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How to combat face flushes

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Coming in from the cold, enjoying a glass of wine, even washing your face… if these everyday activities leave your cheeks and nose on permanent red alert then it could be causing more damage than you realise. It’s a common problem – research suggests around one in ten people in the UK suffer from a mild form of rosacea or some sort of facial flushing.

Even celebrities are not immune, and some of the world’s most feted beauties rely on specialist products to ensure the glare of the spotlight does not leave them with complexions ruddier than the red carpet. Fair-skinned lovelies such as Cate Blanchett, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman are especially prone.

face flushing© Photo: iStock

One in ten people in the UK suffer from some sort of facial flushing

Redness is caused by blood rushing to the affected area to calm it down. This is your skin’s way of coping with an irritant and is perfectly normal.

However, if even mild irritants such as a small amount of alcohol or cold weather trigger a reaction – and if the deep flush lasts, not just for a few seconds or minutes, but for hours or even days – then it could actually be damaging your skin.

Recent research has shown that extreme redness and flushing can lead to premature ageing. Feeling flush? If you have fair skin that flushes or blushes easily, you are more likely to develop sensitivity and long-term redness. And unfortunately the typical English Rose complexion is particularly prone.

Little wonder that more than half of all British women say they suffer from this type of skin sensitivity. It happens because, over time, the tiny capillaries in the face weaken and leak blood into the skin.

The most common triggers of facial flushing include:

  • • Cold weather - simply stepping from your warm home or office into wintry weather outside can make the face flush with cold.
  • • Skin irritation from exposure to sun
  • • Stress - having to give a presentation, speak in public or go for a job interview can cause a release of blood that leaves you looking flushed.
  • • Caffeine, alcohol and spicy food – all these substances dilate the blood vessels and can cause permanent facial redness.
  • • Exercise - overdoing it at the gym can result in flushing.
  • • Product overload - skin firmers, peels, line minimisers, facial scrubs and acid and topical Vitamin A retinoids such as retinol and retin A can all trigger flushing.
creams© Photo: iStock

Try not to overload on products as this can aggravate the problem

Steps to get rid of Face Flushing

  • 1. Make sure you get the recommended daily allowance of zinc (an anti-inflammatory agent) and take a supplement, if necessary.
  • 2. Avoid all anti-ageing, exfoliating and resurfacing products until your skin has calmed down.
  • 3. Take flaxseed, borage, starflower, fish or evening primrose oils – these contain Gamma-Linoleic acid, another anti-inflammatory.
  • 4. Choose a moisturiser containing soothing ingredients such as coral extracts, vitamins C and E, aloe vera, licorice, green tea, whey protein, zinc and camomile.