Flushed Red Cheeks Causes and Treatments


A red cheek can be a sign of facial redness. This post looks into causes, associated symptoms including flushed as well as treatments and solutions.

Redness on cheeks in susceptible individuals can produce a short-lived effect or clear on its own. Burning all time could be a sign of a serious condition. Facial redness fairly varies with complexion.

Why or causes

Redness on the cheeks can be anyone’s problem regardless of age, race or gender. So, what causes it?

1. Slapped cheek or fifth disease

This is a viral infection that causes a bright red cheek eruption (rash). The human parvovirus (B19) causes it.

The infection is associated with mild illness. A week or so after infection the “slapped cheek” rash develops. Some of the notable symptoms include:

  • A headache and fever
  • Body chills
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea

The disease is infectious until the rash appears on either cheek. The virus responsible is spread through inhaling infected droplets, cough or by close contact.

In adults, victims usually experience other symptoms like swollen and painful joints of the hands or feet. These may be mild or severe.

NOTE: The cheeks are the only parts affected by the fifth disease or rash. The rash is prominent on them but can significantly affect the arms, the trunk and rest of the body.

Who can get it

Anyone can be infected with parvovirus (B19) but the illness is common among children.

Treatment and prevention

It can be treated and are preventable as well. The following are some of the treatment options including:

  • Having rest
  • Pain relievers
  • Giving suffers lots of fluids

Prevention is more of self-care than medical. Parents should withdraw children from school to allow an easier time for recovery. This would help reduce the rate at which the infection spreads.

Prevention can also be achieved through washing hands frequently, avoiding crowded places, controlled sneezing, avoiding sharing clothing or utensils.

2. A sign of teething

Babies reach teething stage when they are about 6 month-old. Although many babies do not show any signs, they are affected. One of the likely symptoms that your baby is teething according to NHS Choices, is flushing characteristic of rosy-red cheeks.

Besides the flushing, other signs of teething include:

  • Finger or toy biting
  • Drooling
  • Fussiness
  • Refusing to eat
  • Enlarged or bulging gums

Biting helps teething babies relieve pressure on the gums while refusal to eat is due to the likelihood that there is inflammation in the inner cheeks. Sometimes drooling can cause a rash around their mouth and neck if the saliva rolls down past the chin.

3. Butterfly rash

A butterfly rash is another cause of distinctive of this condition and across the nose bridge. The occurrence of this rash is associated with lupus (not rosacea) but susceptible patients often confuse the redness with to rosacea redness.

According to belmarrahealth.com, general symptoms of lupus include:

  • A butterfly-shaped rash (malar rash)
  • Discoid rash usually on head, arms, chest, or back
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Inflammation of the joints
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart or lung problems
  • Joint pain, stiffness, swelling
  • Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or stress
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches, confusion, and memory loss

There are different types of lupus namely, systemic lupus, cutaneous lupusdrug-induced lupus and neonatal lupus.

Flushed cheeks or face

Why are my cheeks red and warm? Flushing is a term used to describe the occurrence of redness and warmth feeling in the skin where blood vessels dilate or simply become more open. The skin usually turns red for a short while.

There are various reasons for flushing as highlighted below.

A.  Flushing from eating

Flushing associated with eating is quite common since it can occur in healthy individuals. It can be caused by hot beverages, food or spicy ones.

Some individuals can end up with one-sided flushing and sometimes both sides of cheeks are affected.

B. Alcohol

According to DermNet New Zealand, this kind of facial flushing is induced by chemicals (tyramine or histamine), defective enzymes or exposure to solvents especially after drinking alcohol.

Notably, people with a fairer complexion, Asian more so are likely to be affected.

C. Neurologic flushing

Flushing of this kind may occur suddenly (blushing). Reddening of this kind may be related to the following.

  • Panic disorders or anxiety
  • Brain tumours
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Migraine headaches (one-sided throbbing and recurrent headaches)

D. When associated with drugs

Drugs with the potential of causing facial redness include vasodilators, morphine thyroid releasing hormone, Ciclosporin, steroids, etc.

NOTE: Patients on medication are discouraged from drinking alcohol as some drugs can cause or worsen flushing.

E. Other causes 

Besides the skin rashes, a good number of things (risk factors) can play a part red skin or create a short-term redness - not only on the cheeks but may also affect the other body parts (e.g. the back, neck, and chest).

In some cases, the redness may be going and coming back or create a long-term effect. These include some of the factors we have already looked at.

  • Rosacea
  • Alcoholism
  • Emotional stress
  • Drug-induced flushing
  • Neurological disorders
  • Reactions to medicines used to treat inflammatory diseases

Red burning cheeks

Red cheeks with a burning feeling can be serious symptoms especially when it does not go away on its own. If it is persistent with burning or inflamed skin, you may have rosacea symptoms diagnosed.

Another possible cause is due to a potential reaction to topical skin treatments. Redness on your cheeks due to an increased sensitivity to topical treatments can ruin your facial complexion.

Additionally, according to anxietycentre.com, anxiety can be symptomized by a burning skin sensation without necessarily becoming red.


Dermatologists recommend that patients be examined before deciding to apply natural ingredients to reduce burning sensation. These include stop skin treatments or informing your dermatologist about the symptoms, you get.

Soothing moisturizers can be a great deal if mild burning is accompanied by dryness on the skin surface.

When on toddler

Red cheeks can also be observed in toddlers, babies and children depending on the real cause or age of your little-loved ones. From our discussion, some of the causes include:

  • Slapped cheek syndrome
  • Teething signs
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Heat stress

IMPORTANT: If your child has red to pink patches on the cheek or facial area that causes itching, notify your doctor immediately.

High blood pressure

Can high blood pressure be a risk factor for developing red cheeks? Facial flushing, sleep problems, sweating are wrong conclusions drawn by individuals who self-diagnose in absence of a medical basis or guidance.

  • Facial flushing or redness is not caused by high blood pressure either is it a symptom of HBP since it occurs when the blood vessels dilate
  • Redness or facial flushing is linked with a circulation in veins, therefore, cannot be affected by high blood pressure that starts in arteries
  • Dizziness can be a side-effect of HBP medications or stroke
  • High blood pressure can lead to stroke

How to get rid of the redness 

Treating an underlying cause is by far more effective way of dealing with cheek redness since the problem can be caused by a good number of reasons some of which are medical.

In some cases, you need to talk to a professional if your primary care provider examines you and finds no condition is associated with your facial problem.

  • http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/slapped-cheek
  • http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15902/1/What-Is-a-Butterfly-Rash.html
  • http://www.belmarrahealth.com/lupus-vs-rosacea-differences-in-symptoms-causes-and-treatment/
  • http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2016-11-03/is-a-red-face-a-sign-someone-has-high-blood-pressure/7537306
  • http://www.babycentre.co.uk/l25007369/signs-of-teething-photos
  • http://www.resources.lupus.org/entry/types-of-lupus

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