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What causes rosacea?

The cause of rosacea is unknown but there are several theories regarding the origin of overactive facial blood vessels and inflammation. There may be a genetic component. Hair follicle mites (Demodex folliculorum) may be involved in at least some cases, as these are found in greater numbers within rosacea papules. An increased incidence of rosacea has been reported in those who carry the stomach bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, but is not known how they may be related. Demodex folliculorum mites are much more frequent in rosacea patients then in control groups. Early vascular and connective tissue changes probably create a favourable setting for a secondary proliferation. Demodex folliculorum may represent an

important cofactor especially in papulopustular rosacea, in which a delayed hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, but it is not the cause of rosacea. On the other hand Demodex folliculorum is not detected in any rosacea patient and clearing rosacea signs after oral teracycline or sulfur ointment did not affect the resident demodex population.

There may be some relationship between rosacea and Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which causes an infection in the gastrointestinal tract, although studies are conflicting. It is unclear whether treatment for this bacteria improves the symptoms of rosacea. Flare-ups of rosacea are caused by triggers that stimulate the blood vessels in the face to dilate, which causes facial flushing. Common triggers are sun, exercise, hot weather, emotional stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and hot baths. Many people with this skin condition have a family history of rosacea.

Ultraviolet light plays a major role in rosacea development. It affects the dermal connective tissue as well as lymphatic and blood vessels and could contribute to passive vasodilation. Actinically affected skin is a consistent background of rosacea. Photodamage is common in fair-skinned rosacea patients.

Lymphedema is suspected to play a major role especially in the severe form of rhinophyma. A fibrotic dermatitis with many similarities with elephantiasis has been found in rhinophyma patients. Sometimes a chronic facial skin lymphoedema is recognized.

More information on rosacea

What is rosacea? - Rosacea, or acne rosacea, is a skin disorder leading to redness and pimples on the nose, forehead, cheekbones, and chin.
What are the symptoms of rosacea? - Symptoms of rosacea may first appear in the early twenties but often do not start till middle life. People with rosacea flush easily.
What causes rosacea? - The cause of rosacea is unknown. There may be a genetic factor. Demodex folliculorum may represent an important cofactor especially in papulopustular rosacea.
Can rosacea be cured? - Although there is no cure for rosacea, it can be treated and controlled. The goals of treatment are to control the condition and improve the appearance of the patient's skin.
What are the treatments for rosacea? - The goal of treatment for rosacea is to reduce or eliminate symptoms and stop the condition from getting worse. The most effective treatments are oral tetracycline and antibiotics.
Is it possible to prevent rosacea? - There is no way to prevent rosacea, but the symptoms can be reduced by recognizing these common triggers. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005