Although rosacea can't be cured, treatment can help keep the symptoms under control.
Long-term treatment is usually necessary, although there may be periods where your symptoms improve and you can stop treatment temporarily.
Treatment choices depend onwhich type of symptom is most troublesome, but usually involves a combination ofself-help measures and medication, and areoutlined below.
You can also read a summary of the pros and cons of the treatments for rosacea , allowing you to compare your treatment options.
There are a number ofthings you can do yourself to help keep the symptoms of rosacea under control, including:
Read about self-help measures for rosacea .
If you haveround red bumps that rise from your skin (papules) and pus-filled swellings (pustules) caused by rosacea, there are a number of different medications that can be effective.
These can be divided into topical treatments that are applied to the skin, or oral treatments, which are taken by mouth.
Topical medications are usually prescribed first. These include:
Ivermectin is a relatively new medicine. There's some evidence to suggest it may be more effective and perhaps less irritating to the skin than metronidazole, although it's not currently available on the NHS everywhere and may only be recommended if the other treatments don't work.
You'll usually need to apply these topical treatments once or twice a day, taking care not to get them in your eyes or mouth. It may be several weeks before you notice any significant improvement in your symptoms.
Side effects of these treatments can include a burning or stinging sensation, itchiness and dry skin.
If your symptoms are more severe, an oral antibiotic medication may be recommended as these can help reduceinflammation of the skin.
Antibiotics often used to treat rosacea include tetracycline, oxytetracycline, doxycycline and erythromycin.
These medications are usually taken for four to six weeks, but longer courses may be necessary if the spots are persistent.
For example, a low-dose doxycycline capsule is available if oral antibiotics need to be taken long term.
Common side effects of these medications include:
Some of the medications used can alsomake your skin sensitive to sunlight and artificial sources of light, such as sun lamps and sunbeds.
As with the topical treatments mentioned above, these medications usually need to be takenonce or twice a day and you may not notice a significant improvement in your symptoms for several weeks.
Isotretinoin is a medicine often used to treat severe acne ,but at lower doses it's also occasionally used to treat rosacea.
As isotretinoin is a strong medication that can cause a range of side effects, it can only be prescribed by aspecialistin treating skin conditions (dermatologist) and not your GP.
Common side effects of isotretinoin include:
Isotretinion can also cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy.
Treatingfacial redness and flushing caused by rosaceais generally more difficult than treating papules and pustules caused by the condition.
But as well asthe self-help measures mentioned above, there are some medications that can help.
Brimonidine tartrate is a relatively new medication for facial redness caused by rosacea. It comes in the form of agel that's applied to the face once a day.
The medication works by restricting the widening (dilation) of the blood vessels in your face. Researchhas shown it can start to have an effect about 30 minutes after it's first used, and this can last for around 12 hours.
Common side effects ofbrimonidine tartrate include itchiness and a burning sensation where the gel is applied.
Less common side effects can include:
A rebound effect, where flushing becomes worse, has also been reported with this medication.
Alternatively, there are a number of oral medications that may help improve redness caused by rosacea.
It's not clear how effective these medications are at treating redness caused by rosacea, but they may sometimes be prescribed under the supervision of a dermatologist.
Redness and visible blood vessels (telangiectasia) can also sometimes be successfully improved with vascular laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment. These treatments may also improve flushing.
A referral to a dermatologist is usually required before having these treatments and they're not usually available on the NHS, so you may need to pay for them privately. Around two to four treatments may be needed, so the overall cost may be significant.
Laser and IPL machines produce narrow beams of light that are aimed at the visible blood vessels in the skin. The heat from the lasers damages the dilated veins and causes them to shrink so they're no longer visible, with minimal scarring or damage to thesurrounding area.
Laser treatment can cause pain, but most people don't need an anaesthetic. Side effects of laser treatment are usually mild and can include:
These side effects usually only last a few days and are rarely permanent.
In some people with rosacea the skin of the nose can become thickened. This is known asrhinophyma.
If you have severe rhinophyma, your GP may refer you to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon todiscussways the appearance of your skin can be improved.
A number of surgical treatments are available to remove any excess tissue and remodel the nose into a more pleasing shape.
This may be done with alaser, a scalpel or specially designed abrasive instruments using a technique called dermabrasion.
If rosaceais affecting your eyes (ocular rosacea), you may require further treatment.
For example, you may need to use lubricating eye drops or ointment if you have dry eyes, or oral antibiotics if you have blepharitis.
Ifinitial treatment isn'teffective or you develop any further problems with your eyes, you'll need to be referred to an eye specialist called an ophthalmologist for further assessment and treatment.
Treating dry eye syndrome
Read about rosacea, a common but poorly understood long-term (chronic) skin condition that mainly affects the face.
Read about the symptoms of rosacea, such as flushing, facial redness, visible blood vessels, and papules or pustules.
Read about the causes of rosacea. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, although a number of potential factors have been suggested.
Treatment for rosacea aims to help keep the symptoms under control. There's currently no known cure for rosacea.
Read about self-help measures for rosacea, including avoiding triggers, skincare techniques and eyelid hygiene.
If you have rosacea, there are a number of things you can do to help keep the condition under control. Avoid triggers. Many people with rosacea notice certain triggers make their symptoms worse.