Does Your Face Ever Turn Red After Exercising? Experts Explain Why

August 01, 2019

I’m not one to actively work out hard — yes, it’s great to take walks and do some intervals on the elliptical, but I avoid the “drenching sweat” stage if I can. Shocking, the top reason why isn’t due to the drenching sweat.

Instead, it’s due to the red face I get. Mine isn’t as bad as others I’ve seen, but it’s enough to make me self-conscious.

And I know I am not the only one who probably feels this way. I assume that my red face, mixed with gasping for air and the aforementioned amount of sweat, will make people at the gym might judge me and my athletic ability (or perceived lack thereof). Extreme exercise isn’t meant to be attractive — it’s meant to be healthy. But something about that beet-red face makes me feel like something may be wrong.

That’s why I’m happy to report that there’s a way to battle it. PopSugar talked to some doctors about why it happens, and whether or not the response is normal.

To cut to the chase, yes — the redness is normal. And more people have it than you may think.

When you’re at the gym and exercising hard, your lungs work to bring more oxygen to your bloodstream. Blood flow also increases during this time.

When your face reddens, it means more blood is traveling. And, since you’re getting hot during the workout, there’s a lot of things happening internally that’s helping to regulate your body temperature.

“Having a red face does not mean you’re unfit. It simply means that you have more of a blood supply to your face,” Dermatologist Rick Woodin, MD said to PopSugar.

The only time you should be worried is if you have other symptoms.

So, if you’re red-faced and your heart won’t stop beating? Or, red-faced and constantly feel like you’re going to throw up? That’s another story.

Dr. Woodin also added that if you have pale skin, you’re more prone to the redness.

Based on how easily sunburned I can get if I’m not cautious, I should have figured out that the redness and the heat were related.

All in all, it’s good to get the word that this is normal. A red face should be like a badge of honor that proves you did a solid workout.

Usually, the redness will go away on its own.

But, there are also ways to try and prevent it if you’re feeling a little self-conscious, like I can often be.

But first, remember that not only is nobody else paying as close attention to ourselves as we are, but our bodies are doing something fabulous as we work up a sweat and red face. Seriously — take a second right now to appreciate your body.

Now that you’ve accepted the red face, you’re ready to learn how to lessen its impact. That is, if you choose to.

For one, think about bringing a water spritzer with you to the gym.

You may feel a little weird at first, but the water will help cool your body down faster — and, make it feel really good, since hot skin and cold water is a great combination.

SELF also recommends investing in a few green-tinted supplies, like moisturizer.

The green won’t make you look like a witch. Instead, it’ll help cancel out some of the redness if it takes longer than usual to go down.

Shape suggests finding cooler places to work out. So if your gym has a couple of oscillating fans on the floor, maybe it’s better to choose the treadmill that’s closer to them.

It’s also important to make sure you’re always hydrated. But that’s a good tip, redness or not. Even if you don’t go to the gym regularly, you should still make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day, especially if you’re aiming for good skin.

Another strange, yet helpful solution? A milk-soaked compress.

According to Shape, the proteins in the milk may help draw out some heat and soothe your skin. Who would have thought?

Now that you know the ins and outs of having a red face while working out, it’s time to celebrate.

Buy yourself that gym membership you’ve been meaning to buy, and remind yourself that your body is the best machine you own — no matter what color your face turns when you are taking care of it.