Whoosh! You feel the heat burning down from your face to your throat and chest, turning you scarlet. The moment is fleeting and yet all too long. Or maybe you have a patch of redness that spreads across your nose and cheeks. It comes and goes but lately it seems to be there all the time. Or perhaps there’s skin redness plus a network of fine veins, also on your nose and cheeks, that you’ve resigned yourself to living with. Unless you’re experiencing a flare-up of rosacea (rose-AY-she-a), complete with papules, pustules, heat and redness… 

sensibio AR-skin redness

There are so many ways that skin can be red, and many different factors that can trigger it, from emotions to a sudden change in air temperature.
Redness is temporary at first, but can become permanent.

Its very visibility makes it difficult to live with, as we face the daily assumptions and judgements of others.
And even if blotchy, flushed, red skin is not entirely understood, seeking medical attention can help control symptoms.

Being kind to ourselves with each new flush is important. Knowing what provokes them and making adjustments to our lifestyle is better.

Red skin is considered an inflammatory disorder. Skin overreacts to specific triggers that it considers a threat. When exposed to these triggers, blood vessels dilate, epidermal nerve endings are stimulated and we feel hot and uncomfortable. This is flushing.

Our skin also relies on the vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF. This is necessary for growing new blood vessels to irrigate the skin. However, when it is overexpressed, blood vessels dilate and dermal fibres are weakened. Redness becomes permanent (erythrosis). Some blood vessels may become visible (telangiectasis), and stay that way.

While we therefore have some idea of the processes involved in temporary or permanent skin redness, we don’t actually fully understand what causes them. If we can’t get rid of redness on the face, the best strategy is therefore to manage the symptoms.


Internal and external factors that affect red skin

Generally speaking, people with fair skin are more prone to experiencing redness, and women are more affected than men. Red, rosy cheeks normally start to appear during adulthood, from 20 years old and later, and can get worse over time if nothing is done to control the flushed skin. Numerous factors can influence it:

internal factors
Internal factors: - Hormones,
- Emotions
- Stress
- Menopause
- Genetic susceptibility
sensibio AR - external factors
External factors : - Sudden changes in air temperature between hot and cold
- Spicy food
- Sun exposure
- Intensive workout
- Alcohol
- Skin and make-up products. 

Neither of these lists is exhaustive, but they do give an idea of how varied the triggers can be that make your face turn red. Identifying your own triggers is an essential first step to understanding your personal flush.

If you experience persistent redness, perhaps you have rosacea. Pretty in name only, rosacea is an inflammatory skin disease that develops and evolves over time. A wide variety of symptoms characterise it and can vary in intensity. All are tied to inflammation and vasodilation. The most common are the following:

Flushing is frequent and typically lasts a long period of your life, occurring within seconds to minutes in response to triggers. It corresponds to a wave of heat and redness that spreads along the face and neck during a moment of embarrassment, or a hot flush. It’s possible to evaluate the severity of flushing based on its frequency, duration, intensity and which parts of the chest and head area turn red.


Erythema is a permanent redness on the face across the cheeks and nose, and sometimes on the chin and forehead. It occasionally flares up, causing feelings of burning, stinging and dryness. There usually isn’t any itching.

sensibio AR erythema

Telangiectasis, or spider veins, also often appear as a result of excessive and prolonged vasodilation. These small red or purple blood vessels appearing under the skin in some places.

sensibio AR telangiectasis

These signs can evolve into more serious – and more rare – forms of rosacea with further symptoms that include papules, pustules, mostly on the cheeks, and hypertrophic skin growth, where skin thickens and turns bulbous in appearance, usually concentrated on the nose.

Ocular rosacea also exists, signalled by burning, stinging and the feeling of having something in the eye, as well as sensitivity to light. With the more severe forms, medical treatment is required.

Rosacea is prevalent around the world

Dermatologists estimate that 10% of the adult population is affected by rosacea*. The disease most often affects people with fair complexions, yet it is also diagnosed in Asians, Latin Americans and people of African descent**. Twice as many women are affected as men, starting at about 20 years old, with a peak at between 40 and 50 years old***.


Medical treatments manage symptoms

A variety of topical, oral and surgical rosacea treatments exist that can manage the different symptoms, with some success. Treating early makes it possible to contain the disease’s evolution. If not treated, the redness becomes permanent.


** Standard classification and pathophysiology of rosacea: The 2017 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee;Richard L. Gallo et al, JAAD 2018;78:148
*** https://www.revmed.ch/RMS/2016/RMS-N-512/Rosacee-ou-en-sommes-nous


rosacea around the world

If you are experiencing red skin, and are concerned that it’s progressing, do not hesitate to consult your dermatologist. He will be able to properly diagnose your problem, and determine the most appropriate treatment to get your skin back to looking fresh and healthy.