WELLNESS
08/30/2012 07:16 pm ET

Bacteria From Mites Might Be Responsible For Rosacea, Study Suggests

Bacteria that comes from within mites living on your face might be responsible for the skin condition rosacea, new research suggests.

A review of studies in the Journal of Medical Microbiology shows a link between rosacea -- a condition where the skin is inflamed and becomes reddened, sometimes causing sores -- and the bacteria that is inside the Demodex folliculorum species of mites, which live in the pockets of skin that surround facial hair follicles.

While many people have these mites on their face, past research has suggested that people with rosacea might have more of these mites on their faces than others. Aging and skin damage are also factors known to increase the number of these mites on people's faces, the researchers said.

A bacteria that lives inside of these mites, called Bacillus oleronius, is released when these mites die. This bacteria then goes onto the skin of the human. The researchers found that for people with rosacea, this bacteria triggers an immune reaction.

"Once the numbers of mites increase, so does the number of bacteria, making rosacea more likely to occur," study researcher Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, of the National University of Ireland, said in a statement. "Targeting these bacteria may be a useful way of treating and preventing this condition."

The study also shows that a possible treatment for rosacea may lie in reducing the number of these mites that live on the face, so as to decrease the amount of bacteria that is then released onto the skin, the researchers said.

The Mayo Clinic reported that right now, doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat rosacea, but more because they work as an anti-inflammatory than for their anti-bacterial purpose.

The researchers found that the bacteria from the mites is affected by antibiotics.

"These findings raise the possibility that rosacea is fundamentally a bacterial disease resulting from the over proliferation of Demodex mites living in skin damaged as a result of adverse weathering, age or the production of sebum with an altered fatty acid content," the researchers wrote in the study.

The cause of rosacea is not officially known, though it is known to be exacerbated by temperature, exercise, certain drugs, hot or spicy drinks or food, sunlight and stress, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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