A Patient's Guide to Rosacea
Home About Rosacea Rosacea Treatment Rosacea Skin Care Articles & Videos Images of Rosacea
Rosacea Treatment:

Medical Treatment Options for Rosacea

Rosacea Treatment - Understand Your Options
In living with chronic conditions like rosacea, it's important that patients understand that lifestyle modification and treatment go hand in hand...

Topical Treatment

Topical treatments are generally considered to be the first line of treatment for most skin problems. As the skin only absorbs small amounts of medication through the skin, topical medication is much less likely to cause systemic (whole body) side-effects. Generally, any side-effects that arise from topical medications are restricted to the area of the skin that the medication was applied to. Rosacea is no exception to the rule, and in most cases, topical treatments will often be used to control mild rosacea to reduce symptoms like redness and flushing or pimples in those that show acne-like symptoms. Most topical treatments for rosacea are safe to use, and rarely cause serious complications. Some popular topical medications that are used include:

Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid is a common ingredient used to reduce pigmentation problems. In rosacea treatment, it is used mainly for its anti-inflammatory properties. Products such as Azelex® Cream and Finacea® Gel contain azelaic acid.

Sodium Sulfacetamide
Sodium sulfacetamide is an antibiotic that is more known for its use in treating acne and seborrheic dermatitis, but is also effective in treating rosacea due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Products such as Clarifoam EF® and Rosula® contain sodium sulfacetamide.

Topical Metronidazole
Metronidazole is a popular antibiotic that has been used since the early 80s by dermatologists to treat rosacea symptoms. MetroCream® and MetroGel® are some products that use metronidazole as an active to treat rosacea.


Oral antibiotics are a very common treatment used to control rosacea symptoms. Although antibiotics are typically used to control bacterial infections, when used as rosacea treatment, it is the anti-inflammatory properties that are important in reducing overall redness, pimples. It is particularly effective in treating symptoms that involve the eye area.
Improvement can usually be seen within the first two weeks, but may take up to a few months to take full effect. Often oral antibiotics are used in conjunction with topical medications.

Erythromycin is a popular antibiotic in treating acne and rosacea. Its anti-inflammatory properties are useful in reducing redness. Ethylsuccinate - EES and Estolate® - Ilosone® (not used for adults) are examples of oral antibiotics used in treating rosacea.

Minocycline is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is often used to treat rosacea. Minocin® and Dynacin® have minocycline as an active ingredient.

Doxycycline is a commonly used antibiotic in treating rosacea. Vibramycin®, Monodox®, and Theramycin Z® are some products that use doxycycline.

Tetracycline is one of the oldest antibiotics, and is most known for reducing deaths from cholera. In recent years, it is more commonly used in treating acne and rosacea. Many synthetic derivates from tetracycline, such as doxycycline, are called tetracycline antibiotics.


Oral isotretinoin, or more well known by its famous trade name Accutane® is a powerful retinoid or vitamin A analog well known for treating severe acne, but it can also be used to treat rosacea. It is a powerful drug capable of managing severe disease but it can also have powerful side-effects, and requires a physician to monitor your progress carefully. This drug cannot be used for pregnant people or those who are breast feeding as isotretinioin is teratogenic. In most cases, blood works is required to ensure the patient's safety.

Isotretinoin (Accutane) As Rosacea Treatment
Isotretinoin (Accutane®) is a retinoid or vitamin A analog, which means that its molecular structure is similar to Vitamin A. It was first approved in the US in 1982.

Isotretinoin - Side Effects And Treatment Of Side Effects
Most people have minor Isotretinoin (Accutane®) side-effects that disappear within 2 weeks after stopping the medication. Almost everybody gets dry lips.

Isotretinoin - Side Effects That Need Medical Monitoring By Your Physician
Certain Isotretinoin (Accutane®) side-effects will not be as apparent to you and will need to be monitored by your doctor during your acne treatment.

Surgical & Laser Treatment

Laser Treatment Of Telangiectasias - Flushed Face
The laser treatment of various vascular lesions utilizes the principle of selective thermolysis. The energy of the lasers is targeted at the vessels or at times more specifically at the contents of the vessels that comprise the lesion.

Treating Rhinophyma
Rhinophyma describes the growth of the nose in some patients with rosacea. It is an uncommon complication and if it occurs it is almost always a man.