Why do we have a red face when doing sports?

There’s nothing like the feeling of being hot and sweaty after finishing a workout. However, having a red face is not something that many brag about. For some people it can create shame when going to the gym, but the truth is that it happens to everyone to a greater or lesser extent.

To make sure we never have to say no to spin class or a run on our favorite trails, it’s interesting to know why that scarlet hue appears on your skin after training.

capillary enlargement

Having a red face after exercising is a totally normal response to physical activity. As we get hotter, everyone knows we sweat to cool down, but our bodies also experience vascular changes due to increased blood flow. Some of these are flushing or redness of the face. The flushing that occurs after exercise is due to vasodilation of the superficial blood vessels in the facial skin.

This reddening of the skin occurs in some people after exercising because they have more capillaries . Blood is pumped faster to maximize oxygen intake, so capillaries widen to allow more oxygen to pass through to working muscles while pushing heat to the surface to prevent overheating.

We all blush when we exercise, but it’s more noticeable in fair- skinned people, as skin pigment in darker skin tones can sometimes mask lighter redness. Some people also genetically have a more robust network of tiny blood vessels that feed their capillaries, which makes the redness more pronounced.

personas haciendo deporte con la cara roja

It can be avoided?

Although having a red face during exercise cannot be completely avoided, it is possible to take steps to try to reduce the redness. To begin with, we will try to exercise in a cool environment and wear loose -fitting, light-colored clothing.

If we are someone who already experiences an increase in flushing, the last thing we should do is drink alcohol before exercising. Alcohol consumption dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow and redness of the face. It is also recommended to limit spicy foods, caffeine, chocolate and sun exposure because they all cause inflammation and make the capillaries look more pronounced.

We can also apply a cold, wet washcloth to our face after exercising to relieve tightness around the skin. Afterwards, it is recommended to use moisturizing gel to help refresh the complexion and calm inflammation. If the facial redness really won’t go away, we can also use some hydrocortisone cream to treat the inflammation; just be careful how much you apply as it is a topical steroid.