Rosacea

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideRosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases

Rosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases

What is the treatment for rosacea?

There are many treatment choices for rosacea depending on the severity and extent of symptoms. Available medical treatments include antibacterial washes, topical creams, antibiotic pills, lasers, pulsed-light therapies, photodynamic therapy, and isotretinoin.

Mild rosacea may not necessarily require treatment if the individual is not bothered by the condition. More resistant situations may require a combination approach, using several of the treatments at the same time. A combination approach may include home care of washing with a prescription sulfa wash twice a day, applying an antibacterial cream morning and night, and taking an oral antibiotic for flares. A series of in-office laser, intense pulsed light, or photodynamic therapies may also be used in combination with the home regimen. It is advisable to seek a physician's care for the proper evaluation and treatment of rosacea.

What types of medications treat rosacea?

Topical medications

With the proper treatment, rosacea symptoms and signs can be fairly well controlled. Popular methods of treatment include topical (skin) medications applied by the patient once or twice a day. Topical antibiotic medication such as metronidazole (Metrogel) applied one to two times a day after cleansing may significantly improve rosacea. Azelaic acid (Finacea gel 15%) is another effective treatment for patients with rosacea. Both metronidazole and azelaic acid work to control the redness and bumps in rosacea.

Some patients elect combination therapies and notice an improvement by alternating metronidazole and azelaic acid: using one in the morning and one at night. Sodium sulfacetamide (Klaron lotion) is also known to help reduce inflammation. Other topical antibiotic creams include erythromycin and clindamycin (Cleocin). Topical ivermectin cream (Soolantra Cream, 1%) is also available.

Recently, a new topical prescription gel has become available designed to relieve the redness so characteristic of rosacea. Brimonidine gel (Mirvaso) applied once a day can produce a prolonged period of blanching of previously red skin in rosacea patients. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 5/2/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Del Rosso, James Q. "Advances in Understanding and Managing Rosacea: Part 1 & 2: Connecting the Dots Between Pathophysiological Mechanisms and Common Clinical Features of Rosacea With Emphasis on Vascular Changes and Facial Erythema." J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 5.3 Mar. 2012.

Margalit, Anatte, et al. "The Role of Altered Cutaneous Immune Responses in the Induction and Persistence of Rosacea." Journal of Dermatological Science 82 (2016): 3-8.

Two, Aimee M., and James Q. Del Rosso. "Kallikrein 5-Medicated Inflammation in Rosacea." The Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology 7.1 Jan. 2014: 20-25.

IMAGES:

1. Getty Images

2. Getty Images

3. iStock

4. Getty Images

5. Getty Images

6. iStock

7. By M. Sand, D. Sand, C. Thrandorf, V. Paech, P. Altmeyer, F. G. Bechara [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

8. iStock

9. iStock

10. iStock

11. iStock

12. Getty Images

13. iStock

14. iStock

15. Interactive Medical Media LLC.

16. Getty Images

17. Getty Images

18. Istock

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Rosacea - Effective Treatments

    What kinds of treatments have been effective for your rosacea?

    Post View 55 Comments
  • Rosacea - Symptoms

    What symptoms did you experience with rosacea?

    Post View 18 Comments
  • Rosacea - Share Your Experience

    How did the first signs of rosacea appear? Please share your experience.

    Post View 8 Comments
  • Rosacea - Triggers and Diet

    Have you noticed any triggers for your rosacea? Which foods do you avoid, and which foods help your skin?

    Post View 7 Comments
  • Rosacea - Natural Remedies

    Do you use any home or natural remedies for your rosacea? Please share tips.

    Post View 11 Comments
  • Rosacea - Skin Care

    Please provide tips and suggestions for taking care of rosacea and your sensitive skin.

    Post View 1 Comment

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors