Rosacea is a common skin condition that affects an estimated 16 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Currently, there’s no known cure for rosacea. Researchers are still trying to determine the causes of the condition. They’re also working to identify better treatment strategies.
Read on to learn more about some of the new and experimental treatments that have been developed for rosacea. You can also get an update about breakthroughs in rosacea research.
In recent years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added to the list of medications approved to treat rosacea. Most recently, in 2017, it approved the use of oxymetazoline hydrochloride cream to treat persistent facial redness caused by rosacea.
The FDA has also approved other treatments for rosacea, including:
- azelaic acid
According to a 2018 review, studies suggest that certain antibiotics, beta-blockers, and laser or light therapy may also help relieve symptoms of rosacea.
Your recommended treatment approach will vary depending on the specific symptoms you have. Talk to your doctor to learn more about your treatment options.
Several experimental treatments for rosacea are being developed and tested.
For example, secukinumab is a medication that’s used to treat psoriasis, another skin condition. A clinical trial is currently underway to learn if it might be effective for treating rosacea, too.
Researchers are also studying the potential use of the drug timolol as a treatment for rosacea. Timolol is a type of beta-blocker that’s used to treat glaucoma.
There’s also ongoing research on new approaches to using laser or light therapy to manage rosacea.
For example, scientists in France and Finland are evaluating a new type of laser for treating rosacea. Investigators in the United States are studying a combination of light-sensitive chemicals and light therapy.
To learn more about experimental treatments for rosacea, talk to your doctor or visit ClinicalTrials.gov. Your doctor can help you learn about the potential benefits and risks of taking part in clinical trials.
Experts have traditionally classified rosacea into four subtypes:
- Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea involves flushing, persistent redness, and visible blood vessels or “spider veins” on the face.
- Papulopustular rosacea involves redness, swelling, and acne-like papules or pustules on the face.
- Phymatous rosacea involves thickened skin, enlarged pores, and bumps on the face.
- Ocular rosacea affects the eyes and eyelids, causing symptoms such as dryness, redness, and irritation.
However, in 2017 the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee reported that this classification system doesn’t reflect the latest research on rosacea. Using more up-to-date research, the committee developed new standards.
Many people don’t develop the traditional distinct subtypes of rosacea. Instead, people may experience symptoms of multiple subtypes at the same time. Their symptoms may also change over time.
For example, you may develop flushing or persistent redness as your first symptom of rosacea. Later, you may develop papules, pustules, thickened skin, or eye symptoms.
Instead of dividing rosacea into distinct subtypes, the updated standards focus on different features of the condition.
You may be diagnosed with rosacea if you develop persistent facial redness, thickened facial skin, or two or more of the following features:
- papules and pustules, often known as pimples
- dilated blood vessels, sometimes known as “spider veins”
- eye symptoms, such as redness and irritation
If you develop new symptoms of rosacea, let your doctor know. In some cases, they might recommend changes to your treatment plan.
According to recent research, several medical conditions may be more common in people with rosacea, compared to the general population.
A recent review conducted by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee found that if you have rosacea, you may be at increased risk of:
- high blood pressure
- high blood cholesterol
- coronary artery disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- gastrointestinal diseases, such as Celiac disease, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome
- neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or multiple sclerosis
- allergic conditions, such as food allergy or seasonal allergy
- certain types of cancer, such as thyroid cancer and basal cell skin cancer
More research is needed to confirm these potential links and understand the relationships between rosacea and other medical conditions.
Learning more about these connections might help researchers understand the underlying causes of rosacea and identify new treatments.
It might also help experts understand and manage the risk of other health conditions in people with rosacea.
If you’re concerned about your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other medical conditions, talk to your doctor. They can help you understand and manage the various risk factors that may make a difference.
More research is needed to understand how rosacea develops and identify the best strategies for managing it. Researchers continue to develop and test new treatment options. They’re also working to refine the methods used to diagnose, classify, and manage rosacea.