Individuals with prominent neurologic symptoms might be considered a subset of rosacea, according to a report by Dr. Tiffany Scharschmidt and colleagues at the department of dermatology, University of California-San Francisco.1
In their study of 14 rosacea patients, the researchers found that a high percentage had neurologic (43 percent) or neuropsychiatric (50 percent) conditions such as headaches, depression, essential tremor and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Rosacea is likely to have many causes, they explained, such as contributions from dysfunction of blood vessels as well as the innate immune system — the body's own self-defense. Based on their clinical findings, they proposed that improper functioning in the nervous system may be comparably important in developing the symptoms of rosacea, and that the role of the nervous system may be a significant consideration for the optimal treatment of this disorder. Nerve dysregulation may contribute to rosacea via various mechanisms, they said, including the release of inflammatory chemical substances, vascular instability and nerve injury leading to symptoms of burning and stinging.
While these early findings are intriguing, this is a small sample size and points to the need for further study. They suggested that further research is needed to better define the underlying pathophysiologic characteristics.
Scharschmidt TC, Yost JM, Truong SV, et al. Neurogenic rosacea: a distinct clinical subtype requiring a modified approach to treatment. Arch Dermatol 2011;147:123-126.