Why Does My Face Turn Bright Red When I Exercise?

Why Does My Face Turn Bright Red When I Exercise?

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If your face turns red during exercise, your body is most likely responding normally to your activity. Everyone's body responds slightly differently to exercise. Becoming familiar with your own body's normal way of responding to exercise can help you determine when your red face is a symptom of a more serious condition.

Physical Responses to Exercise

When you exercise, your body temperature rises. To keep your body temperature within a safe range, your body increases blood flow to the skin. The cooler air on the surface of the skin can lower the temperature of the blood, so that your body does not overheat. The increased blood flow to the skin causes it to turn rosy red. This is a completely normal response to exercise. After exercising, the color of your skin should return to normal when your body temperature lowers, either because you have stopped the activity or because you have moved to a cooler environment. In some individuals, this can occur in about five minutes. Other individuals might take a bit longer.

Other Possible Causes

If you are exercising in hot weather, the outside air won't effectively cool your blood. You can expect your face to become redder in warm temperatures than in cooler temperatures. If you have pale skin, your face might appear to turn a brighter shade of red than someone who has darker skin. Also, you might not be breathing properly while you exercise. This is likely the cause if your face turns red while you are weightlifting.

Safety Concerns

A red face can be a sign of a serious problem. If you have recently increased the intensity, duration, or frequency of your workouts, your red face might be a sign of overexertion. You should reduce your activity level until your body can cope with the demands. Facial redness, when accompanied by extreme thirst, a dry mouth or difficulty urinating, can be a symptom of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to a severe medical problem: heatstroke. Heatstroke symptoms include red face, nausea, vomiting, rapid and shallow breathing, and racing heart rate.

When to See a Doctor

Heatstroke is a potentially fatal condition that needs immediate medical attention. Call 911 and get to a cooler area immediately. If you experience any abnormal heart rhythms, confusion or loss of coordination along with your red face, you need to see a doctor. Consult your health care practitioner if you have concerns about your red face.


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