Although scientists have been speculating about the causes of rosacea for more than a century, none of the speculations have been proven. Most research scientists believe that the condition may be provoked by several different factors, some of which might work together to cause symptoms. Two current areas of research on rosacea include a vascular disorder and a microscopic mite as potential causes.
Research teams are studying the eyes of people who have rosacea to find ways to prevent dry eyes and other eye problems associated with the condition (called ocular rosacea).
Research scientists also are evaluating the most effective ways to use medications and the best methods to minimize scarring of the sebaceous glands when removing excess nasal tissue in rhinophyma (the enlargement and redness of the nose often associated with rosacea).
Although scientists have been speculating about rosacea causes for more than a century, none of them have been definitively proven. Most experts believe that rosacea can be provoked by several different factors, some of which may work together to cause the condition.
Research on Vascular Disorders
One theory is that there is an underlying vascular disorder that causes blood vessels in the face to expand and fluid to build up in the skin. The fluid then triggers an inflammatory response that manifests as facial pimples or excess tissue growth on the nose.
Several findings support this theory, which include:
- Rosacea research scientists detected structural abnormalities in the small blood vessels in the facial skin of patients with rosacea
- People with rosacea are more likely to suffer from migraines, which are also thought to be caused by a vascular disorder.
A vascular cause for rosacea might also explain why the condition is more common in older women, who are more likely to have swelling of the facial blood vessels as part of their menopausal "hot flashes."