Rosacea is a chronic condition that affects skin of your face. It’s not life-threatening, but it can be uncomfortable.
Rosacea can cause redness, pimples, pustules, or dilated blood vessels on your face. In some cases, skin on your nose or other parts of your face may thicken. Rosacea might also cause inflammation of your eyes or eyelids.
Getting treatment for rosacea may help relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Read on to learn more about your treatment options.
Topical treatments are applied directly to your skin. For example, they may be sold as a gel, cream, or lotion.
Several topical treatments are available to manage symptoms of rosacea. Depending on your specific symptoms, your doctor might recommend one or more of the following:
- azelaic acid
- oxymetazoline hydrochloride
Depending on your condition and the topical treatments that you use, it might take several weeks to notice improvement in your symptoms.
Topical treatments sometimes cause side effects, such as skin dryness or irritation. These side effects tend to be mild.
Your doctor can help you learn more about the potential benefits and risks of different topical treatments.
Ocular rosacea is a type of rosacea that affects the eyes. It can cause eye dryness and other symptoms.
If you have ocular rosacea, your doctor might encourage you to use “artificial tears” to relieve eye dryness. Artificial tears are lubricating eye drops that you can buy over the counter, without a prescription.
In severe cases, your doctor might prescribe cyclosporin drops. Cyclosporin is a type of immunosuppressant medication that may improve your eyes’ production of natural tears.
Cyclosporin drops may cause a temporary burning sensation or other side effects. Talk to your doctor to learn more about the potential benefits and risks of using them.
In more advanced cases, your doctor might prescribe one or more oral medications to treat rosacea.
To treat flushing or redness, your doctor might prescribe an oral medication that constricts blood vessels, such as:
If you have a lot of pimples or pustules caused by rosacea, your doctor might prescribe an oral antibiotic, such as:
In some cases, they might prescribe a medication known as oral isotretinoin. However, this medication can cause serious side effects, including birth defects.
In general, your risk of side effects tends to be higher when you use oral medications rather than topical treatments alone to manage rosacea.
That’s why your doctor will likely encourage you to try topical treatments before they prescribe oral medications for rosacea.
Light therapy is also known as phototherapy. It involves the use of lasers or other light-emitting tools to treat skin conditions.
Laser therapy and intense pulsed light therapy may help reduce redness caused by rosacea. They may also help reduce the appearance of dilated blood vessels, which are sometimes known as spider veins.
If you have rosacea, certain triggers might cause your symptoms to get worse. For example, potential triggers include:
- sunlight exposure
- hot, cold, or windy weather conditions
- certain types of foods, such as spicy foods and those containing the compound cinnamaldehyde (including tomatoes and citrus fruits)
- certain types of drinks, such as alcoholic or hot beverages
- certain types of skin care products
Pay close attention to your symptoms and any triggers that might make them worse. After identifying a potential trigger, try to limit or avoid it.
For example, to limit sunlight exposure, aim to stay indoors or in shaded areas during the sunniest parts of the day. Wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outside.
It’s also important to develop a gentle skin care routine. Use a mild facial cleanser and moisturizer to help reduce irritation and minimize symptoms.
Some medications and supplements may make your rosacea symptoms worse. These include:
- calcium channel blockers
- niacin (vitamin B3) supplements
- nicotinic acid
If you take any of these medications or supplements and you think they might be making your rosacea symptoms worse, let your doctor know.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend changes to your medication or supplement regimen. In other cases, they might advise you to continue with your treatment plan as usual.
Your doctor can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of making a change to any medications or supplements you take.
Many treatments are available for the various symptoms of rosacea.
Depending on your specific symptoms, your doctor might encourage you to try one or more topical treatments, eye drops, oral medications, or light therapy.
It’s also important to avoid triggers that worsen your symptoms and take good care of your skin, using gentle skin care products.