What is Skin Redness?
There are many possible causes of skin redness (rashes) like an allergic reaction or sunburn. It may occur due to extra blood rushing to the surface of the skin to enhance healing or fight off irritants. In some cases, it can be due to exertion like after a vigorous workout session. In most cases, skin redness is not a cause for concern but the problem can be irritating and uncomfortable. The first step is to figure out what is causing the problem so that you can treat your skin and prevent its reoccurrence.
Types of Skin Redness
Here are some of the most common non-infectious rashes:
- Seborrheic Dermatitis – this is the most common types of skin redness that affects adults. It causes a red scaling eruption and usually affects the scalp, forehead, cheeks, brows and external ears.
- Atopic Dermatitis – this is also known as eczema which is a common disorder in children. It causes red weeping rashes that are itchy commonly in the inner aspects of the elbows and behind the knees but can also develop in other parts of the body. It usually happens to people who have hay fever or asthma.
- Contact Dermatitis – this is a rash caused by contact with a particular chemical or any substance a person is allergic to. In some cases, the substance causes skin irritation resulting to redness.
- Diaper Rash – it happens to infants or adults who wear diapers when urine and/or feces are in contact with the skin for a prolonged time period.
- Stasis Dermatitis – this is a form of dermatitis that is weepy and oozy commonly affecting the lower legs of people who have long-term swelling due to poor circulation.
- Psoriasis – This is a bumpy and scaly eruption that doesn’t weep or ooze. It commonly develops on the scalp, knees and elbows eventually turning into grayish or silvery flakes of skin that fall off.
- Drug Eruptions – there are some drugs that can cause skin redness as a side effect. It usually appears similar to rashes from common viral infections, but there is a wide variety of rashes that can be caused by drugs.
- Nummular Eczema – this is an oozy and weepy dermatitis that develops as small, circular shaped plaques. It is caused by very dry skin and is a common problem during winter.
Causes of Skin Redness
The causes of skin redness include too much sun exposure, irritants, and insect bites. Here are other common conditions that cause skin redness:
- Insect bites
- Heat rash
- Scarlet fever
- Skin burns
- Skin infections
Skin redness can be temporary (acute) or chronic wherein it usually goes away and reappears.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Skin Redness?
The symptoms of skin redness depend on the particular cause. There are varying colors of skin redness and it can occur in varying degrees and develop on different portions of the body. Here are the common symptoms that accompany skin redness:
- Burning sensation
- Itchy sensation
- Skin warmth
- Swelling of the skin
How is Skin Redness Diagnosed?
The physician will examine the skin redness and ask about the symptoms of the patient. The questions that will be asked may include:
- What were the activities of the patient before skin redness occurred?
- Is the patient taking any new medication or using a new skincare product?
- Does the patient have a family history of any type of skin condition?
- Did the skin redness occur in the past?
- Is it possible that the patient was exposed to other people with the same rash?
These along with other questions can guide the doctor in figuring out the cause of skin redness. In some cases, additional testing may be needed like taking a skin sample or biopsy. Allergy testing may also be conducted to determine if the patient reacts to specific irritants. If the skin condition is contagious, the physician will tell the patient how its spread can be prevented. This will ensure that the condition will not be passed to others.
If you have any of the following symptoms along with skin redness, you need to seek medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe, unbearable pain
- A burn two times the size of your palm
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness
- When the skin redness is near the eyes and it affects vision
- Any skin redness associated to an animal bite
What is the Treatment for Skin Redness?
Treating skin redness depends on the particular cause. For instance, this may include avoiding the allergen(s) or irritant(s) causing the problem in the first place. The other possible treatments may include:
- Cleaning the affected area using a cleanser/soap and water
- Applying topical formulations like calamine lotion to quickly reduce skin redness
- The intake of medication like antihistamines to reduce irritation
- Keeping the affected area clean and dry
- For infections, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to reduce symptoms
Can Diet Trigger Skin Redness?
Skin redness can be triggered by certain foods like if a person has food allergies. A food allergy occurs when specific foods cause the immune system to react defensively to a particular food protein. There are also skin conditions like rosacea which can be triggered by certain foods. If you notice that certain foods are causing skin redness, talk to your doctor about it.
Prevention Tips for Skin Redness
- Do not use hot water when bathing or washing your face. Instead, use cool or lukewarm water.
- Use a non-creamy cleanser if you notice that your bar of soap is causing skin redness.
- Use sunscreen especially when you are exposed to the sun for prolonged periods since too much sunlight can cause skin redness.
- You should be aware of your food allergens. Talk to your doctor if you notice that certain foods are causing skin redness or other symptoms.
- Avoid irritants like fragrances, chemicals and other harsh substances. Use protection when handling these substances.
- Moisturize. Skin redness can be caused by dry skin so you need to keep your skin hydrated by using a moisturizer.
- Avoid consuming foods that stimulate blood flow like alcohol, spicy foods and caffeine.
- Manage stress by exercising regularly, meditating and performing stress-management techniques since high-stress levels can cause skin redness.
Skin Redness Dos and Don’ts
1. Eat Foods That Help Reduce Redness
There are certain foods that are rich in antioxidants and those that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Include sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and berries in your diet. These can also help hydrate the body both internally and externally protecting the cells of the skin and helping prevent irritation.
2. Avoid Foods That Can Cause Inflammation
There are also certain foods that can cause inflammation like spicy foods. Alcoholic beverages can also trigger skin redness especially in certain people who are sensitive to alcohol. Studies have found that highly processed foods like junk food and fast food can trigger inflammation. Make sure you are aware of your food allergies so you know what to avoid for preventing skin redness and other allergic reactions.
3. Check the Ingredients of Products before Use
You need to be very careful of the products you are using especially those that are used on the skin. There are soothing ingredients but others can have adverse effects especially when they are incompatible with your skin. Licorice extract can help control redness since it contains glycyrrhizinate which is a powerful moisturizer and anti-inflammatory agent. Avoid products with harsh chemicals and other components that can trigger or worsen skin redness. If you have very sensitive skin, it would be best to consult your skincare professional before using any product.
4. Dress Appropriately
If you are out in harsh elements, make sure that your skin is protected especially when you have dry skin. Wear a hat, jacket and other clothing to protect the skin in your face and the rest of the body. During very cold weather, make sure to moisturize your skin before going out. During warm weather, avoid clothing that is too thick which can cause excessive sweating and lead to skin irritation and redness.
5. Do Not Pick Your Pimples
Although picking your pimples is very difficult to resist, it is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. It can worsen redness by causing an infection and prolonging the healing process so instead of the skin returning to normal in a few days, it can take up to three weeks to completely heal. Moreover, picking increases risk of scarring.
6. Stay Hydrated
It is important to keep your skin hydrated but equally important to prevent the dehydration of your body. You can do this by drinking plenty of water especially when you sweat a lot like during vigorous exercise or very warm weather. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables which can help keep you hydrated. Avoid wearing clothes that are too thick in order to control sweating and avoid dehydration.
Frequently Asked Question’s (FAQ’s)
What Is The Medical Term For Skin Redness?
It is erythema which comes from the Greek word erythos which means red. Erythema is redness of the skin or mucous membranes which can be caused by infection, inflammation or injury.
Does Skin Redness Go Away As We Age?
It really depends on the particular cause of the skin redness. For instance, there are skin conditions like rosacea which will not go away even when a person reaches old age. However, there are many ways to manage the problem and minimize redness like by avoiding triggers. There are also some skin conditions that go away after treatment but some can reoccur.
Does All Skin Redness Look The Same?
Skin redness can vary in shade, severity and other symptoms. There are many types of skin redness that can cause different symptoms.
Does Skin Redness Affect Self-esteem?
Of course there is a connection between a person’s appearance and his/her self-esteem. Fortunately, there are different ways to minimize or prevent skin redness from certain skin conditions. Ask your skincare professional about these ways.
Is There a Cure For Skin Redness?
Again, it depends on the particular cause of skin redness. Some skin conditions that cause skin redness can be cured but others are permanent.
If skin redness is a common problem for you, the first step is to determine what is actually causing the problem. The best way to do so is to consult a skincare professional. Most problems can be treated by avoiding what is causing it and/or treating it. There are also ways you can prevent the problem in the first place or avoid recurrence like the tips mentioned in this article.