What Causes Rosacea?
Although the cause of rosacea remains unknown, researchers have now identified major elements of the disease process that may lead to significant advances in its treatment. Recent studies have shown that the facial redness is likely to be the start of an inflammatory continuum initiated by a combination of neurovascular dysregulation and the innate immune system. The role of the innate immune system in rosacea has been the focus of groundbreaking studies funded by the NRS, including the discovery of irregularities of key microbiological components known as cathelicidins. Further research has now demonstrated that a marked increase in mast cells, located at the interface between the nervous system and vascular system, is a common link in all major presentations of the disorder.
Beyond neurovascular and immune system factors, the presence of a microscopic mite called Demodex folliculorum has been considered as a potential contributor to rosacea. This mite is a normal inhabitant of human skin, but has been found to be substantially more abundant in the facial skin of rosacea patients. Researchers have also discovered that two genetic variants of the human genome may be associated with the disorder.
Other recent studies that have found associations between rosacea and increased risk for a growing number of potentially serious systemic diseases, suggesting that rosacea may be an outcome of systemic inflammation. Although causal relationships have not been determined, these have included cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disease, neurological and autoimmune diseases and certain cancers. Learn more about the potential causes of rosacea.