Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cures for the red face?

And who wants a red face? I had a new patient in yesterday who specifically complained of a red nose, and indeed, the tip of her nose was red with tiny enlarged blood vessels visible on its surface (but only seen by me with reading glasses assist!).

Thanks again to TheDermBlog.com (and I highly recommend this site to you), I am able to bring you a little more info on the subject. One of the most common causes of a red face is rosacea, an inflammatory skin condition that often causes red cheeks and nose (and occasionally eyes), that gets redder yet with alcohol consumption, and responds to topical antibiotics like Metrogel. Sun damage also permanently dilates the superficial blood vessels in our skin, particularly visible in those with Type I sun-sensitive skin (as in fair, easily burned, often in red heads and persons of Northern European ancestry). Dr. Benabio notes on his blog that laser treatment can take away those enlarged capillaries at the skin surface.

I also see persons with acne succumb, as did I, to overscrub syndrome, using washcloths and various exfoliants in a vain attempt (in both senses of the word vain) to liberate the pores from pus and oil. I have been following Dr. Benabio's advice to wash the face less often, but it still goes against my basic impulse to scrub early, scrub often and dab with astringent in between.

He recommends anti-inflammatory, anti-redness skin products for the those who carry the red badge of sun damage/acne/rosacea front and center on their face. In particular, he mentioned Aveeno calming lotions with the herb feverfew. Aveeno apparently has gone to some trouble along with a host of phytochemists to remove the pesky parthenolide component of feverfew (which sensitizes the skin i.e. makes it redder) leaving behind its beneficial anti-inflammatory components. In particular, the parthenolide-depleted feverfew inhibits 5-lipoxygenase, a pro-inflammatory molecule that is the target of a new anti-arthritis medication working its way through clinical trials. Maybe feverfew should join the A-list of herbals that we smear on and swallow (it's supposedly good for migraine prevention as well) along with vitamin C and green tea.

Well, of all my skin troubles, redness is not one. Testimonials for Aveeno (and Eucerin) anti-redness creams abound on the internet. Let me know if you try it and like it!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've tried the Eucerin anti-redness lotion. It has a green hue and I felt like the wicked witch of the west. Some might argue I act like her, too. But the green look just doesn't suit me!

kenju said...

I use Metrogel. It was prescribed for 2x per day, but I can get by on one application every 2-3 days.

Cilicious said...

I have rosacea and use some sort of Metro stuff. The Eucerin stuff does not bother me but I have not noticed any improvement. I haven't seen the Aveeno stuff, would like to try it.

Reality Man said...

Report from the field

After seven days with Aveeno Ultra Calming, I can say:

1. I feel no calmer.
2. You can get it at Safeway, but you will have to look hard, and get ready for some sticker shock: it is not priced like Suave products.
3. It is certainly non-greasy and absorbs well, and I have no sympathy for the crybabies on the web who complain it is "only" SPF 15.
4. My nose and cheeks don't look markedly different, and it is way scary to look at them in the mirror from a distance of an inch or two.

Anonymous said...

You could look up the asian treatment for all this, i think it is better. They also attribute acne to adrenal imbalances.

femail doc said...

Anon: I guess they tint it green to counteract the red. That seems like cheating and, per you, doesn't even work!

KJ and Cil: Metrogel is certainly the standard of care. Tetracycline antibiotics also work, but who wants to take oral antibiotics on an ongoing basis?

RM: Is your face red? Wrinkled perhaps, but red? Close up face viewing at our age is scary, and have you checked out your teeth under light and magnification? Gah, as you would say. Interesting news out now about the lack of protection against melanoma from sun block. I'll forward you the info. Better to tan and wrinkle sans block apparently.

Anon: I looked for Asian treatments and red face and only found information on the "Asian Flush" (Asian background + alcohol use).

San Universe said...

Hi,
Your write up on red face and rosacea was indeed useful. Yes, the treatment of rosacea has been an issue many doctors have been debating for long now!

Anonymous said...

My summation after all the comments is that the condition exsists without alot of solutions. Sounds like most of the information is marketing Bull shit at best. save your money or give it to the needy for essentials. You will be happier indeed !

DIPESH said...

Doc,
Im 20 yrs old and hav a problem of red face.It becomes very red in bright sun......I have consulted many dermatologist but the problem is still there.Since i frm India i hav wheatish brown complexion n dis redness is easily seen.Even when i get a pimple i dont find d pus rather it becomes red.
Please advise me suitable medicine.
Awaiting your response.

Thanking you,
Dipesh

femail doc said...

Dipesh: It's always hard to diagnose skin conditions sight unseen. Perhaps you suffer from rosacea. Ask your doctor if topical creams such as Metronidazole would be appropriate for your situation.

John Mathew said...

I suffer with a red complexion when out in the sun or in various environments. which is the best facial redness masque