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The Red Face by Dr Jennifer Crawley

My face is Red

If you have a red looking face, which is more than a healthy “English Rose” appearance, you may have rosacea. Rosacea is not limited to people with Caucasian skins and can occur in people with darker Fitzpatrick skins, where it can be more difficult to diagnose.

Rosacea can be apparent a lot of the time and as such, it is a chronic condition, however fortunately it is also a treatable condition.  I and my colleague Dr Jennifer Crawley, see many patients troubled by their red face and skin symptoms and there is a lot we can do to help you.

What is rosacea?

Many young adults have a tendency to get a red face and are found to suffer from rosacea. If untreated they can go on to have quite a florid facial appearance in older age and also suffer from eye problems, such as severe blepharitis.

Rosacea affects the skin primarily on your face but occasionally reaches your neck and shoulders. It is most commonly associated with the face exhibiting excessive redness in certain situations and with certain foods. Although women are more likely to be diagnosed with rosacea than men, the symptoms experienced by men can be worse. The symptoms typically show themselves between the ages of 30 and 40, however, some people show signs from their 20s.


What are the symptoms of rosacea?


Early symptoms experienced include getting red flushes and blushing more frequently, particularly with certain triggers. The redness may come and go sporadically in flare-ups and bumps and pimples can arise. Also, you may experience burning or stinging when the skin affected comes into contact with water or skincare products. The skin is generally sensitive. Sometimes you can also get red bumps and also what we call pustules (bumps filled with white material) which of course can be quite unsightly.

There is a correlation between sufferers of rosacea also experiencing eye irritation known as ocular rosacea (having watery or bloodshot eyes), eyelid swelling, styes and chalazion. Broadly, ocular rosacea is a form of blepharitis, which can require advice from your ophthalmologist as well. Left untreated, your eyelids will become sore, red-rimmed and thickened, possibly turn outwards and your eyes stream. This is particularly so in men with rosacea.

Other common symptoms include having dry skin, facial swelling and thickened skin (mainly around the nose). As the rosacea progresses, the flushing experienced earlier often becomes more permanent rather than appearing in flare-ups.

In more severe cases the rosacea can lead to rhinophyma. This is when the skin thickens/swells around and on the nose. The nose may become bumpy and swollen from the excess tissue, and look very red. On top of this, people with this condition may suffer from dry, sore eyes and eyelids due to severe ocular rosacea. In these cases, ophthalmic specialist help is definitely needed.


What are the causes of rosacea and common triggers?


The direct reason for rosacea is unknown, with many people believed to have a genetic predisposition to develop symptomatic rosacea. There are direct triggers which influence your symptoms. Some triggers influence flare-ups and the triggers can differ from person to person. Some of the most common rosacea triggers include:

  • Sun exposure
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy food
  • Stress
  • Temperature change
  • Cheese
  • Caffeine
  • Hot drinks
  • Aerobic exercise


How is rosacea treated?


There is no specific cure for rosacea, but you can take measures to ease and treat the symptoms, making your life more tolerable, your skin and eyes more comfortable, and your appearance less “red-faced”.

Depending on your triggers you should:

  • Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day
  • Avoid heat, sunlight or humid conditions
  • Cover your face in cold weather
  • Use skincare intended for sensitive skin
  • Avoid alcohol, hot drinks, caffeine, cheese, spicy food, and aerobic exercise.

To treat rosacea directly, Clinica London dermatologist Dr Jennifer Crawley will suggest prescription creams and gels for the spots, oral antibiotics, and many other treatment options.

We work closely with the Clinica Ophthalmologists, who are available every day of the week: Mr Sajjad Ahmad, Ms Jane Olver and Ms Laura Crawley will all advise on the treatment of your ocular rosacea if you also have troublesome blepharitis, styes and watering.

Clinica London’s Consultant Dermatologists


Dr Jennifer Crawley

Consultant Dermatologist
Children & Adults


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