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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes Rosacea?

    Related Topic

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    Dr Chris Jalilian

    Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

    That is the million-dollar question!

    There seems to be a very complex and abnormal interplay between the immune system, nerve endings and blood vessels of the face in patients with rosacea. There is no doubt that genetics also plays a role as rosacea is often seen to run in families. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a key trigger for rosacea, as are some foods including spicy foods, caffeine and hot drinks. Whilst alcohol can aggravate rosacea in some people, rosacea is not caused by excessive alcohol consumption as people once believed. Changes in temperature and emotional stress can also trigger rosacea. There also seems to be role of a mite called demodex which we all have living on our skin.  For some reason, patients with rosacea tend to have higher numbers of this common mite.  

    Recently, a chemical known as cathelicidin, has been found to be increased in rosacea skin and may explain why sunlight can trigger rosacea. It is thought that cathelicidin is stimulated by Vitamin D production in facial skin. So, whilst Vitamin D is essential for our general health, avoiding UV exposure to the face decreases Vitamin D production on facial skin and hence decreases cathelicidin production.

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