DR MARTIN SCURR: Why a red, flushed face is more common as you age
I have a red, flushed complexion across my nose and cheeks, and have noticed this is a common condition, particularly as people get older. Is there any corrective action to treat it at home before going to see a specialist?
Norman Richards, Huddersfield.
What you describe is the common inflammatory skin disorder, rosacea, which affects the face, typically the nose and cheeks (although it can affect other areas, even the eyes). It is characterised by redness or flushing; often the skin also thickens and develops an irregular texture. In some cases it can trigger acne-like spots.
Because it is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, and usually gets worse over time, it may seem like it's more prevalent in older people - but, in fact, it can develop at any age and is even found in people in their 20s. Those with fair skin and blue eyes tend to be most at risk.
We don't really know what causes it: some experts believe it's due to abnormalities of the blood vessels in the face, with flushing caused by excess blood supply in the area.