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Facial erythema (facial redness), a clinical finding most noticeable in fair-skinned individuals, occurs as a result of cutaneous blood vessel dilation and increased blood flow to the skin. Although transient facial erythema is often observed as a normal, neurologically mediated response to strong emotion, exercise, or heat exposure, inflammation and a variety of medical conditions can lead to longer-lasting and symptomatic or cosmetically distressing facial erythema. Some of the most prevalent types of erythema include UV-induced erythema, erythema nodusum, photosensitivity, and erythema multiforme.

UV-induced erythema (Sunburn): When an individual develops a burn from ultraviolet radiation resulting in irritation of the skin, redness and inflammation. The is by far the most common type of erythema.

Erythema nodusum (Skin Inflammation): Tends to center around the fatty layers of the skin and is characterized by painful lumps usually on the front of the legs.

Photosensitivity (From Medication): When an individual is taking medication or has some type of infection that creates sensitivity to the sun and UV rays and results in redness or rash.

Erythema multiforme (Triggered by Inection): Include skin or mouth lesions that have a pink-red center surrounded by a pale ring border and an outer pink-red ring. The lesions can sometimes be painful or itchy.

There are many other less-common types of erythema as well.

Other types of erythema include: Erythema chronicum migrans, Erythema infectiosum (also known as fifth disease), Erythema toxicum, Erythema ab igne, Erythema induratum, Erythema elevatum diutinum, Palmar erythema, Erythema gyratum repens, and Keratolytic winter erythema.


The signs and symptoms vary for the different types of erythema.

  • UV-Induced Erythema
  • Red, stinging skin that is hot to the touch
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Irritation
  • Erythema Nodosum
  • Pain in the joints
  • Flu-like symptoms before the onset of the lesions, general fatigue
  • Arthritis pain
  • Nodule clusters and lesions on various parts of the body such as the trunk, forearms, shins, and thighs
  • Erythema Multiforme
  • Outbreak of bumps, lesions and red spots (usually suddenly) on palms, feet, hands, knees and elbows
  • Before lesions appear, an individual may experience itching, fever, and fatigue
  • Lesions that break out resemble targets (spots surrounded by rings of red)
  • Before lesions appear, an individual may experience itching, fever, and fatigue
  • The most acute forms of erythema multiforme are SJS and TEN (Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis respectively). Symptoms of SJS include target lesions on the lower half of the body plus fever, cough, and blisters that appear around the nostrils, mouth, eyes, and groin area. Symptoms of TEN are the same as SJS but continue into skin peeling and detachment, infection, loss of fluids and sometimes death.

Anyone of any age who spends a lot of time in the sun is at risk of developing erythema–especially UV-induced erythema. Men tend to develop erythema multiforme more frequently than women do, and women are at a higher risk of developing erythema nodosum than men are. People between the ages of 20 and 30 are also at a higher risk of developing erythema nodosum. All forms of erythema are at a greater risk of developing if an individual has a family history of the disease.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light, or photo rejuvenation, is a device that emits different wavelengths of light and therefore can treat a more broad range of skin issues. The IPL device was created to treat combinations of skin issues. The definition of an IPL can help you better understand why the IPL can best treat your combination of skin concerns. A series of four to six IPL treatments can significantly reduce facial redness. The device is scanned over the entire area. The skin is mildly more red for only a few hours. There is no break in the skin, no wound care required, and no need to change your regular daily schedule or activities. Regular treatments at varying intervals help maintain your results. The IPL treatments may remove some of the brown sun damage spots as well as the redness.




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