Gel that stops you from getting a red face in middle age

A new gel could help banish the redness suffered by people with the skin condition.

The gel contains a drug widely used in eye drops to treat glaucoma, the disease that can cause blindness, which works by constricting blood vessels.

When used in the eye, the drug makes blood vessels shrink and reduces pressure that can cause vision problems.

It has been suggested that rosacea is triggered by a microscopic mite which usually lives harmlessly on the skin

It has been suggested that rosacea is triggered by a microscopic mite which usually lives harmlessly on the skin

Now researchers have reformulated it into a gel that can make blood vessels in the surface of skin contract, reducing the red and flushed appearance that many rosacea sufferers endure.

Around one in ten adults in the UK suffer from the condition, with twice as many women affected as men.

Although it used to be known as ‘middle-age acne’, the condition actually starts with frequent episodes of flushing, usually in fair-skinned people who are genetically susceptible to rapidly reddening skin.

It has been suggested that rosacea is triggered by a microscopic mite which usually lives harmlessly on the skin.

The mites have been found in higher numbers on people with rosacea, but there remains no proof that they actually cause it.

During flushing episodes, tiny blood vessels quickly dilate, allowing more blood to flow through.

Many people find the flushing is made worse by triggers ranging from spicy food, to stress, alcohol or cold weather

Many people find the flushing is made worse by triggers ranging from spicy food, to stress, alcohol or cold weather

They then relax and return to their normal diameter. But over time, they can become permanently dilated, allowing higher amounts of blood to flow near the skin’s surface. Many sufferers go on to develop spots, especially around the nose.

Eventually, flushing results in leakage of inflammatory cells out of the blood vessels and into the skin.

Theseinflammatory cells then migrate toward the surface of the skin, resulting in spots.

Many people find the flushing is made worse by triggers ranging from spicy food, to stress, alcohol or cold weather.

Mostexisting treatments for rosacea involve antibiotic creams and gels to control infections on the skin caused by the condition.

Lasertherapy can also make the blood vessels shrink, but it’s not available on the NHS and needs to be repeated after a few months.

Scientistsat the University of Louisville, Kentucky, used the new gel on 122 rosacea sufferers once or twice a day for four weeks.

Within 12 hours, there was an improvement in redness, according to results published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Dr Anthony Bewley, consultant dermatologist at Barts and the London Hospital, says: ‘At the moment, there are few good treatments for rosacea.

‘This gel seems to work on the redness people experience with the condition, which is very debilitating, but the research is at an early stage.’