Thursday, December 30

Reddened skin - Causes of reddened skin

Reddened skin - Causes
Reddened skin can be due to thin epidermal layer and lack of pigment as in the case of lips or can be due to conditions like Hemangioma.

Why the skin on the lips is reddened?

Lips appeared reddened because there are plenty of blood vessels in the area. Further the skin of the lip is very thin and made of three to five cellular layers whereas it is several layers in other areas. Due to thinness of epidermis in lips the deeper blood vessels give reddened appearance. Further lips have lesser melanin pigment cells.


In infants in the first weeks of life, in some instances, endothelial cells involute to form benign growths (swellings or tumors). These benign tumors of infancy are called hemangioma and they usually resolve by the age of ten years.

Hemangiomas have blood supply through circulatory system and when they are on the surface of the skin they appear as reddened ripe strawberry. Hemangiomas are more common in Caucasians and almost ten percent of the population have them. Further the incidence is three to four times more in female babies when compared to male babies.

The real cause of hemangioma is not known and it is presumed that increased levels of circulating estrogen after childbirth may be the stimulus. Mostly hemangiomas are uncomplicated and resolve by adolescence. However they may have a psychological impact on the sufferer, especially when they form on the face.

Rosacea and reddened skin

Rosacea is usually chronic and is characterised by reddened erythema of the face. Rosacea is a harmless cosmetic concern and to some extent can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicines. Like hemangioma, rosacea is also affects more women than men.

Rosacea is more common in fair people, especially Caucasians of North and Western European descent. The usual onset period of rosacea is between thirty to sixty years of age. Rosacea forming on the face spreads to forehead, nose and cheeks.

Rosacea can also affect to a lesser extent scalp, ears and chest. Certain conditions like extremes of temperatures, intake of spicy foods and some skin lotions can be triggers and avoiding these triggers and use of sunscreen and anti-inflammatory applications can alleviate the disorder.

Nevus flammeus

Port-wine stain (nevus flammeus) is a birthmark due to superficial and deeper capillaries getting dilated. Nevus flammeus produces reddened skin discoloration resembling port wine and hence called port-wine stain. Nevus flammeus is present at birth and usually persists throughout the life of the affected person.

Nevus flammeus are caused by the absence or deficiency of nerve supply in the affected regions causing the blood vessels to dilate and allowing blood to collect in the affected region. Nevus flammeus, over a period of time, become thickened and develop ridges and bumps and last for the life. Port-wine stains appear equally on men and women and about 0.3% of the population may be affected by them.

elangiectatic nevus

Telangiectatic nevus, also called as stork bite, salmon patch or angel's kiss, is birthmark having irregular shapes with pink or reddened coloration. This is a highly prevalent birthmark appearing on the forehead, eyelids, knees, on lips or back of neck. In telangiectatic nevus, the epidermis is not thickened and feels level with rest of the epidermis. Stork bite is due to dilation of blood vessels and resolves by itself as the child grows.

Acute urticaria and reddened skin

Hives or urticaria is a type of raised, itchy rash caused usually by allergic reactions.Urticaria may also be caused by viral infection, excess sunlight, extreme temperature, pressure or friction.

In many instances, urticaria is idiopathic and the reasons are unknown. Urticaria due to allergy usually resolves by about six months and idiopathic urticaria many become chronic.

Palmar erythema and reddened skin

Reddened palms, especially at hypothenar and thenar eminences is called Palmar erythema. Many diseases and disorders are associated with this condition and notable among them are high blood pressure, liver diseases, thyrotoxicosis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and psoriasis.

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