Dr Newmans Clinic Latest News

Home | News |

What Causes Sudden Facial Redness?

What Causes Sudden Facial Redness?

December 5, 2023

What Causes Sudden Facial Redness?

Facial redness can be as harmless as a visual sign of embarrassment, anxiety, or being too hot, but common, persistent facial redness could be a symptom of an underlying medical condition that should always be investigated. 

The appearance of facial redness happens when the numerous small blood vessels under the skin widen or dilate, leading to a rapid increase in blood flow, causing the skin to have a red, pink, or darker colour compared to the rest of the area. Sudden facial redness can be an extremely frustrating experience, but understanding its underlying causes can help you address it effectively. 

We get asked almost every day what causes sudden facial redness, and these are our most frequently asked questions:

Can stress cause facial redness?

Stress is a well-known trigger for a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, and that includes facial redness. When you're stressed, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can cause blood vessels to dilate and result in flushing or redness of the face. 

Stress can actually make existing skin conditions such as rosacea worse, making facial redness more pronounced during times when stress levels are high. Chronic stress has also been known to weaken the skin's barrier function, which can make it more susceptible to irritation and inflammation. As well as this, some stress-related behaviours like rubbing or scratching the face can further aggravate redness and discomfort, which can make the symptoms worse overall. 

Managing stress is much easier said than done, but understanding that it could well be a trigger for you is the first step in helping to reduce it. Incorporating stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness practices into your daily routine can help regulate stress hormones and mitigate the risk of facial flushing.

Does alcohol cause facial redness?

For many people, enjoying a glass of wine or a cocktail can be a relaxing way to unwind after a long day. However, alcohol consumption can also contribute to facial redness, especially in those prone to facial flushing or rosacea. This is also known as ‘alcohol flush reaction’ and is when someone experiences sudden and intense facial redness after consuming alcohol.

Alcohol-induced facial redness happens because of a genetic deficiency in the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which is responsible for metabolising alcohol in the body. When alcohol is consumed, acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct, builds up in the bloodstream, leading to increased blood flow to the skin. As a result, the face may become noticeably red, warm, and flushed when consuming alcohol

Alcohol is also known to act as a vasodilator, which means it does a great job at relaxing blood vessels which can lead to facial redness. The higher the alcohol content in a drink, the more pronounced the flushing response may be.

Although the only way to completely reduce facial redness from alcohol is to cut out alcohol completely, you could try moderating your intake or choosing low-alcohol alternatives to reduce redness in the face as much as possible. Alternating alcoholic drinks with water can also help stay hydrated and reduce the risk of flushing, and that coupled with avoiding triggers such as spicy foods or hot environments while drinking alcohol can help mitigate facial redness even more.

Can sugar cause facial redness?

Sugar itself may not directly cause facial redness, but consuming high-sugar foods and drinks has been known to cause inflammation and trigger skin reactions in some people. Diets high in refined sugars and carbohydrates have been linked to various skin conditions, including acne and rosacea, which both display symptoms like facial redness.

When you consume sugary foods or drinks, your blood sugar levels spike, triggering the release of insulin to help regulate glucose in the bloodstream. Elevated insulin levels can stimulate the production of inflammatory cytokines and increase sebum production, leading to acne breakouts and skin redness.

High-sugar diets have been shown to promote glycation, a process in which sugar molecules bind to proteins in the skin, causing collagen and elastin fibres to become stiff and less flexible. This can damage skin elasticity and contribute to premature ageing, including the appearance of facial redness and uneven skin tone.

So although there isn’t a direct cause and effect relationship between sugar intake and facial redness, we always advise that to support skin health, aim to reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks, and instead go for whole, nutrient-dense foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. 

Sudden facial redness can be quite confusing at first, but by understanding its underlying causes, you can take proactive steps to manage and minimise the symptoms if they are triggered by stress or alcohol. While stress, alcohol, and sugar have all been known to contribute to sudden facial redness, there is never a one size-fits-all approach to treating it for good. 

If you’re unsure if you have a medical condition or a severe case of facial redness, get in touch with your GP for specialist advice. Alternatively, if you believe your sudden facial redness to be a result of spider veins on the face, get in touch with one of our vascular specialists to discuss a bespoke treatment plan. 

Back to News

Arranging an appointment is easy

Simply contact us for an appointment at your nearest Dr Newmans Clinic. Feel free to call us on 0203 002 2274 or email us at clinic@drnc.co.uk


We've detected an Ad Blocker in your browser.

Please disable or pause the Ad Blocker and refresh the page to be able to view our form correctly.