Why Do I Turn So Red When I Workout?

Find out why you turn red when you workout and how to manage it with these tips.

Causes of Redness

Working out can be a great way to stay healthy and get into shape, but it can also leave you feeling red-faced. Whether you’re lifting weights, running, or doing yoga, you might notice that your face and body turn a rosy shade when you work out. So what causes this redness? Let’s dive into what could be causing your redness during exercise.

High Intensity Exercise

One of the most common causes of redness during exercise is a result of high intensity physical exertion. When we perform activities that require great effort, like running or weight lifting, our bodies become overwhelmed and are unable to deliver adequate oxygen and nutrients to the different organs and muscles in our body. This results in an increase in body temperature, blood flow and oxygen consumption, which can eventually lead to the visible signs of redness. In some cases, the increased amount of energy being used during exercise may cause muscle fibers to break down, leading to microscopic injuries that can also cause flushing. People who suffer from a condition known as “exercise-induced flushing” or “effort flush” may be more prone to developing this condition as their bodies are unable to control the amount of oxygen and nutrients efficiently. Additionally, extreme environmental conditions like heat, humidity or cold temperatures can also affect how much our bodies sweat, leading to redness even when we are exercising at moderate intensity levels.


Stress is often a key factor in causing redness in the face and body during physical activity. When you experience a feeling of stress or anxiety during exercise, your body releases powerful hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals provide your body with the energy it needs to perform at a higher intensity level. At the same time, they also cause blood vessels to dilate, which gives your skin a redder appearance. This is why you might notice red cheeks or neck when you run or lift weights, even if you don’t actually feel particularly distressed.


Genetics can play a role in how your body responds to exercise in terms of redness and flushing. Some people are just more prone to blushing and redness when they exercise, and there’s not much you can do to prevent it. It’s important to note that this type of flushing is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for alarm.

However, if you find that your redness is accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. In this case, it’s best to seek medical advice from your doctor. Your doctor may order some tests to investigate the cause further and determine the best course of treatment for your specific situation.

In most cases, however, the redness associated with exercising simply comes down to genetics. If you have been genetically predisposed to having a “flushed look” when you workout, there are ways you can offset it. There are certain clothing strategies (such as wearing layers) or incorporating lifestyle modifications (like staying hydrated) that may help reduce the intensity of the flush response or at least make it less visible. Ultimately though, genetics does play a role in this particular color change – so talk with your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about any particular symptoms that accompany exercise-induced flush responses.

Signs of Redness

Exercising can be an important part of staying healthy, but sometimes the physical signs of the activity can be a bit uncomfortable. Many people find that their face and neck turn red when they work out. This redness is caused by a few different factors, and it is important to be aware of the signs and causes of redness when working out. Let’s take a closer look at the signs and causes of redness when working out.

Flushed Skin

Flushed skin is one of the most common signs of redness associated with exercise. This can occur when exercising in high temperatures, and is a result of increased blood flow in your body’s small capillaries. As your body heats up, your heart rate will increase to bring more oxygenated blood to your muscles. This increased blood flow also causes a temporary reddening of the skin. However, if you find that you are consistently encountering flushed skin during exercise and not getting relief from cooling strategies such as drinking plenty of water and taking breaks during activity, then it could be a sign that you need to contact a doctor to check your cardiovascular health.


Sweating is a sign of redness, and the severity of sweating can vary greatly from person to person. Redness that is accompanied by heavy sweating might suggest a medical condition known as exercise-induced vasodilation, which involves an abnormal widening of blood vessels that can be caused by physical exertion. As blood vessels expand to allow more blood flow to areas of the body being used for exercise, skin often turns red because there is more visible blood near the surface. This condition mainly affects people in their teens and twenties, and treatments may be recommended depending on intensity and frequency of symptoms.

Increased Heart Rate

One common physical reaction that many people experience when they exercise is increased redness on their skin, especially in the face, neck and chest. This is due to an increase in your heart rate as it pumps more blood—and more oxygen—through your body. This increased blood flow results in your capillaries dilating wider and sending more blood to the surface. This temporarily makes your skin look redder. Your facial redness may also appear when you’re embarrassed or feeling something intense (this is known as a “blush”).

Being red during exercise isn’t just a symptom of increased heart rate; it’s also beneficial for helping keep you cool and regulating your body temperature. When the rest of your body gets warmer (from physical activity), more blood rushes to the surface of your skin to help keep cool by evaporating heat from the surface.

Typically, the redness will disappear once you cool down following a workout. It may take some time if the body was particularly taxed during the activity session, but eventually, it should return to its natural coloration over time. If your redness persists even after regular workouts and/or begins to reoccur without any recent strenuous physical activity or intense emotions, it may be worthwhile speaking with a doctor or health-care provider about other potential underlying causes that could require further medical investigations or treatments.


A lot of people experience rosacea when they exercise and it can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help reduce the redness caused by rosacea. In this section, we will discuss various treatments available to help reduce rosacea.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can cause hot, dry skin and embarrassment when you turn bright red during exercise. Keep your body hydrated before, during, and after all physical activities. Staying hydrated will not only keep your skin cool but has many other benefits including: improved digestion and elimination, muscle strength, and energy levels. So be sure to keep a reusable water bottle handy and sip on it regularly while you are exercising or engaging in other physical activity.

It is also important to note that some medications may have increased sensitivity to the sun or perspiration so be sure to speak with your doctor if you plan on engaging in any strenuous physical activity or spending a lot of time outdoors. Additionally, those with pre-existing medical conditions such as allergies or heart problems may find exercising more difficult or uncomfortable due to various symptoms triggered by activities like running or swimming. It’s important that you prioritize staying safe during any kind of exercise so ensure you know how to treat any medical issues that may arise while working out.

Wear Breathable Fabrics

When we exercise, the most important factor in avoiding redness and preventing skin irritation is providing enough ventilation to our bodies. Breathable clothing, such as cotton garments or those made of synthetic materials specifically designed for maximum airflow, help keep moisture away from the skin and allow your body heat to escape. Choosing fabrics like mesh or lightweight activewear with sweat-wicking abilities and plenty of mesh panels can also help keep you cool during workouts. If you’re prone to turning red when you exercise, avoid heavy fabrics like fleece or denim since these can trap heat against your body which can cause overheating. Although these fabrics don’t offer maximum breathability, they might work well with an extra layer on top so there’s space between them and your skin where sweat can evaporate more easily. Additionally, opting for lighter colors over darker hues might make it easier to stay cool during intense activity as lighter colors reflect a greater percentage of incoming energy from the sun in comparison to darker colors which absorb it more readily and use it for heating the surrounding air.

Take Breaks When Needed

It is important to remember that redness occurs when you’re working out due to changes in blood flow and pressure. To minimize the redness, it is recommended that you take breaks while exercising. Taking short breaks during longer periods of exercise will give your body a chance to regulate its temperature, providing a bit of relief. During your breaks, you can do some relaxing stretches or use a towel to wipe sweat away from your forehead and nose area. This will help cool you down and keep your body temperature at a more comfortable level. Additionally, drinking plenty of water or fluids with electrolytes will help regulate your body temperature as well as enable better performance while exercising.


It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable to turn bright red when working out, and it can be even worse when it happens multiple times. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent turning red when you exercise. In this section, we’ll discuss strategies to prevent the red flush that comes with working out, as well as related topics.

Increase Your Activity Gradually

Increasing your physical activity level too quickly can put too much stress on your body. Before taking part in any activity that could make you blush, it is important to build up your physical endurance gradually. For instance, instead of running 3 miles your first time out, start out at a much slower pace, such as walking at a brisk pace for 15 minutes, and gradually increase the speed with which you are walking until you are moving at a faster clip. As your cardiovascular fitness increases over time, so will your ability to exercise without turning red-faced.

Monitor Your Stress Levels

Exercise increases heart rate and circulation, which in turn can lead to an abundance of oxygenated blood rushing to the head and resulting in blushing. Monitoring your stress levels before, during, and after exercise can help decrease the redness in your face when working out. Stress can trigger a fight-or-flight response from our bodies, releasing hormones that accelerate breathing and heart rate. It is important to note that when facing these stressors, the body sends more blood flow back to the chest which may result in a flushed face.

Besides stress management techniques such as deep relaxed breathing or mindfulness meditation, it is also helpful to tackle some of the external lifestyle factors such as temperature or light. Taking cold showers or reducing physical activity can help cool off the body and lower facial temperatures when exercising outdoors on hot days or directly under artificial lighting indoors (which releases heat). You can further reduce blushing by wearing loose clothing such as breathable layers that provide coverage while still allowing air circulation throughout your body.

It is also important to stay hydrated during physical activities since dehydration can dilate blood vessels leading to increased facial redness when you sweat and flush due to excessive heat. Avoiding beverages high in caffeine like coffee and energy drinks can also be beneficial since they have been known to contribute further constriction of capillaries around facial areas resulting in increased flushing.

Avoid Trigger Foods

It is important to avoid foods and beverages that can trigger rosacea flare-ups. Alcohol, especially red wine and beer, may worsen the condition; spicy foods such as Mexican dishes and hot peppers; caffeine; hot liquids, including soups and coffee drinks, tend to make redness worse. Though not proven, research has shown that avoiding these trigger foods may help to control the symptoms of rosacea.

In addition to avoiding or minimizing consumption of trigger foods and beverages, there are certain lifestyle changes that may help prevent a rosacea flare-up. Keeping the skin clean by washing with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water can be helpful in controlling flush episodes, as well as limiting exercise intensity or taking more rest breaks during physical activity. Additionally, stress management techniques such as yoga or meditation can be beneficial in controlling emotional triggers of red flushes.

When to See a Doctor

If you find yourself frequently turning red after a workout or exercise session, it is important to seek medical attention. This could be a result of an underlying health condition, which can only be diagnosed by a doctor. If you are experiencing other symptoms such as dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath, it is especially important to seek medical attention, as these could be signs of a more serious issue. Let’s explore when you should see a doctor for this type of condition.

If Redness is Unusually Severe

If you’re experiencing redness that is unusually severe, persistent and painful while exercising, be sure to speak to your doctor. This could be a sign of exertional heat illness, which includes a range of conditions caused by the body’s inability to cope with the combined effects of heat and physical activity. Early symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache and weakness during or after exercise in hot weather. In extreme cases, this can even lead to death if left untreated. If you experience any of these signs after exercising in hot weather or if your redness is accompanied by fatigue or difficulty breathing—it’s important that you seek emergency medical care immediately. Other signs to watch for include confusion or lack of coordination, heart palpitations that don’t respond quickly to taking a break from activity and increased body temperature— anything higher than normal should be monitored closely by your medical professional.

If Redness is Persistent

If you find that the redness does not resolve quickly after your workout and continues to last more than an hour, it is advised that you seek medical attention. The cause for persistent redness and flushing could be due to a number of underlying medical conditions and should be properly evaluated by a doctor. Possible causes of persistent redness include medications, environmental factors such as heat exposure or extreme cold, endocrine and blood vessel problems, allergies or genetic conditions. A doctor will examine your skin and may ask questions related to your training regimen and any associated symptoms you may have prior to or during your workout such as shortness of breath, fatigue or headaches. Your physician may also order medical tests to help narrow down the cause of your redness. Appropriate treatments range from topical creams to laser therapy but will depend on what the underlying cause of your flushing is determined to be.

If You Experience Other Symptoms

If you experience other symptoms or if the redness does not go away, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Talk to your doctor about any physical changes you have experienced or difficulties exercising. They may recommend that you take some tests or provide necessary medication. It is important for anyone experiencing physical changes such as flushing and redness to speak with a healthcare professional in order to identify potential underlying causes.

Your doctor may ask questions such as how long the episodes of flushing usually last and whether they are linked with certain activities or temperature changes. Other common symptoms, like shortness of breath, elevated heart rate, excessive sweating, chest pain and headaches should also be mentioned to your healthcare provider.

Also mention any medications relevant to your situation and be sure to include information on all dietary supplements being used in order to assess if they could be contributing factors. Your doctor will also likely ask about alcohol consumption, stress levels and family medical history since these can affect blood pressure, circulation and potentially trigger redness/flushing symptoms. Tests may include a blood cholesterol measurement as well as thyroid screening in order to detect imbalances in your body’s hormones that could cause flushing reactions when working out.

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