Help! My Skin Is Always Red — What Could It Be?

Help! My Skin Is Always Red — What Could It Be?

Going for a quick run can leave you red-faced and sweating. Getting too much sun, even on a cloudy day, can redden your skin as well. What is going on when your skin is always red? The explanation could be quite simple: The most likely culprit is common rosacea.

Our board-certified dermatologists at Manhattan Dermatology want you to be aware of changes in your skin and what those changes could mean. Here’s a quick guide to red skin, what could be causing it, and what your potential treatment options might be.

Rosacea basics

An estimated 16 million Americans at any given time are suffering from rosacea symptoms, while many more are in remission but will flare up again at some point. 

Rosacea is most common in middle-aged white women and is characterized by the telltale redness across the middle of the face.

Rosacea can come and go, making it difficult to diagnose. It can be accompanied by bumps which may make you think you simply have a bad case of acne. 

Untreated, rosacea can cause the skin on your face to thicken, and tiny blood vessels (called capillaries) to break. This can lead to red, blue, or purple squiggles known as spider veins appearing across your nose and cheeks.

Risk factors for rosacea

Not everyone has an equal risk for developing rosacea. Risk factors for rosacea include:

Age

If you’re over 30 years old, your risk goes up slightly; most people say their rosacea first started showing up between the ages of 30 and 50. 

Gender

Women are more likely to receive rosacea treatment, but men tend to have worse cases. That may be due to men waiting longer to seek treatment than women do, meaning the condition is allowed to progress.

Skin color

Most (but not all) rosacea sufferers have fair to medium skin color. But rosacea is more difficult to diagnose in people with darker skin, so there are likely more people out there with rosacea than are currently diagnosed.

Ancestry 

While anyone can develop rosacea, it’s been noted far more often in Americans with northern European ancestry (English, Irish, Scandinavian, Scottish, or eastern European lineages) than in people from other ethnic backgrounds. 

Genetics

There also appears to be a strong familial link associated with rosacea, so be aware that you’re more likely to develop it if a family member has it.

Rosacea treatment 

Typical treatment for rosacea is usually oral medications and possibly diet changes. For cases that include visible vascular lesions (spider veins), laser treatment can help break up damaged capillaries and make discoloration less obvious.

If you’re constantly seeing red skin on your face, it’s time to make an appointment online or over the phone at our office in the Murray Hill or Midtown East section of Manhattan in New York City.

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