Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rosacea May be Caused by Bacteria in Mites

Rosacea is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder that can cause redness and bumps on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead. It can be annoying, embarrassing and even painful, and new research shows it could be the result of bacteria that resides in the belly of a mite.

For many years, doctors have known that rosacea was caused by tiny mites that live in the facial hair follicles; however, they did not understand how the mites caused symptoms of rosacea.

Researchers at the National University of Ireland recently conducted a review and found that a bacterium isolated inside the mites, called Bacillus oleronius, may be responsible for the skin disorder.

“The bacteria live in the digestive tracts of Demodex mites found on the face, in a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a researcher with the National University of Ireland. “When the mites die, the bacteria are released and leak into the surrounding skin tissues, triggering tissue degradation and inflammation.”

The bacteria were found to produce chemicals that cause inflammation in people suffering from rosacea. Rosacea-sufferers also had higher rates of these mites than people who did not have rosacea, and thus were exposed to more bacteria.

“Once the numbers of mites increase, so does the number of bacteria, making rosacea more likely to occur,” said Kavanagh. “Targeting these bacteria may be a useful way of treating and preventing this condition.”

The findings from this recent study could lead to insights and new treatment ideas for this difficult skin disorder.

Often times, the inflammation and redness from rosacea cause significant problems for patients, both in terms of appearance and pain. This skin problem typically affects 3 percent of Americans. Individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 with fair skin who blush easily are believed to be at a greater risk, while those with impaired immune systems are also disproportionately affected.

The primary symptoms of rosacea include frequent flushing or blushing, persistent facial redness, bumps and pimples, visible blood vessels, eye irritation, swelling and skin thickening.

While there is no cure for rosacea, medical therapy is available to control or reverse its symptoms. If you think you may be suffering from rosacea, call to make an appointment with Greenville Dermatology today at (864) 242-5872.

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