THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Bacteria carried by tiny mites on the skin might be responsible for the common dermatological condition known as rosacea, researchers say.
If this theory does prove to be true, then new and better treatments for rosacea may be on the way, according to a review published online Aug. 30 in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.
One expert unconnected to the study said the findings are encouraging.
"[If] these mites exacerbate or harbor bacteria, that could change the therapies that are used to treat rosacea," reasoned Dr. Michele Green, a dermatologist with Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City. "This could revolutionize treatment."
Green noted that some pharmaceutical companies are already exploring treatments that could combat rosacea from this vantage point.
Rosacea affects some 3 percent of the population, mostly adults between the ages of 30 and 50 and more women than men.
No one is sure exactly what causes the condition but it manifests as reddening and inflammation of the skin around the cheeks, nose and chin.
Although rosacea is often successfully treated with antibiotics, no one has yet proven that the condition is caused by bacteria.
Experts believe that immune dysfunction, vascular problems and/or environmental factors, including nutrition, could contribute to the condition.
This review article, led by Dr. Kevin Kavanagh of the National University of Ireland, outlined evidence supporting the idea that bacteria living in the Demodex folliculorum mite, which is present on the skin of between 20 percent to 80 percent of healthy humans, may be responsible for rosacea. The mite is typically harmless and lives around the facial hair follicles.
However, the authors say research has shown that there are more Demodex mites residing on the skin of rosacea patients than in
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