Rosacea on TV: Do Warm Faces Cause Inflammation?

Posted: 05/28/2013

As part of the mission of the National Rosacea Society (NRS) to increase awareness, rosacea has been featured on television countless times over the years on local and national news programs as well as entertainment shows. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these historical video clips from our archives.

In this segment from July 2001, Action News Philadelphia reports on an NRS-funded study conducted at the Mayo Clinic, which found that the greater warmth of the facial skin of rosacea sufferers may play a role in triggering the unsightly bumps and pimples that are common signs of the disorder.

The study was conducted by Dr. Mark Dahl, who is now chairman of the Society's Medical Advisory Board, and Dr. Patrick Schlievert, professor of microbiology at the University of Minnesota. The researchers cultured samples of Staphylococcus bacteria from the pustules (pimples) of four untreated rosacea patients and the skin surface of four people without rosacea at both 86 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. They found that, while the bacteria grew at the same rate in both the lower and higher temperatures, at the higher temperature the samples produced larger amounts of proteins that could potentially cause papules, pustules and other inflammation.

In addition, some substances were secreted by the bacteria at the higher temperature but not at the lower one. This included a type of enzyme known as a lipase – a protein that acts to speed chemical reactions – that may break down oils on the skin surface, potentially leading to blemishes and inflammation. Moreover, while all the bacteria samples from rosacea patients produced lipase, half of the samples from people without rosacea did not.

Dr. Dahl offered several possible interpretations of these study results. Common bacteria may have a tendency to generate more of these irritating substances at the higher temperatures encountered on the faces of people with rosacea. Also, they may generate different harmful materials at these higher temperatures. The nature of these materials or the amounts produced could trigger the papules and pustules of subtype 2 rosacea. Dr. Dahl further noted that other bacteria might also behave differently on the warmer skin of rosacea patients.

More recent research announced earlier this year found that individuals with rosacea register greater nerve, blood vessel and sweating responses than people without the disorder when exposed to increased heat or stress. All the more reason to try to keep your cool.

Social Media Editor: Emma Terhaar

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The National Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people with rosacea by raising awareness, providing public health information and supporting medical research on this widespread but little-known disorder. The information the Society provides should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace

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