Home Skin Care Red spots on the face: cause and therapy

Red spots on the face: cause and therapy

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 151 views

Heat, alcohol, spicy food or diseases such as rosacea: There are harmless but also serious causes of red spots on the face . Here you can read more about the individual reasons, what helps and when you should see a doctor.

Red Spots on Face: Causes & Treatment

Red spots on the face occur when the blood vessels under the skin dilate and fill with blood. This happens during sports, in cold temperatures or with emotional reactions, for example when you are excited or anxious. Spicy food, various medications or alcohol also trigger red spots on the face.

Some people blush more easily than others. This is basically no reason to worry. However, red cheeks are sometimes a warning sign of an illness. We have therefore examined various causes in more detail for you and explain what helps against them and which symptoms require a doctor’s visit.

Red spots on face from heat

A very obvious reason for red spots on the face is heat – from sports, physical exertion or temperature fluctuations, for example. The background: When we get too hot, the blood vessels dilate to cool the body down. This reaction also causes flushed skin.

What helps:

If you get too hot, drink some water , rest, and breathe deeply. Caution should be exercised if the reddened skin is accompanied by breathing difficulties, exhaustion or confusion. This may be an indication of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Then consult a doctor immediately.

Allergy as a trigger for red spots on the face

The face is particularly at risk for what is known as contact dermatitis. This means: The skin reacts allergically to certain substances – for example to a soap or a hair dye. Common ingredients that trigger allergic contact dermatitis include poison ivy, fragrances, and latex.

What helps:

The redness will go away on its own once you stop contacting the skin with the allergy-causing product. If you do not know the cause of the redness, it is best to see a dermatologist.

Red spots on the face from diseases

There are various diseases that cause red spots on the face. We introduce you to a few.


Rosacea is a chronic disease that progresses in phases. It is manifested by inflammation of the facial skin. Women over the age of 30 are often affected. In the skin disease, the blood vessels in the face enlarge. This causes more blood to flow to the cheeks. Forehead, nose and chin are also often affected by redness.

In most cases, only redness appears at first, and as the disease progresses, nodules, inflammatory blisters and swollen and red eyelids often form. In men, bulbous growths also develop on the nose in an advanced stage.

The exact causes of rosacea are still unclear. The triggering risk factors include long-term UV radiation, heat, hot baths and showers . Stress , alcohol and an intolerance to cleaning and care products can also trigger flare-ups.

What helps:

Always consult a dermatologist if you suspect rosacea. There are various medications in the form of ointments and creams that can provide relief. Laser treatment is also used in some cases.

Avoid triggers such as extreme temperatures, alcohol, or spicy foods. Always wear sunscreen when you go outside.

Wash your face daily with a mild cleanser, rinse with lukewarm water and gently pat your skin dry.

Learn more about the causes and treatment of rosacea here .


Psoriasis (medically known as psoriasis) is also a chronic inflammatory disease that progresses in phases. It is a disease of the immune system in which the processes of skin renewal are accelerated. This creates too many new skin cells.

When these cells build up on the skin’s surface, they create defined, reddened areas of skin. Itching is also typical. An attack is intensified by stress, infections or skin irritations, among other things.

What helps:

A visit to the doctor is important for psoriasis. Therapy includes various ointments and creams, a diet high in fish, vegetables and cooking oils containing omega-3, and relaxation techniques such as yoga .

Here you can find out more about the causes and treatment of psoriasis .


Atopic dermatitis, often referred to as eczema or neurodermatitis, causes a sudden rash on the skin. The disease often occurs in childhood and is particularly evident on the scalp, face and hands.

Infants often have this itchy rash on their cheeks. Regardless of where the rash appears, the affected skin tends to feel dry, scaly, and itchy. The exact cause of eczema is unknown.

Triggering factors are certain foods , muggy temperatures or cold, psychological factors (stress), wool and infections.

What helps:

Therapy for neurodermatitis is also carried out in consultation with a doctor. There are medicines, light and climate therapies. It is also important to avoid the trigger factors mentioned above.

Here you can find out more about the causes and treatment of neurodermatitis .


Perioral dermatitis, also known as mouth rose or stewardess disease, is a red, chronic inflammatory skin rash on the face, the exact cause of which is still unknown. The rash usually appears around the mouth and chin.

The intensity increases with the passage of time. First, pimples appear, then papules and pustules. In severe cases, there is a rash all over the face and sides of the neck.

What helps:

Always clarify the suspicion of a mouth rose from the doctor. The first step in the treatment is to completely avoid all skin cleansing and skin care products as well as cosmetics – for six to twelve weeks. Creams, ointments, gels and solutions with certain active ingredients help against the symptoms.

Here you can find out more about the causes and treatment of oral rhinitis .

Seborrhoische Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes a red rash that often appears on the head and face. The rash causes the skin to appear mostly greasy. However, it also appears dry and scaly. As a rule, seborrheic eczema does not cause pain and only rarely causes itching.

Seborrheic eczema occurs more frequently with certain diseases. These include neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and HIV infection.

What helps:

Seborrheic eczema usually has to be treated medically because of its usually chronic course – externally and, if necessary, internally with medication. Skin care and stress reduction are important elements of therapy.

Here you can find out more about the causes and treatment of seborrheic dermatitis .

Acne as the cause of red spots

Acne is also often seen as red spots on the face. It starts with clogged pores . Dead skin, oil and dirt collect in the skin’s tiny openings. They provide a perfect home for bacteria, which multiply quickly and cause pores to swell.

There are different types of acne, each with a different appearance: small dark spots ( blackheads ), white bumps, red bumps (papules), red bumps with white spots on top (pustules or pimples), and large painful lumps (nodules).

What helps:

Mild acne can be treated with various home remedies:

  • Wash your face daily with warm water and a mild soap.
  • Avoid skin-irritating products that contain alcohol or fragrances, for example.
  • Don’t touch your face or pop your pimples. Otherwise scars may appear.
  • Sun exposure may make acne worse. Wear sunscreen when you go outside. Choose a sunscreen product that is not oily. Look for the word “non-comedogenic” on the label.
  • Try an over-the-counter acne medication that contains ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids, or salicylic acid .

If these treatments don’t work, contact your doctor. There are various treatment options such as ointments, medication or laser procedures.

Learn more about acne here .

Red spots on face from hot flashes

Menopause occurs when a woman’s menstrual cycle ends and her estrogen production decreases. About 80 percent of women going through menopause experience hot flashes. This is a sudden feeling of intense heat in the face and body that lasts one to five minutes.

During a hot flash, the face often turns red. It’s not entirely clear why that is. Doctors suspect that a drop in estrogen affects the hypothalamus. This part of the brain is responsible for regulating body temperature.

If the body temperature there is judged to be too hot, the hypothalamus sends out a signal to dilate the blood vessels and release sweat. This is how the body cools down. Common triggers include hot weather, spicy or warm food, alcohol, caffeine , and smoking.

What helps :

If you know what triggers the hot flashes, it is best to avoid those factors. Stress-relieving techniques like breathing exercises, yoga, and massage can also help relieve hot flashes. Furthermore, herbal preparations with active ingredients such as sheep tannin, lady’s mantle and black cohosh have already been shown to be effective.

Hormone therapy using estrogen or an estrogen-progesterone combination is also an effective treatment for hot flashes. Ask a gynecologist about the treatment and possible side effects of hormone therapy.

Learn more about hot flashes here .

Red spots on face from medication

Some medications cause red spots on the face as a side effect. This is caused by an allergic or pseudoallergic skin rash. It is referred to in medicine as a drug eruption.

Most often, antibiotics cause these red spots. But anti-inflammatory painkillers from the NSAID group (such as ASS, ibuprofen, diclofenac) as well as epilepsy and gout medication can also lead to this.

What helps:

If you experience reactions such as red spots on your face after taking medication, talk to your doctor about it. You may need to avoid the drug.

If the drug is indispensable for therapy, a doctor can prescribe cortisone and antihistamines before taking it to weaken the allergic reaction.

Learn more about drug rash here .

Spicy food triggers red spots on the face

If you eat a spicy dish, your face may also get red spots. The reason: Spicy and acidic foods affect the nervous system. The blood vessels dilate and reddening occurs. Chili, harissa and tabasco lead to this in many cases.

What helps:

If it bothers you that a food makes you blush, it’s best to avoid it. Cook with milder spices like rosemary or garlic . It also helps to let meals cool before eating.

Red spots on face from alcohol

Especially people from East Asian countries like Japan, China and Korea blush when they drink even small amounts of alcohol. This condition is called alcohol intolerance.

The reason for this is a hereditary deficiency in the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). This enzyme is required to break down alcohol. People with ALDH2 deficiency are also at higher risk of esophageal cancer.

Alcohol also causes red spots in people with certain types of cancer, such as thyroid cancer and carcinoid tumors.

What helps:

If you are ALDH2 deficient, generally avoid alcohol or drink only small amounts. If the red spots appear suddenly when you drink alcohol, see a doctor.

How to prevent red spots

Since red spots on the face have different causes, it is fundamentally important to avoid the triggering factors. There are also some basic things that help with prevention:

  • Wash your face daily with a gentle cleanser and gently pat dry. Avoid care products that are free of preservatives, fragrances and alcohol.
  • Stay out of the sun if possible. Sun exposure increases reddened skin. If you must go outside, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Relaxation exercises like yoga and deep breathing help reduce stress.
  • If you sweat quickly in everyday life, wear different layers of clothing that you can take off as needed.
  • If you have important appointments and want to hide the red spots, wear makeup that reduces the redness of your skin.

When to the doctor?

If you can trace red spots to harmless causes like heat or spicy foods, then a doctor’s visit isn’t necessary.

However, since diseases also cause red spots, it is advisable to see a doctor if they appear suddenly and without a clear trigger. Also, if red spots stay longer than two weeks or worsen, it is better to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

Red spots in babies and children

Even in babies and small children, red spots sometimes have harmless causes that also require treatment.

  • Neonatal rash , or erythema neonatorum toxicum, is a patchy red rash that many infants have. It will go away on its own after a few days.
  • So-called baby acne , which shows up as red spots and small red pimples, usually disappears on its own.
  • Babies also sometimes get a rash on their face when they are teething. The excessive saliva production then irritates the facial skin.
  • mite infestation causes a skin rash with scattered red and itchy bumps.

Teething diseases that trigger red spots include:

  • ringworm
  • rubella
  • Scarlet fever
  • chickenpox
  • measles
  • neurodermatitis
  • Hand Foot Mouth Disease
  • hives

Always have red spots on your face checked by a pediatrician, especially if you have a fever.

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