A Moment of Science

Rosacea

You know how Santa Claus is always depicted with rosy red cheeks? We have a theory that Mr. Claus has the skin condition, rosacea.

Rosacea is a skin condition affecting about 14 million adults in the United States.

It begins as a redness of the cheeks, nose, chin, and/or forehead that may come and go. Because rosacea is common in people who blush or flush easily, and because the condition develops slowly over time, many who have the condition don’t realize it.

It varies from person to person, but over time, the redness can deepen and stay around longer. This redness is caused by dilation of the blood vessels in the face, and some of these blood vessels may become visible. Some people with rosacea also develop small red pimples and sometimes burning and itching of the eyes. If untreated, rosacea can eventually lead to disfiguring red bumps and enlargement of the nose and other parts of the face, as well as serious eye problems.

The cause is unknown, but sun, exercise, heat, stress, spicy foods, or alcohol can act as triggers of flare-ups.

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