If your skin has been very red and broken lately, but it doesn't seem like regular acne, you may have rosacea, a skin condition that usually occurs in the late 20s or early 30s and affects both women and men. It's most common in fair skinned people, and is often mistaken for sensitive skin. Rosacea's symptoms include broken capillaries, redness on the cheeks, nose and forehead, and acne-like lesions that don't clear with normal topical acne treatments. Like many skin ailments, rosacea is due in part to lifestyle influences. Stress, hormonal fluctuations and food can all cause flare-ups. Stay away from wine and excessively spicy foods, which can intensify the redness. Sun exposure, stress and temperature extremes will also exacerbate the condition, so wear sunscreen if you're going to be outdoors and try to eliminate excess stress from your life if possible.
While there is no cure for rosacea, its symptoms are easily treatable with a combination of topical creams and antibiotics. Topical antibiotics like Metro Gel (available by prescription) will keep the redness and acne-like blemishes under control, but more severe cases may require a course of tetracycline or laser treatment for very stubborn redness. A cauterizing needle can be used to destroy any broken capillaries, though the treatment isn't usually covered by insurance. It may seem like you have to make a number of lifestyle and skincare changes to deal with this condition, but take heart. Rosacea symptoms respond quickly to treatment and should clear up in about two weeks with consistent use of the medicine your doctor prescribes for you.