Staphylococcus epidermidis: a possible role in the pustules of rosacea

Margot Whitfeld, Nishmi Gunasingam, Liang Joo Leow, Kyoko Shirato, Veronica Preda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Rosacea is a common skin and ocular disease. Cutaneous rosacea is characterized by facial flushing, telangiectasia, papules, and pustules. It is generally regarded as inflammatory in nature. We believed that the role of bacteria as a contributory factor in pustular and ocular rosacea needed to be revisited.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to ascertain whether there is an increase in the bacteria isolated from the (1) pustules of rosacea; and (2) eyelid margins of persons with cutaneous pustular rosacea.

METHODS: Bacterial swabs were taken and cultured from an incised rosacea pustule, the ipsilateral cheek skin, and the eyelid margin of 15 patients with pustular rosacea. Swabs were also taken from the cheek skin and ipsilateral eyelid margin of 15 matched control subjects.

RESULTS: A pure growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis was isolated from a pustule of 9 of 15 patients with pustular rosacea, and no pure growth of S epidermidis was isolated from their ipsilateral cheek skin. This was a highly statistically significant increase (P = .0003). A pure growth of S epidermidis was isolated from the eyelid margins of 4 of 15 patients with pustular rosacea, and no pure growth was isolated from the eyelids of age- and sex-matched control subjects. This was a statistically significant increase (P = .05).

LIMITATIONS: This study focuses on the microbial basis of rosacea.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest S epidermidis may play a role in pustular and ocular rosacea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-52
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Culture Media
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rosacea
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Staphylococcal Infections
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis
  • Young Adult
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


Dive into the research topics of 'Staphylococcus epidermidis: a possible role in the pustules of rosacea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this