Rosacea “may be caused by bacteria”

SkinThe skin condition rosacea is characterised by angry red acne-like marks across the central face, and depending on the severity of the condition, it can cause significant distress.

The cause of the condition has hitherto been something of a mystery, though factors which are known to make it worse include:

  • Extremes of temperature
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Severe sunburn
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Cold wind
  • Certain foods and drinks – for example caffeine, alcohol and spicy food

But now it seems American scientists may have made a breakthrough.

A new review published on 29th August in the Journal of Medical Microbiology suggests that a type of skin mite may be responsible for rosacea.

Demodex folliculorum mites are found on the skin of 20-80% of all people, but patients with rosacea have been found to have 10 times more mites living on them than people who don’t have the condition.

And scientists believe it is a bacteria inside these mites that causes rosacea.

Antibiotics have long been used to ease the condition, and it was thought that it was the anti-inflammatory properties of the antibiotics that were helping. However, the study suggests it may instead be that the antibiotics work by killing the Bacillus oleronius bacteria that live inside the digestive systems of the skin mites.

Scientists believe the mites release the bacteria when they die, directly onto the surface of the skin. This in turn causes an immune system reaction, which leads to a person exhibiting the symptoms of rosacea.

It is hoped that these findings may lead to better, more effective treatments for the condition.

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