Are they a cause or simply a coincidence? Demodex mites have long been a conundrum for rosacea patients. Unlike other environmental triggers, they are unavoidable, as they are normal inhabitants of facial skin, but they do exist in greater numbers on the skin of individuals with rosacea.1,2
Researchers have long observed that microscopic mites that live as scavengers on normal human skin tend to occur in greater numbers on the faces of rosacea patients. It is unknown, however, whether the higher density of these microorganisms, known as Demodex, is a cause or a result of this widespread disease affecting 16 million Americans.
A small study in Russia recently examined the effects of different species of Demodex mites in rosacea. Researchers examined 212 patients in three groups: healthy controls, rosacea patients without mites, and rosacea patients with mites. They found that Demodex folliculorum mites were more commonly present in severe cases of papulopustular rosacea,while the other species that affects humans, Demodex brevis, was found to be more common on the skin of people with milder rosacea or healthy skin.
The National Rosacea Society has awarded funding for two new studies, in addition to continuing support for one ongoing study, as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea that may lead to improvements in its treatment, prevention or potential cure.
The ways in which disruptions and imbalances in the ecosystem of bacteria, Demodex mites and other microorganisms on the skin, known collectively as the skin microbiota, may be involved in the development of rosacea were discussed at the summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in New York.
As research continues to reveal the many ways the human microbiome may affect human health, the potential role of Demodex mites in rosacea has come into sharper focus with new technology and may point to new approaches in patient care, according to experts at a roundtable on the clinical implications of Demodex in rosacea.
Medical research has often pointed to the microscopic skin mite Demodex folliculorum as a potential factor in rosacea, specifically the bumps and pimples of subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea. Now the mite has surfaced again as a possible offender and therapeutic target for rosacea at this year's American Academy of Dermatology summer meeting.
The physical mechanisms behind flushing, the lifestyles of Demodex mites and proper skin care were among the rosacea-related topics covered at the recent 72nd annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in Denver.
A study in Mexico found further evidence of a potential relationship between a microscopic parasite and rosacea. Several studies have shown that Demodex mites, which are present on the facial skin of all humans, occur in much greater numbers on the faces of people with rosacea.
New information about the causes of eye irritation in rosacea and proper skin care were among the rosacea-related topics presented to dermatologists attending the recent 71st annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) in Miami Beach.