“Why Is My Face So Red?”: Two Common Skin Problems

UVA dermatologist Barbara Wilson, MD, contributed this post.

Is your face red all the time? Especially on your nose and cheeks?

image of dermatologist Barbara Wilson
Dermatologist Barbara Wilson, MD

As a dermatologist, I see patients every day upset because the most obvious part of their body, their face, is red, sometimes scaly, sometimes with pustules that look like acne. Fortunately, we can treat these conditions.

Causes of Red Face: Rosacea, Rosacea-Like Demodicosis

Many conditions can cause your face to be red, but let’s look at two of the biggest: Rosacea and its great mimicker, rosacea-like demodicosis.

Most rosacea sufferers have very sensitive facial skin and flushing triggered by stimuli such as alcohol (especially red wine), heat, embarrassment, spicy foods and hot drinks. They may have redness and obvious blood vessels on their nose and cheeks and papules and pustules that resemble acne.

Less commonly, rosacea sufferers, particularly men, may develop an overgrowth of the skin on the nose called rhinophyma. Finally, some suffer from eye involvement called ocular rosacea blepharitis, which manifests as redness and a gritty feeling in the eyes.

Rosacea-like Demodicosis

Another less-known condition, rosacea-like demodicosis, is actually caused by a mite: Demodex folliculorum. This tiny mite lives in follicles and usually doesn’t cause rashes, but if you have it in large numbers, its symptoms are sometimes indistinguishable from rosacea. Besides the eye involvement and papules or pustules, you may have burning, stinging, scaly facial skin with a sandpapery texture.

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We don’t know why some patients develop rashes from this mite, but immunosuppression or using strong steroid creams on your face may increase the risk.

We can tell the difference between the two conditions because patients with rosacea-like demodicosis usually don’t respond to rosacea treatments.

Treating Rosacea and Rosacea-like Demodicosis

These conditions can be stubborn, but they usually respond well to appropriate treatment. Rosacea treatments include:
•    Topical medications like an antibiotic cream or gel called metronidazole
•    Azaleic acid gel
•    Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline

Rosacea-like demodicosis responds to sulfur-containing creams and oral Ivermectin, which have antiparasitic properties that target the demodex mites.

In both of the conditions, the redness can be treated with lasers.

So if you suffer from a red face, don’t despair. Once we determine the cause, there are many easy treatment options available.

Comments (27)

  1. l. gibson says:

    Love the doctors in the dermatology department at UVA. They are so patient, kind, and knowledgable. 🙂

  2. Red faced Andy says:

    People at college call me red faced Andy, because I am so red faced. Please could you tell me why I am so red faced, it would benefit my life in many ways if you could reveal a solution to this daunting problem. It gets me down sometimes, whenever I look in the mirror all I see is redness. My skin often feels like a charred pork loin. Please reply, love from Andy xx

  3. i have the problem says:

    help me

  4. sandip says:

    I have a red on my chick which I don’t use to have before .After I changed my home town this problem get arrived. Now I am in place where environment seems to be a bit cold than previous .this is the cause of difference in place or not please I need and…

  5. Jasmine says:

    I have had two small red areas on both sides of my nose in the corners that looks a little spread out. I have had it since elementary school and it has stayed (now in college) lotion and stuff does not help. It is always there no matter what. And I have been trying to get rid of it. Is it possibly rosacea?

  6. Dianne Hemingway says:

    My lips are white and my face is red

  7. Prashant says:

    Sir i faced a red skin problem very long time. My face always looking red i have no any reason why its look like a red. I taken many treatment but nobody solve this problem. Everybody laugh on me for a red skin please help me.

  8. Wendy layton says:

    My face is red all over when it is hot but l don’t feel really hot forehead and cheeks nose but not mouth or chin

  9. Gwyn thomas says:

    I have suffered with the skin on my forehead and part of my face for some time and loads of creams with no success it’s not sore but can be dry and feel hot
    Please could you advise any treatment
    Thank you

  10. Zehetner says:

    For red face I’ve only been using dermalmd rosacea serum about a month or so and I can tell a difference already. The sides of my face and nose are extremely red and it has lessened. It is a very thick cream but is not greasy at all, a little goes a long way.

  11. Michelle says:

    I had redness and peeling in my face for years after using dermalmd rosacea Serum skin has become normal and the skin tone even also the pores are close and no more peeling or redness. I strongly recommend dermalmd rosacea Serum

  12. Nita says:

    i hv red chic after putting the toner and moisture cream. Please advise.

  13. xi says:

    I tried the Made from Earth Rosehip Serum for my rosacea on my cheeks and it works because my cheeks really flare up in the winter with central heating, cold, etc. It has definitely helped the flare ups and moisturises really well. I use on my cheeks morning and night under foundation. No rosacea product works for everyone but the Made from Earth Rosehip Serum worked for me and is reasonable in price

  14. Melanie says:

    I have suffered from redness since I went into puberty. My cheeks, forehead,chin and nose. I am 44 and still have skin issues. My face is dry and red. The sun irritates and makes it worse as most soaps and cleansers, creams. I went to a dermatologist when I was about 20 and he told me to use baby shampoo on my face..that didn’t help. Willing to try anything that will give me a normal even skin tones face.

  15. Murha says:

    My face is all time red suggest me any medicine which reduce this redness

  16. Del says:

    I have a very red forehead and cheeks is tea tree oil good for my condition?

  17. Abigail says:

    I have been to 2 different dematologist and have tried numerous prescription creams that just irritated the redness on my left cheek. I have using dermalmd rosacea serum for a week now and it is AMAZING so far. If you have burning or heat related redness give this serum a try.

  18. sonu singh says:

    Sir my name is sonu singh for “INDIA” My problem is my face always looking like red…also people at college me red faced sonu…Because my faced is so red please could you tell me why i am so red faced it would my life in many if you could reveal solution to this douting my problem is get down sometimes whenever i look in the mirror all i see the redness….MY FACED ALWAYS LOOKING LIKE REDNESS…SIR WHICH MEDICINE I USED TO REDUSE MY RED FACED….PLEASE SIR TELL ME..

  19. Thoisif says:

    I am suffering from right side red pipmples on face and dull skin

  20. Lavaniya says:

    Hallo sir, am lavaniya Schmidt
    my face is red but not always only in the work and outside.
    In the house is so normal.
    Please advise me which cream I can use.
    Have a nice day sir.

  21. Sasa says:

    I have redness all the time, but when its warmer im getting more red, and my emotions cause redness to increase
    ( like emberrasment, laughter), it decrease my self-esteem, and my looks is not so good because of it..
    When someone touch me unexpedectly it causes more redness, or some fast movement by my body (when im noding hed, turning back, when my head is pointed down then my face is burning, unpleasant feeling because i feel like my face is petrified , skin is more red..
    Also closed area without fresh air cause more redness , and light is increasing redness, also spiced food, wine, hot coffe, hot meal…
    I got this in age of 14 and it last 5 years, i tried everything but nothing didnt help..

  22. tomato says:

    I don’t drink and even when its cold I get super red. I get red at laughing to hard. when I flip upside down for even a few seconds, my face becomes flushed. and when I do one push up or run even a little I become so red, a FRIEND told me I was the color of a newborn baby. I also get red when I get embarrassed, but not for big things, like when I run, then get red, then get made fun of, then get even redder. I have tried to cry less and avoid awkward situations, but nothing helps. also, even when I hadn’t gone into the sun all summer I still became red at a moments notice, and even more so if I have. please tell me whats wrong with me.

  23. mohit says:

    My face looking redness that why’s I m every time upset nd I was drinking alcohol that time more redness so please u have any suggestion.. .. ..

  24. Red says:

    I hate rosacea. I swear all i have to do is think about my face getting red and boom. My face is so red its almost a purple color. God why me? I cant even have a conversation or leave the house because of the fear of my face turning red.

  25. Daren chandler says:

    Please help me I’m 49 and suffered with my red face for years,I also suffer with anxiety so when I’m in a difficult
    Situation ie around to many people or put on the spot I blush and if people look I blush even more like a tomato.
    Its controlling my life to the extent I miss functions and don’t go out ,I can’t take it anymore,I’m due to fly to India
    in 5 weeks and the thought of being where loads of people will be at the airport is making me want to cancel…
    Please help me I feel like my life is ruined.

  26. Daren chandler says:

    Please get back to me a sap Thankyou.

    • uvahealth says:

      Hi — We’re so sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, we can’t give medical advice online. If you haven’t already, you should talk to your doctor about this. If you don’t have a doctor and live in Central Virginia, we would be happy to see you — contact us at 434.243.3675 to make an appointment.

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