When a rosy glow is not a happy look

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I recently went to see my GP because I was going red in the face a lot. My GP has diagnosed rosacea – what causes this?

Rosacea is a common inflammatory condition of the skin of the face that causes redness that looks like a flush or blush.

The cause is unclear, and there may be more than one cause. Tiny blood vessels under the skin of the face enlarge and dilate. These blood vessels may become hypersensitive to certain triggers.

It is believed that some people have a genetic predisposition to developing it as it tends to run in families. It can vary in severity and in mild cases your GP will be happy to treat you. In more aggressive cases however, referral to a skin specialist may be in order.

I have had varicose veins for several years and have recently developed what I have been told is varicose eczema. What should I do to treat this?

You can help to prevent and treat dry, scaly, itchy skin by the regular use of emollients (moisturisers). Emollients reduce water loss from outer layer of your skin by covering it with a protective film. This keeps the water in the skin where it is needed and also helps to keep infections and other harsh substances out. Emollients are very safe and you cannot overuse them.

Your doctor or nurse may suggest that you wear compression hosiery or bandages to help the circulation in your legs. If varicose eczema is left untreated, the skin can break down, resulting in an ulcer. This requires treatment with special dressings and nursing care. Surgery may also be suggested as part of the treatment regime.

My two-month old daughter was born with a birthmark on the back of her neck. I have been told that it is a stork mark. Will this eventually disappear?

Stork marks are extremely common and are flat, pink areas that often occur between the eyebrows, or on the back of the neck. They are caused by a collection of tiny blood vessels under the skin, and are sometimes more noticeable when a baby cries.

Stork marks fade quickly and usually disappear within a few months. They are superficial blemishes and therefore do not require any treatment.