This is my story about how I soothed my terribly red face in a very unusual way.
If you have red, irritated skin on your face, I hope this helps you as well!
Last night a new acquaintance said to me, “You have a beautiful complexion!” (and no, the above photo is not of me).
I almost couldn't believe it, and then I told her what a testimony that was to my health improving. I mentioned to her my previous struggles with my poor red face and thought, “After all that I have been through, I really need to share with others what I've been through with my skin and my health.”
And so this post was born.
Your skin can be a reflection of what is going on inside of you.
If you have blemishes or rashes going on with your skin, something isn't quite right inside. It could be a topical issue, of course, but more often than not if you work on something inside, the outside gets better.
Many many people are struggling with undiagnosed skin conditions. They think that they have to just live with them, putting makeup on top to cover up the problem.
But that is not true. There are ways to deal with these things–and sometimes working on the inside of your body is just what needs to happen.
There are different thoughts in the alternative medical community about the causes of skin problems, but I'm going to share part of my skin story so that hopefully you can benefit from what I've learned.
My Red Face Story
In my childhood, I always had beautiful olive-toned skin.
The first signs that I had a problem showed up in my late 20s. I remember wondering about faint flushing that I'd begun to experience and I asked an older woman in my church if she thought that I had rosacea. She had mild rosacea, and she said that there was no way I did.
But the redness continued to come and go. Slight, but still there.
Several years later, I asked my doctor what he thought, but he dismissed my concerns and told me to just be gentle with how I washed my skin – “Use tepid water and don't scrub,” was his advice.
Fast forward again.
Another year or so later and I saw my dermatologist for another issue. I timidly voiced my concerns, and he validated my suspicion. I had a real problem.
His reassurance? “It probably won't get so bad that you'll have a bulbous nose.”
Well, I was glad about the nose thing, but I didn't want the red face either.
Years went by and I just avoided wearing pink and red.
It all was manageable until about 4 years ago when things got really bad.
My face was red. Really red. Nose, cheeks, chin.
I felt this awful irritated tingling all the time. I could feel it creeping up into my skin and it was basically petrifying.
I was crying, complaining to my husband, and scouring the internet for solutions. I even got an intense case a few times when the rash got bright red and looked like the classic lupus butterfly rash.
Talk about stress. Here's what I found:
How to Soothe a Red Face
Following are some things that you can do to soothe red facial skin.
- Special face creams and washes
- Dietary changes (e.g. avoid spicy foods, too hot or too cold drinks, and alcohol)
- Avoid intense exercise
- Avoid stress
- Avoid extreme temperature changes
- Use Green-tinted cover-up (can you say, “Wicked Witch”?)
Basically, I was supposed to change my whole life. Meanwhile, this red face was doing its best to do just that.
I truly didn't want to go anywhere.
One night my husband kindly drove me across town to a woman's house to try samples of her expensive skin care routine that was supposed to help soothe irritated skin. More money to throw after a problem that wasn't going away.
And how I was supposed to avoid stress when I felt like I my skin was inflamed all the time? Sigh.
Well, finally I found some answers.
What Causes a Red Face?
There are a lot of things that can cause redness on the face, but one of them might surprise you.
As I was doing research on my situation, I read that a red face is thought to be linked to acid reflux. Interestingly, I'd been having heartburn. So I talked with my physician and he prescribed Zantac.
One thing on the internet caught my attention.
Acid reflux can be caused by too little acid in the stomach – not too much.
The remedy? Betaine HCl (that stands for hydrochloric acid. Stomach acid).
It sounded simple, but a bit scary. But after digging around on the internet more and reading over and over again that people were having relief from this simple change sounded amazing, and the ingredients seemed to be simple and natural. Furthermore, there weren't any big warnings about using a small amount.
And the $17 bottle at the health food store for 200+ pills was a lot cheaper than the expensive skin care routine.
Next thing I knew I was driving to the health food store.
Two pills with my dinner and a good night's sleep and …
My face looked a TON better in the morning.
I couldn't believe it.
My red face wasn't completely clear, but it sure had improved a lot.
I wasn't afraid to go out in public anymore. Though I didn't want to wear red yet, at least I didn't feel like I was going to crawl out of my skin.
Since then, I've continued to work on my health and my skin.
What I Did to Soothe My Red Face
The HCL was a great help for me, but there are other things that have been helpful for me as I have worked on my overall health doing the following.
- Boosted Digestive Function with supplements (I take a good digestive enzyme (I am taking this brand right now.) and HCl (I've used many brands over the years. This Betaine HCL is the first brand that I started with. I am using this brand right now.)
- Increased Digestibility of foods (see How to De-Gas Beans too)
- Made Dietary Changes (you might wish to avoid sugar, refined foods, dairy and gluten)
- Strengthened My Immune System (I personally have been working on addressing adrenal fatigue and heavy metal issues)
- Started Using Gentle, Safer Skin Care (like my Do It Yourself Soothing Jojoba Skin Cleanser.
Update – I've switched to Ava Anderson skincare & cosmetics.Update 2016: I left Ava Anderson (now Pure Haven Essentials) due to labeling and ethics concerns. I personally use and love Beautycounter. Their Cleansing Balm and Baby Balm are great on top of moisturizer for an all day and night soothing treatment. Both are fantastic for irritated skin and they both last a very long time–a little goes a long way.
How Is My Red Face Now?
I actually wore a scarf with pink in it a few weeks ago and was told by a friend how nice it looked :-).
So wearing pink or red is not my goal, but it sure feels nice to be able to wear these colors and not feel self-conscious. What I truly hope is that this information can help you or someone you love.
Your red face may appear to be a merely a cosmetic issue, but looking and feeling inflamed all the time is not fun – and more importantly, it means something needs addressing inside.
Other related posts:
Finally, I am not a doctor. Even though I was Pre-Med at a quality university, I decided that I couldn't likely juggle being a physician while being a mom. In hindsight, I was probably right, but that doesn't make me any less interested in all things medical.
Still, you must check with your own physician prior to changing your diet, exercise routine, or supplements. Just makin' sure we understand each other :).
If you struggle with a red face, what has helped you?
If you know someone struggling, please share this information with them!