Rosacea, a condition characterized by redness and discoloration of the face, affects 16 million Americans. Scientists researching the cause of rosacea suggest that a bacteria produces a protein, bradykinin, that causes blood vessels to dilate resulting in rosacea symptoms. These symptoms can include red, patchy areas on the face, small bumps or pustules on the nose, cheeks, forehead, and persistent flushing/facial redness.
Some scientists believe sun exposure that leads to the dilation of blood vessels can cause the facial redness, especially because the sun degrades collagen and damages the skin's elasticity. Genetics may also contribute to the development of rosacea. Although there isn't a particular gene that can cause it, it's been known to run in families.
Other external factors that may cause rosacea is the demodex folliculorum or a tiny mite found on human skin. Researchers found a higher number of these mites on skin affected by rosacea than the skin of a healthy person. Additionally, environmental toxins such as caffeine-containing drinks, alcohol, steroid creams, and vitamin B supplements can affect the prevalence of rosacea. Certain triggers that may exacerbate the condition include exposure to sunlight, stress, exposure to heat or harsh weather, dairy products, spicy food, flu, fever, or cold.
Photo courtesy of Michiana Family Magazine