Could Rosacea be Caused by Tiny Skin Mites?


Bad news for germaphobes everywhere – we’ve got some creepy crawly news that will make your skin tingle.

According to a recent study published by the Journal of Medical Microbiology, rosacea may be linked to bacteria carried by tiny mites that live in the sweat and oil glands on the face. 

While many people have these mites on their face, past research has suggested that people with rosacea – a condition where the skin is inflamed and becomes reddened, sometimes causing sores – might have more of these mites on their faces than others.

The mites carry a certain kind of bacteria in their digestive tracts and when they die, the bacteria spills out into the glands. For people who have a heavy infestation of these little bugs, that release can set off rosacea.

“In normal skin, the density of mites is low.  In rosacea there is a high density and therefore a large number of bacteria are released,” said the study’s lead author Kevin Kavanagh. “We believe that the high level of bacterial toxins overwhelms the immune response and leads to the inflammation.  It is interesting to note that [the mites] do not have an anus and therefore all their waste is stored until they die and then it is released in one go.”

While this all sounds pretty gross, there is a silver lining – hopefully, this research will lead to more effective treatments for rosacea. 

Until now, the treatments have involved antibiotics that only work temporarily because it is easy to pick up new mites from friends and family.  Once the patient stops using the antibiotics, any mites picked up from other sources will recreate the symptoms of rosacea.

But using this new information, researchers may be able to develop treatments to help the skin build an immunity to the mite’s excretions. 

Do you know anyone who suffers from rosacea?



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