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Homme et rosacée

Rosacea: Why does this skin condition affect women more than men?

Rosacea is a chronic dermatological condition that presents in various ways: redness, dilation of blood vessels, spots, irritated eyes... This disease is predominantly found in women and rarely affects men. Learn more about this subject.

Summary
Published February 13, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 3 min read
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What are the causes of rosacea?

Approximately 415 million people worldwide are affected by rosacea . This skin condition is characterised by several symptoms, the most common of which is a widespread and diffuse redness on the face, specifically on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, due to the high vascularisation of these areas. While rosacea can affect all skin tones, it is particularly noticeable on lighter skin.

Rosacea is a progressive and chronic dermatosis, and tends to operate in cycles. Individuals affected by this dermatological disorder thus see their symptoms manifest for several weeks before disappearing, then reappearing, sometimes more intensely. Over time, rosacea can progress, and, in addition to causing redness, it can lead to the appearance of red pus-filled bumps, a significant thickening of the skin, or even a damage to the eyes.

Research continues to determine the precise causes of this dermatological disorder. However, certain factors have been identified as potential triggers for rosacea flare-ups. These include genetic predisposition, parasitic colonisation, heat, sunlight, stress or certain foods which exacerbate the symptoms of this disease. These various elements, apart from heredity, act by activating nociceptive and inflammatory receptors present in the epidermis.

Why is rosacea predominantly affecting women?

It is true that rosacea affects women more than men. Indeed, it is estimated that it affects twice as many women as men. However, while numerous studies have observed this fact and there is a consensus on this matter, no explanation has been found to date. The biological mechanisms behind this difference have not yet been elucidated, even though rosacea is a highly studied disease. It can be hypothesised that hormones play a role in this female predisposition to rosacea, but this cannot be definitively stated.

Note : While women are more often affected by the redness and spots caused by vascular and papulopustular rosacea, men are more prone to hypertrophic rosacea, a specific form where the skin on the nose thickens, giving it an appearance referred to as "rhinophyma".

Sources

  • MEIER C. R. & al. A study on the epidemiology of rosacea in the U.K. The British Journal of Dermatology (2012).

  • THYSSEN J. P. & co. Incidence and Prevalence of Rosacea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The British Journal of Dermatology (2018).

  • VAN ZUUREN E. J. & co. Rosacea. The New England Journal of Medicine (2021).

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