Is rosacea an autoimmune disorder of the facial skin?
Under normal conditions, the immune system protects the human body from foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms. The immune system also plays an important role in clearing up skin inflammation. However, in certain inflammatory skin disorders such as rosacea, immune cells can do more harm than good. In rosacea, chronic facial flushing and inflammation cause the immune system to become over-reactive. The immune system sends gobs of normal immune cells into the facial skin. These normal immune cells then set up camp around facial blood vessels, releasing inflammatory substances that trigger dilation, weaken blood vessel walls, and cause inflammatory papules. It is important for rosacea sufferers and general physicians to understand that rosacea is not an auto-immune disease. The immune system does not produce antibodies or specifically ‘attack’ the facial skin cells or blood vessels. The average rosacea sufferer has a perfectly healthy immune system. I