Does Your Skin Get Red After You Workout? Here’s How to Deal With It

November 06, 2023
Jordan Julian
By: Jordan Julian | by L'Oréal
Image of a woman with short blonde hair touching the sides of her face while looking in the mirror

While experiencing temporary facial redness after exercise is completely normal, it can still be annoying if it lingers or if you have to quickly jump into your makeup routine in order to get to your next destination on time. After all, it’s not always possible to make time in your busy schedule to space out your workout and your plans. When getting ready right after a workout, you might find yourself wondering how much foundation you really need to apply to even out your skin tone if your flushed face hasn’t calmed down yet. 

So, we reached out to Dr. Marisa Garshick, a New-York-based board-certified dermatologist, and Dr. Jessie Cheung, a board-certified dermatologist and director of Cheung Aesthetics & Wellness, for tips to help cool your skin and neutralize a flushed-looking face after working out. Keep scrolling for their advice, as well as our favorite skincare products for addressing facial redness. 

Why Does My Face Get Red After Working Out?

“When we exercise and get warm, our blood vessels dilate, which can lead to redness and flushing,” says Dr. Garshick. In fact, facial redness is one of the ways your body cools itself down. “Exercise increases your body temperature as muscles convert energy to heat,” echoes Dr. Cheung. “Your body will maintain a safe core temperature and cool off by shifting blood flow closer to the skin to release heat, and sweating. The superficial blood vessels in your face will widen, so you will flush and turn red.”

Anyone's face can get red after working out, but Dr. Garshick and Dr. Cheung note that it is especially common if you have rosacea. Additionally, “fair-skinned types may notice more redness because they have less pigment to mask their blood vessels,” says Dr. Cheung. 

5 Ways to Minimize Facial Redness After a Workout

Tip 1: Use a Face Mist

Spraying on a face mist after a sweat sesh not only soothes and hydrates your skin, it also helps “maintain a post-workout glow even as the redness fades,” says Dr. Garshick. You’ll love the refreshing feel. The SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Essence Mist is a hydrating spray that works for all skin types and can help to reduce visible redness. 

Tip 2: Apply a Cold Compress

Applying a cool cloth to the skin can help reduce redness and is another refreshing way to cool down after your workout. “Cooling mists, a cool washcloth and even ice packs will help to lower your surface temperature and shrink your blood vessels,” Dr. Cheung explains.

Tip 3: Apply a Redness Corrective Product

Calming, hydrating products are your best friend for reducing workout-induced redness. Dr. Garshick recommends the SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel, a soothing gel serum that contains hyaluronic acid, cucumber and other botanicals. It’s suitable for sensitive skin and can help improve the look of redness. When it comes to choosing a redness-reducing skincare product, there are certain ingredients that you can look out for. “Any calming ingredient will help to reduce redness,” says Dr. Cheung. “Look for antioxidants such as vitamin C, glutathione, curcumin, astaxanthin and niacinamide.” 

Tip 4: Consider Your Workout Environment

You can also take steps before and during your workout to try to prevent redness from occurring after the fact. “Try exercising in a cool, non-humid environment out of the sun,” Dr. Cheung recommends. Wearing loose clothing is another possible preventative measure. Basically, just consider how you can make yourself more comfortable and less likely to overheat.  

Tip 5: Talk to a Dermatologist About Long-Term Solutions

If facial redness is something you frequently struggle with and would like to address, you can schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist to discuss potential options for lasting solutions.  For instance, “prescription rosacea creams contain vasoconstrictors that will help minimize redness,” says Dr. Cheung. Further, some laser therapy treatments for broken blood vessels can provide more long-term redness relief, she says.  

Our Favorite Editor-Approved Skincare Products for Addressing Redness

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Essence Mist

As mentioned above, a soothing face mist can help cool you down and give your face a burst of refreshment after a workout. We love the SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Essence Mist, which is formulated with hydrating botanicals, hyaluronic acid and glycerin. In addition to visibly minimizing redness, it helps strengthen the skin barrier and draw and retain moisture in the skin. The best part? You can spritz this mist whenever you need a boost of hydration throughout the day, even if you’re wearing makeup. 

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Essence Mist

Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist

Another face mist we recommend is the Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist. Enriched with adaptogens, hyaluronic acid and peptides, this serum-mist hybrid is perfect when you need a midday or post-workout refresh. 

Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel

Similar to the Phyto Corrective Essence Mist, the SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel is a calming serum formulated with botanical extracts, eucalyptus leaf and hyaluronic acid. Use it to address skincare issues such as redness, discoloration, blotchiness, dryness and breakouts. It also doubles as a moisturizer for sensitive and breakout-prone skin. 

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Rosaliac AR Face Cream for Visible Redness

Formulated with color-correcting green pigments, the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Rosaliac AR Face Cream for Visible Redness is a redness-reducing cream. Not only does it instantly calm redness, but it also provides lasting comfort and hydration.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Rosaliac AR Face Cream for Visible Redness

L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Redness Eraser

If you have to do your makeup immediately following a workout (after cleansing your skin, of course), opt for color correcting products to neutralize any redness. Start with the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Redness Eraser. This green-tinted primer extends makeup wear for up to 24 hours while neutralizing redness and working to even out your skin tone over time. Though technically a makeup product, it contains niacinamide, one of the skincare ingredients recommended by Dr. Cheung.

L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Redness Eraser

Tower 28 Beauty SOS Daily Skin Barrier Redness Recovery Moisturizer 

For a daily face cream that soothes redness in addition to moisturizing, we like the Tower 28 Beauty SOS Daily Skin Barrier Redness Recovery Moisturizer. With a cushiony soft consistency, this moisturizer quickly absorbs into the skin without feeling greasy or heavy. It’s formulated with gentle ingredients including hyaluronic acid, ceramides and allantoin.       

Tower 28 Beauty SOS Daily Skin Barrier Redness Recovery Moisturizer
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

Read more

Back to top