Might Be Mites

rosacea mites

One theory on the cause of rosacea is mites.


Rosacea comes in a few forms, but mostly it is redness of the cheeks and nose, sometimes mistaken for acne, and is common in people of Celtic origin who have white skin and blue eyes. The theory goes that tiny (0.3mm long), eight-legged slug-looking beasties bury themselves into skin follicles on the face. They make a comfy little home for themselves, feeding on slough and debris from your body. Peeing, pooping, and mating, living their whole lives crawling over your skin….


Ever felt a twitch, a random tiny moving sensation on your face?


The theory goes that this sets the body’s immune system off, causing dilation of the tiny blood vessels close to the surface of your skin, hence the redness.


A recent meta-analysis (pooling the results of many studies in order to be more certain of the conclusions) gathered the results of twenty-three case-control studies including 1513 patients with rosacea. Roughly, the paper concluded that people with rosacea were nine times more likely to be infested with the mites. And the number of mites in the rosacea patients was significantly higher.


So mites cause rosacea right?


Not so fast.

Case-control studies take people with the problem you are looking at (the ‘case’ part) and compare them with very similar people without the problem (the ‘control’ part). If the two groups are similar enough, then any differences between the groups should tell you something about the problem (in this case, rosacea). This is called correlation. The presence and number of mites are higher in people with rosacea than without. This is not causation. The meta-analysis cannot tell us that the mites cause rosacea.


Further supporting the correlation is the fact that some rosacea treatments even target the mite itself (e.g. Ivermectin), yet, other equally effective treatments don’t. We even have a laser that does the job.


If you are suffering from excessive redness come and ask us how we can help.


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