Dr Bernadette Carr is here to answer your questions

Q. I am a woman in my 30s. I’ve noticed that the skin on my face gets very red at times particularly in the cold weather and after having a hot drink. Could this be rosacea and if so, what should I do?

Dr Bernadette Carr is here to answer your questions

A. Rosacea is a condition which causes the face to flush or become red on fair-skinned people affecting the forehead, cheeks, nose and often the chin. It can also cause spots, thickening of the skin and dry eyes. Symptoms are usually mild and not everyone will experience all the symptoms.

It is more common in women, but it tends to be more severe in men — an estimated one in ten people has the condition. Often occuring in the second half of life, it is known as a relapsing condition as there are periods when it will be severe and other periods when it will be mild.

Although there have been many suggestions, the exact cause of rosacea is unknown. A number of triggers have been identified and these include:

* Exposure to sunlight.

* The weather — hot or cold.

* Stress.

* Hot drinks.

* Alcohol and caffeine.

* Hot or spicy foods.

* Hot baths.

* Skin products and cosmetics particularly incorrect use of topical steroids.

* Exercise.

* Indoor heating.

I would advise you to make an appointment to visit your GP who can examine your skin and make a diagnosis. In the meantime here are some general suggestions to consider:

* Try to reduce your exposure to the triggers you have experienced.

* Reduce stress.

* Use a gentle non-abrasive cleanser on your face twice a day.

* Avoid alcohol-based products on your face and scented soaps.

* Avoid toners as they may irritate the skin.

* Reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine-based drinks.

When outdoors in the cold, wear a hat and cover your lower face with a scarf.

I am sure your GP will be able to advise on the most appropriate management.

Q. My five-year-old daughter is in junior infants. Her ears stick out a bit but she never mentioned it until recently when some children made comments. I am worried that she might be teased at school. Should she have her ears pinned back?

A. Prominent or protruding ears can affect 1% to 2% of people. It can be either unilateral (one ear) or bilateral (both ears). It happens when the cartilage in the ear does not develop or does not develop correctly before birth.

Ears should protrude at an angle from the head but this angle is greater if the cartilage has not developed properly. Prominent ears do not affect hearing.

The ears are the first part of the body to develop to adult size, so if they are already obvious, they will seem even more so in children with prominent ears.

Although there may be a tendency in some families towards prominent ears, this is not always the case.

In babies younger than six months, splints can be used to gently mould the ears. Depending on the age, they are worn for a few weeks or a few months.

Correction is by surgery (pinnaplasty) where a small amount of skin is removed, the cartilage is reshaped and the ear stitched into its new position. This is usually performed before school age thus preventing teasing and emotional problems.

I understand your concern for your daughter and your worry that this could cause her unhappiness or affect her self-confidence.

I would suggest making an appointment with your GP for your daughter who can examine her ears and reassure you both.

Your doctor can also discuss what is involved in surgery and advise if a referral to a consultant is appropriate.

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