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.
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.