Causes of Facial Redness, Itching and Swelling

Facial redness, itching and swelling may arise from a chronic skin condition, insect bites or an allergic reaction to an offending substance. Determining the cause of an outbreak often helps prevent recurring episodes and the accompanying embarrassment, irritation and frustration. People who are using newly prescribed medications should talk to their doctor about the side effects, as facial swelling, itching and redness may be among them.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Rosacea is a common cause of facial redness, itching and swelling 3. According to the U. S. government, this condition affects more than 14 million people. The exact cause of rosacea is not known, however it most commonly affects fair-skinned people with blonde hair, between 30 to 50 years of age. Rosacea often runs in families. There is no cure for this condition, however antibiotics and topical medications may reduce your symptoms.


Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition that generally appears in childhood, but it may continue into adulthood or arise later in life. Thought to result from an immune system malfunction, the condition causes outbreaks of raised bumps that itch, swell and leak fluid. The face is a common place for the rash to emerge. Although no tests exist to diagnose eczema, doctors rely on medical examinations of the skin and a medical history to determine whether a rash is the result of eczema.

Insect Bites

Immediate swelling, itching and redness on the face may result from an insect bite. Additional symptoms, such as numbness, burning and tingling are also common, depending on the type of insect bite. The bite from a fire ant or sting from a bee or wasp usually produces pain. Mosquito, flea or mite bites, however, are likely to only cause itching. In most cases, these bites are treatable at home with ice packs and antihistamine medications. In rare cases, an allergic reaction may occur, resulting in life-threatening symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain or shock. Immediate medical attention becomes necessary.

Contact Dermatitis

Two types of contact dermatitis exist: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is the more common of the two conditions, resulting from perpetual contact with an irritating substance such as soap, cosmetics or other hygiene products. Allergic contact dermatitis results from exposure to an allergen such as jewelry, poison ivy or chemicals. Once an allergy develops, it remains for a lifetime, causing outbreaks with even small amounts of exposure to the allergen. Symptoms for both conditions include facial redness, itching and swelling. Blisters may develop in severe cases of allergic contact dermatitis.