Sweaty and inflamed: How to get rid of a flushed face after a workout

Working out regularly is one of the best ways to maintain your overall health. However, a particularly strenuous gym session can make your face red, which might cause you alarm the first time it happens.

What causes facial redness after a workout?

In most cases, a flushed face after an intense workout shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Your face usually becomes sweaty and red because of a form of inflammation.

This isn’t the chronic, unhealthy kind of inflammation linked to conditions like arthritis or other serious ones.

High-intensity physical activity tears tiny holes in your muscles. As you cool down and recover, these holes heal and you become more toned and stronger. While you’re in your post-workout and recovery period, your muscles are technically inflamed.

According to Dr. Will Cole, a functional medicine expert, inflammation is an important and normal process that allows your body to repair damaged tissue.

However, when you overexercise and skip breaks, your exhausted body doesn’t have enough time to heal itself between workouts. This may cause ongoing inflammation.

Cole says that when you exercise, your blood vessels dilate to let blood travel throughout your body more quickly and supply oxygen to your muscles. Additionally, this process moves the extra heat generated while you work out to the surface of your skin.

Breathe deeply on purpose. Oxygen is a vital source of life. You may know how to breathe, but are you breathing properly? Most of us don’t breathe properly — we take only shallow breaths and breathe to 1/3 of our lung capacity. A full breath is one where your lungs are completely filled, your abdomen expands, and there’s minimum movement in your shoulders. There are many benefits of deep breathingwhich include a reduction in stress and blood pressure, strengthening of abdominal and intestinal muscles and relief of general body aches and pains. Deep breathing also helps with better blood flow, releasing toxins from the body, and aids in getting a better night’s sleep.

The alarming facial redness that you notice is the heat trying to escape your body.

If you have more superficial blood vessels on your face, you’re more likely to experience facial redness following a session at the gym. (: Natural remedies for soothing irritated skin.)

Natural remedies for facial redness

If you frequently experience facial redness after an intense workout, there are some home remedies that you can try.

Cole says it is important to always have a cool down and stretching period after an intense session at the gym, so your body has a chance to rebalance.

While warming up before exercise promotes blood flow and prevents injuries, cooling down after engaging in high-intensity physical activity allows your body to gradually recover. After you exercise, cooling down gives your heart rate a chance to return to normal.

While you’re cooling down, stretch your joints, limbs, and muscles to minimize the buildup of lactic acid that can cause muscle cramping and stiffness.

Cooldown and stretching tips:
  • Walk for at least five minutes, or until your heart rate goes below 120 beats per minute.
  • While you’re stretching, hold each stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds. If you think you need to do more, stretch the other side and go for another set of stretching.
  • Take even breaths while you’re stretching. Exhale as you stretch, then inhale while holding the stretch.
  • Do not bounce when stretching. Make sure each stretch is strong but not painful.

If your face is still red after you’ve left the gym, you can take some supplements to relieve inflammation.

Cole recommends taking turmeric supplements if you’re planning on having an intense gym session. Turmeric is great at relieving inflammation.

Take time out to relax. Relaxation is very important to a healthy mind. However you choose to relax - deep breathing, yoga, fishing, having a bath, reading a book - try to chill out for an hour a day if you can. Mental exhaustion can cause stress, depression and anxiety disorders. Modern lifestyles can be hectic - if you're not working, you're running after the kids or racing around the grocery store or doing something else. Relax! Breathe deeply. Even fifteen minutes of this is better than none, but do try for an hour a day.

You can also take L-glutamine supplements. Considered an essential amino acid, L-glutamine helps restore muscles and minimizes inflammation.

Take note that the supplements won’t immediately relieve facial redness. Once you take supplements, it can take hours before the inflammation in your face subsides.

Exercise regularly to maintain your overall health. If you experience facial redness after a strenuous workout, cool down and take turmeric or L-glutamine supplements to relieve inflammation. You can also place a cool towel on your face to cool the heat and calm the inflammation.

Learn more tips and tricks for surviving your workout at WomensFitnessFocus.com and MensFitnessFocus.com.

Sources include:

MindBodyGreen.com

Heart.org