Skin flushing or the sudden reddening of a person’s face, neck, or even upper chest may be a normal response of the body — especially when angry, embarrassed, excited, or experiencing any other strong emotion. However, when that redness comes randomly without reason, facial redness may be a medical problem.
WHAT IS ROSACEA?
If facial reddening is chronic and often manifested by sudden flare-ups and remissions, it might be a potentially serious condition called rosacea. Rosacea is characterized by having noticeable redness on the cheeks, the nose, forehead, or any other part of the face. Sometimes it could even involve the scalp, ears, neck, or chest.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ROSACEA?
- Flushing — This is the initial sign that a person has rosacea. The person may experience flushing episodes lasting up to five minutes.
- Persistent reddening of the face — This is the most common symptom. Redness appears like a sunburn patch that does not fade easily. It may also appear like the blotchy skin of a heavy drinker. In these areas, the skin could also appear swollen or dry.
- Visible blood vessels — Aside from the redness of the skin, small blood vessels found on the surface of your face may become inflamed, becoming more visible. Eventually, these vessels become dilated permanently. In medical terms, this condition is called telangiectasia.
- Red bumps and pimples— Acne-like red bumps and pus-filled swellings may appear.
- Thickened skin and eye irritation — These symptoms occur in the most serious cases of rosacea.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR ROSACEA?
Anyone may be affected with this skin condition. However, people who have light-colored skin and easily blush or flush may be at greater risk. Women are the most frequently diagnosed with this disorder, yet men have been known to possess more severe symptoms since they often delay seeking medical attention.
HOW IS ROSACEA TREATED?
Treatment for rosacea varies depending on the symptoms. When symptoms manifest, it is best to seek professional help. Our dermatology clinic in Honolulu aims to provide individualized care to every patient with rosacea. Dr. Matsuda and Dr. Sheu may prescribe the patient with a variety of oral and topical medicines to alleviate the pimples and bumps. Another topical therapy reduces facial redness. A long-term oral therapy is also showing promise in recent studies.
HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY SKIN TO PREVENT FACIAL REDNESS?
With the guidance of a dermatologist, patients may follow a gentle skin-care regimen to help control the skin condition. Patients are advised to clean their face regularly using a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser then rinse the face with lukewarm water. Rough washcloths should be avoided. Patients are also advised to avoid too much sun exposure. To minimize the appearance of symptoms on the face during social encounters, patients may use cosmetics to cover up redness, avoiding foundations with pink or oranges tones.
CAN FACIAL REDNESS BE TREATED OR REDUCED MORE PERMANENTLY?
Yes. In office treatments such as Intense Pulsed Light, lasers and other light based treatments can reduce facial redness for a period of time. A light chemical peel can also help sterilize skin to kill breakout causing bacteria. Unfortunately, the triggers for rosacea do continue and maintenance treatments may be helpful.