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Q&A: What is rosacea and how can I treat it?

Rosacea is a skin condition that is characterized by redness and flushing in the face. The redness is most often on the cheeks, nose, or forehead. Those afflicted can develop what appears to be acne, including red bumps and pustules; this can later cause redness and swelling, and leave prominent blood vessels.

According to Rosacea.org—a nonprofit group dedicated to raising awareness, providing education, and promoting research of rosacea—as many as 14 million Americans are affected with this skin condition. There is some evidence that it can be genetic and it does tend to appear most frequently in those who are of Irish or English descent. Currently there is no cure for rosacea, though some patients respond to oral antibiotics and some topical creams. Adults with rosacea are instructed on how to deal with flare-ups and how to avoid factors that may exacerbate it, including sun exposure, spicy foods, alcohol, and irritating skin products.

But know this: Rosacea is most commonly found in adults, and it’s unusual to see it in babies and teens. A study published in the Archives of Dermatology says that rosacea is extremely rare in children. More often, infants will have either newborn rash or eczema—also known as atopic dermatitis. Eczema has a red appearance with dry patches. These dry patches can often become quite thickened and sometimes even ooze. Babies may be fussy as it can be itchy and they may try to scratch their face.

Check with your child’s doctor to determine whether rosacea truly is the culprit: He or she will provide daily skin care tips, and advice for your child’s specific skin ailment. (Learn more about other common infant skin issues here.)

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