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You Asked: My Face Turns Beet Red – Is This Normal?

You're asking and I'm answering . . .

Dear Fit,
After I run in hot weather, my face turns so bright red. I stay hydrated, and I do feel hot, but not overheated. The friends I run with get slightly flushed, but not as scarlet red as me. Is this OK, or is this a sign that something is wrong?
—Rosie Red Rebecca

Don't worry, nothing is wrong with you. That ruby-red flush is just a sign that you're working hard and building up heat. When your temperature begins to rise, your smart little body perspires to keep itself cool, but it also dilates the blood vessels in your skin to reduce your body temperature (it's called vasodilation). This circulates blood to your skin's surface so that heat can radiate off of it. So have no fear — your face turns bright red because warm, oxygenated blood rushes to it as a way to prevent you from overheating. This is a good thing and nothing to be worried about.

To learn when a flushed face might be an indication of a problem


If you notice other signs beyond a flushed face, like feeling exhausted, feeling dizzy, sweating more than normal, or are sick to your stomach then you may be close to heat exhaustion. If that's the case, stop exercising ASAP, get out of the sun, loosen up tight clothing (or remove it altogether), and drink plenty of cool water.


Join The Conversation
Chloe08 Chloe08 9 years
corduroy: Yes, my feet get tingly in my shoes after running for long periods of time too. I was told it is probably the onset of tarsel tunnel (the equivalent of carpel tunnel, only in your feet). Of course, I never went to the doctor for it or anything, it is just a minor annoyance that I deal with. If it starts to cause you real pain or other problems I might get checked out, just to be sure. And yes... I am fair-skinned as well, and ALWAYS turn beet red when I run. And even after I quit, it seriously takes over an hour for my face to return to its normal color. Which sucks when I try to squeeze in a run before work and am still flushed when I get to the office...
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
I get the red face working out in the chilly AC. If I try to run outside when the temp is above 70 degrees, I get pukey quickly. I also get petechiae sometimes during workouts. That's always unsettling, but so far it seems to indicate nothing serious. At least I don't get those itchy hives.
corduroy1 corduroy1 9 years
Oh man. I've NEVER been able to work out to ANY extent without my face getting damn near purple! You're all right, it doesn't matter what shape you are in, and it's the WORST when people ask if you're alright, or in my case "you might wanna rest a little". THAT'S the worst! I have a question though...when I do cardio for 45 mins or more, my feet start to fall asleep, and it's not from tight shoes. Has THAT happened to anyone else????
alethia037 alethia037 9 years
So glad other people get like this too!
chibarosa chibarosa 9 years
Me too. I run in a park and even though no one has asked me if I'm okay, I do occasionally hear comments like, "That is ONE RED GIRL!"
badhabit badhabit 9 years
It's so nice to know this happens to other people-I always feel like I'm the only one at the gym who has this. It starts about 10 minutes after I start running and goes away about an hour after I stop. I try to ignore the people who stare (especially on my walk home from the gym) by thinking, I look awful now, but if I didn't work out, I would look a lot worse overall. I've considered making a tee shirt that says YES I KNOW MY FACE IS RED-I'M NOT HAVING A HEART ATTACK to wear to the gym.
Knight-Who-Says-Ni Knight-Who-Says-Ni 9 years
This happens to me every time I run. I used to get really embarrassed by it, but there's just nothing I can do, so why be embarrassed?. I also used to wonder if it was because I'm so fair-skinned, but Fit's explanation makes more sense. That rush of oxygenated blood is probably good for your skin, yes? Or is that wishful thinking?
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
My face gets really red, too, but when this happens I always get a headache that won't go away (happened last night actually). It sucks!
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
I wish I knew if I had this...I run outside, alone.
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
This is me too. When I played basketball I looked like a racoon. My face was all red, except around my eyes... it's sort of funny looking. It happens to me at the gym too. Running especially. Oh well, glad to know other people have this too!
omigosh omigosh 9 years
girl, this is me. i turn bright red after about ten minutes into my workout, and will stay red until about 45 minutes after, even if i take a cold shower :-)
Berlin Berlin 9 years
genetics:) My mother & sperm donor both have's a heat allergy for us! My mom can go in the sun or work out for just a little bit and be beat red...while the male has a more extreme and gets hives super easy with too much sun exposure. I just get really red and sometimes will break out from the sun! So it could just be a sensitivity to the heat, ask your rents if they have similar reactions!
BeautyXRush BeautyXRush 9 years
Mine has always been like that too, just means your body temperature is getting warmer. I don't sweat a lot though, so I make up for it by turning more red than most.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Me too. And like jessie my arms and legs look sunburned. And since I'm fair, and never tans you can be pretty sure I look a little stupid.
jessie jessie 9 years whole body turns red..i look like a giant tomato. but i've always been that way for as long as i can remember.
neonbee neonbee 9 years
My cheeks are always red, even when I didn't do anything tiring at all. But I do turn beet red after running or playing tennis.
animatedpunk animatedpunk 9 years
hmmm, i don't think that's it. I'm not super fair skinned. I'm not dark skinned, but i'm not pale at all. i guess you'd say i'm medium-skinned. and my face gets super beat red. I see girls at the gym with fairer skin than me, and they don't get red-faced like I do....
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I wonder if being fair-skinned has anything to do with it. I'm very fair-skinned and I turn beet red when I work out too. So does my friend who is also really light skinned. My sister, who's darker skinned than me, barely gets red at all when she works out.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
I'm the same way. Always have been, and like Mondaymoos my level of exertion and fitness doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. Likewise I say red for a long time after too. It's more than just looking flushed and yes, people ask me all the time too if I'm okay. :(
animatedpunk animatedpunk 9 years
I have this same problem............... and other girls at the gym (who seem to be working out just as hard) don't get nearly as red-faced....... is there a reason that some girls do and some girls don't?
jdeprima jdeprima 9 years
Me too--my face turns red way out of proportion to my exertion. It also stays red long after I've cooled down.
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