Red skin condition rosacea could be caused by mite faeces in your pores
09:58 GMT, 31 August 2012
People who suffer from the chronic skin condition rosacea, may soon find long-term relief from their symptoms, as scientists in Ireland think they have pinpointed the cause.
Rosacea affects around one in 10 northern Europeans, especially fair-skinned females aged between 30 and 50. Cameron Diaz and Cynthia Nixon are just two celebrity sufferers.
The condition causes facial flushing with the blood vessels just under the skin swelling to create a spider-like appearance on the face. In severe cases skin lesions may form leading to disfigurement.
Cynthia Nixon, who starred in Sex and the City, has fronted an awareness campaign about rosacea, which she suffers from
Although usually painless it can cause self-consciousness and embarrassment among sufferers.
Now, researchers from the National University of Ireland have found evidence it could be triggered by bacteria living inside tiny mites that reside on our faces.
The species, called Demodex, has a worm like shape and usually lives harmlessly on our skin.
Bacteria living within demodex (seen in this magnified picture) could be causing rosacea
They eat facial oil known as sebum and are particularly attracted to hair follicles as well as the oily pores found on the nose, forehead and cheeks.
Review leader Kevin Kavanagh found people with rosacea have higher levels of the mite than those with normal skin. He discovered that the mites are unable to expel their own faeces so this is released onto the skin when they die and decompose.
Scientists said the bacterium
Bacillus oleronius appears to be triggering the immune reaction in
rosacea sufferers, causing inflammation.
June they found 80 per cent of people with rosacea had immune cells in
their blood that reacted to two proteins from B. Oleronius, which causes
inflammation. This was twice the proportion of those without the skin
rosacea antibiotics kill this bacteria but not the mite itself. Dr
Kavanagh suggests this could be why the drugs appears to work but only
on a temporary basis.
Dr Kavanagh said: 'Once the numbers of mites increase, so does the number of bacteria,
making rosacea more likely to occur. Targeting these bacteria may be a
useful way of treating and preventing this condition.
'Alternatively we could look at controlling the population of Demodex
mites in the face. Some pharmaceutical companies are already developing
therapies to do this, which represents a novel way of preventing and
reversing rosacea, which can be painful and embarrassing for many