How To Stop Your Face From Getting So Red When You Workout

A good workout is hard to beat. Your heart pounds and your muscles ache. And at the end of it, you know that you did something good for your body and your health. But all the effort comes with a price, and it isn't just sore muscles. Depending on your complexion, you might come out the other side of a good workout with a flush that runs from faint pink to stop-sign red. Of course, the point of a workout is not really to look good while you're doing it. But that red face can be discouraging to see at the end of your gym session. And it can come with a tight, overheated sensation that can be unpleasant at best.

If it's any consolation, that flush on your face and the hot feeling that come along with it serve a purpose. Speaking to Self, dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur explains that our faces get hot and often turn red during a workout because our body is trying to cool itself off. When we get hot, our bodies redirect blood flow to the skin, causing the telltale flush. And as Real Simple explains, some people have more capillaries in their skin than others. The more capillaries you have, the redder you can get. Once that heat rises to the skin, we start to sweat. The sweat then evaporates, taking the heat with it and cooling us off. 

How to minimize that red flush

A mid-workout cool off is nice and all. But most people aren't too crazy about the side effects. Specifically the tight, hot skin and change in facial color. As Real Simple puts it, the side effects are unfortunately impossible to avoid. But there is a way to reduce them so you can get through your workout a little easier. They suggest, if possible, working out in a cool location and wearing exercise clothes in lighter colors.

Real Simple also suggests avoiding spicy food, caffeine, and alcohol before a workout as all three can cause inflammation and make the flushing effect more pronounced. Dr. Marmur, on the other hand, does suggest a cleansing wipe with aloe and caffeine after your workout. When applied topically, the caffeine acts as a blood vessel constrictor which reduces redness (via Self). She also suggests spraying a cold water mist on your face and body during a workout. The mist will evaporate and, acting as artificial sweat, remove heat from the surface of your skin.

For some people there is no way around the dark flush that follows a good workout. But there are ways to minimize it during and after so you can avoid the uncomfortable feelings that come with it.