Blemishes, especially facial skin blemishes, are usually not a physical health problem. However, their emotional impact can be profound. Even freckles (cute when you are young) can become a problem to one’s complexion after childhood has passed.
Common facial skin blemishes include moles, birthmarks, scars, acne and rosacea. A birthmark (nevus) is simply a mole—a brownish cluster of melanocytes — or a reddish cluster of small blood vessels. The blood vessel clusters often disappear shortly after birth, but they can also persist for a lifetime. Moles, being extremely common, usually become an accepted part of our appearance, but scars, especially facial scars, are more difficult to accept.
Macules, tiny flat spots of color on the skin, are often viewed as blemishes. But, like most skin marks, macules are a result of natural processes and cause no health concerns.
Spider veins or spider telangiectasia are small dilated blood vessels whose appearance resembles a spider web. They occur most frequently in women. Though their cause is uncertain, they may be caused by the hormone estrogen since spider veins often occur in pregnant women or women who take oral contraceptives or hormone treatments. Facial spider veins occur around the chin and nose and on the cheeks. They become irritated by too much sun and often cause itchiness.
Even though most facial skin blemishes are harmless, some are caused by disease. Melanocytes, embedded in our skin cells, produce melanin giving our skin its natural color. Sunlight increases melanin production. As a result our skin tans. If the melanocytes become cancerous we develop a melanoma–skin cancer. In Fabry Disease, a genetic disease, a lack of an enzyme required to metabolize lipids creates raised reddish-purple spots on the skin. Unusual, color-changing blemishes on any part of the body should be brought to the attention of your physician.
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