Bacteria from tiny mites living in the skin may be the cause of rosacea
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Bacteria from tiny mites living in the skin may be the cause of rosacea

Dublin : Ireland | Aug 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM PDT
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A new review finds may be triggered by bacteria from tiny mites dwelling in the skin

Rosacea a common chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects adults. It produces redness in your face, mostly around the cheeks, nose and chin. Rosacea signs and symptoms may flare up for a period of weeks to months, and then diminish before flaring up again. Rosacea does not have a cure; treatments can control the signs and symptoms.

View slideshow: Alternative Rosacea Treatments

Now scientists may be closer to establishing a definite cause for this skin condition that will allow more targeted, effective treatments to be developed for those who endure this condition.

A new review carried out by the National University of Ireland concludes that rosacea may be triggered by bacteria that live within tiny mites that reside in the skin.

Demodex folliculorum is the mite species that just may be the cause of rosacea. The mite described as worm like in shape and usually lives without harm in the pilosebaceous unit that surrounds the face. The pilosebaceous unit consists of the hair shaft, hair follicle, the sebaceous gland which makes sebum, and the erector pili muscle which causes the hair to stand up when it contracts. They normal live on the face and multiply with age and skin damage such as from sun light. These numbers of mites are higher in those with rosacea than in individuals without the condition. In the past this has suggested a possible role for mites in starting the condition.

Recently, the bacterium Bacillus oleronius was removed from inside a Demodex mite and was found to produce molecules provoking an immune reaction in rosacea patients, Studies have demonstrated patients with different types of rosacea react to the molecules produced by the bacterium that exposes it as a likely trigger for rosacea. This bacterium is also sensitive to the antibiotics which are used to treat the skin condition.

Dr. Kevin Kavangh, Head of Laboratory, National University of Ireland, and carried out this review had explained "The bacteria live in the digestive tracts of Demodex mites found on the face, in a mutually beneficial relationship. When the mites die, the bacteria are released and leak into surrounding skin tissues - triggering tissue degradation and inflammation."

"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," said Dr. Kavanagh. "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 people,” according to the news release from society of general microbiology.

This review is published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Even though the cause is unknown, you are more likely to develop this skin condition if; if you have fair skin, blush easily, you are female (men with the condition are more severely affected), you are in between the ages of 30 and 50.

Triggers vary from person to person. Other triggers include wind, hot baths; cold weather certain skin products and other factors.

Treatment includes antibiotics such as tetracycline, antibiotics applied to the skin such as metronidazole. Other medications like Accutane which is much like vitamin A are other alternatives.

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Treating bacteria frm mites
Test tubes filled with samples of bacteria to be tested are seen at the Health Protection Agency in north London March 9, 2011 (Suzanne Plunkett / REUTERS)
Debbie Nicholson is based in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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