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International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology

REDNESS

Redness of skin, scientifically called erythema, is caused by increased blood flow in the uppermost parts of the cutaneous blood vessels. It may represent heat or swelling, but that is not always the case.  There are various reasons that may lead to redness.  Most commonly, redness is caused by inflammation, which may occur following  stings and bites or bacterial infection.

Redness, itself, is most often a sign of an underlying cause. Therefore, diagnostic studies by a dermatologist are useful. Treatment is linked to the underlying cause. Antibiotics are clearly the first option in case of bacterial infection, whereas topical steroids are often used in case of acute non-infectious dermatitis, such as atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis.

Redness may also be induced by climatic factors, such as sun and wind. People with fair skin typew, who live in the costal areas, can develop a redness of the cheeks which is indeed the consequence of enlargement of fine capillary blood vessels.

Uwe Wollina, MD
Dresden, Germany