If you’ve eliminated the obvious - sunburn or overheating - it’s worth looking through the other possible causes of a red, inflamed, itchy face, so that you can get appropriate treatment.
- Rosacea tends to show up as bright red, warm, inflamed patches particularly on the cheeks, like a long-lasting, blotchy blush.
Psoriasis can affect the face as well as the body, and is characterised by scaly, bumpy, patches of skin.
Eczema or atopic dermatitis can appear on the face, particularly the chin and cheeks of children, and is itchy, blotchy, sometimes dry and crack but often red raw or weeping.
- Seborrheic dermatitis can sometimes appear as a bumpy, reddened, oily-looking rash on the face.
Allergic reaction or irritant contact dermatitis is a rash that can occur in reaction to something you’ve put on your skin - a new hair dye, moisturiser, sun cream, soap, makeup or other cosmetic.
Hives on the face can be due to a reaction to medication, exercise, or something you’ve eaten or drunk. Antihistamine should reduce the inflammation.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease which can cause a characteristic bright red, butterfly-shaped rash on the face.
Topical Steroid Withdrawal/Red Skin Syndrome is a reaction to steroids which can manifest as a bright red, almost burnt-looking rash on the face, even if that’s not where you used the topical steroid creams.
Shingles can cause a bumpy, red, painful blisters on the face; it will likely also appear elsewhere on the body and be accompanied by general poorliness.
Eczema herpeticum is also characterised by blisters and soreness, particularly around the mouth; it will need treating urgently with antivirals.
Hot flushes could be the culprit if your face gets very hot out of the blue, and then calms down again after 10-20 minutes. Triggers include exertion, spicy foods, stress, central heating, caffeine, hot weather and alcohol.
Acne is most likely if your skin is swollen, spotty, bumpy and oily.
(For more information on appropriate natural skincare for these conditions, search our Info Hub.)
Once you’ve got an official medical diagnosis, it’s important to treat the extra-sensitive and delicate skin of your face with the utmost care. If you’re suffering from inflammation, be careful not to aggravate it further with irritating cosmetics or toiletries; that means avoiding skincare or makeup containing perfumes, irritant preservatives, soap or SLS. Find soap-free cleanser and natural skincare instead, and feed your skin with the nutrients it needs to regenerate and repair itself.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.