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Skin Care and Diseases

Half face bright red after vigorous exercise

03/23/2006

Question:

I am 31 years old, female. Every time I exercise vigorously, half my face goes bright red, while the other half remains pale. It startles everybody, and it happens every single time I do an aerobics session. I am very worried as it actually appears that a perfectly straight line demarcates the 2 exact halves of my face: from the top of my forehead to my chin. It`s as if I`m wearing a mask. Please advise, as my naturopath cannot seem to find the reason for this. I have seen that somebody posted the exact same question in this forum before (Jan 06). My right side goes red, my left side stays pale (if that helps). Thank you.

Answer:

Your description is interesting and provocative.  It is likely that the "normal side of your face" is the abnormal side.  It may represent a neurologic abnormality or a vascular abnormality.  In any event, the first thing you need to do is to see your board certified dermatologist for an accurate exam and even exercise in that person's presence.  You may well need to see a neurologist, and a highly qualified internist to arrive at the accurate diagnosis.

Another option, of course, is that you have a vasomotor phenomenon involving the right side of your face.  Your entire body needs to be examined, a careful history of the onset of this process should be review, and presence or absence in family members needs to be looked into.  Please get medical professional help from one or all of the specialists I have mentioned.

Good luck!

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati