What do Bill Clinton and Sir Alex Ferguson have in common?


The answer: rosacea, a ruddy complexion that in some cases can mistakenly be attributed to a problem with alcohol.

This is only one of the challenges facing those with the debilitating skin condition rosacea.

Many have never heard of it and assume their red face and flushing is merely a sign of ageing.


While there are undoubtedly more sufferers over the age of 40, there are still others in their early 20s or 30s who have not been diagnosed  – surprising given that it affects one in ten of those in the UK.

Rosacea can be treated effectively in most people. However, there are no quick fixes, and if it cannot be cured it is vital to find a way to keep it under control.


Signs include

. Facial redness, most commonly covering the nose and cheeks.

  • Acne-like spots.
  • Red flash on face (butterfly shape over nose and cheeks)
  • Broken veins on nose and cheeks.
  • Swollen and tender skin.
  • Extreme sensitivity to temperature changes.
  • Flushing and blushing.
  • Many factors may set off rosacea, including foods. Keeping a diary should help you pinpoint them.
  • Leaving rosacea undiagnosed may lead to worsening of the symptoms. More complicated problems include enlargement of the nose (rare) and severe broken veins or permanent redness. Having a red face can feel painful, sore, inflamed, swollen and tender and leave the skin feeling so sensitive it cannot tolerate water.
  • Nearly 75 per cent of sufferers reported that stress alone was responsible for flare-ups. L Extremes of temperature, are a key trigger. Cold weather leaves the skin feeling extremely tingly, as does wind for those with rosacea.
  • Spicy food can trigger a flush response.
  • Alcohol can exacerbate symptoms so badly that many with rosacea will avoid drinking alcohol in public.
  • Caffeine is not a trigger. But the heat from a hot drink may irritate the skin and set off symptoms.
  • 44 per cent blamed foods, including tomatoes, cheese (except cottage), spinach, yogurt, plums, raisins, vinegar, yeast-containing foods, chocolate and marinated foods.

For more severe cases, oral medicine or photodynamic therapy is occasionally required. Medical treatment and supervision is the best approach to treating rosacea.People who’ve always taken their good skin for granted perhaps can’t quite imagine what it’s like to wake up every day feeling flawed and not fit to face the world without a layer of disguising foundation. Psychodermatologists agree that the extent of a disease – whether acne, rosacea, vitiligo or psoriasis – is irrelevant to the impact it can have on self-esteem, self-confidence, relationships and one’s performance in the workplace. ‘Anything that involves the face,’ says Dr Bewley, ‘automatically has an effect on confidence. And if you talk to people who have arthritis, say, or a heart condition as well as a skin disorder, they will very often say that the latter causes them more unhappiness than the former.’ That’s why, he continues, ‘no good dermatologist should ever underestimate its psychological impact.’