Best In-office Treatments for Rosacea
If you don’t already know, it may come as a disappointment to learn that there’s no cure for rosacea. Then again, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck with a red, bumpy face forever. There are plenty of treatments available and while none of them will ultimately “cure” your rosacea, they can greatly reduce your symptoms and minimize flare-ups. From prescription topicals to laser therapy, here are some of the best treatments for rosacea you’ll find in our dermatology offices.
Prescription topicals for rosacea
Prescription topicals are a popular choice for treating rosacea symptoms. Here are some of the most successful topicals.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved RHOFADE™ (oxymetazoline HCl cream 1%) after a study showed the cream provides significant improvement for facial redness associated with rosacea. It’s also very low-risk, with side effects like irritation and itching occurring only rarely. Even at that, Rhofade isn’t a cure-all, and you’ll still have to use other treatments to control rosacea flare-ups. If your dermatologist prescribes Rhofade for you, you can apply it once a day to your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin.
Unlike Rhofade, which primarily treats redness, azelaic acid treats the lesions, or pimples and bumps, associated with some forms of rosacea. When applied twice daily, it can reduce the size and number of lesions. Common brand names are Finacea and Azelex, though you can also find azelaic acid in smaller concentrations in some skin care products, as it’s helpful for reducing flaky skin and acne.
Sodium sulfacetamide is an antibiotic that comes in several different forms, including soap and lotion. It controls acne by killing bacteria on the skin, which also makes it useful for managing the lesions caused by rosacea. Your dermatologist will probably tell you to apply it twice daily to the affected area.
Metronidazole is another antibiotic that can be taken topically (or orally) to treat redness and pimples. MetroCream and MetroGel are common brand types. It’s usually applied twice daily.
Elidel (primecrolimus) is a topical cream used to treat eczema that can also reduce the inflammation associated with rosacea.
Aczone is another topical that isn’t specifically designed for rosacea but can help. Aczone was designed and studied for treating acne, so it works well in people who have a combination of the two conditions.
Oral antibiotics for rosacea
While we’re not sure exactly why antibiotics reduce rosacea symptoms, it’s probably because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline are oral antibiotics commonly used to treat rosacea. Another is metronidazole. Most dermatologists prescribe antibiotics only for severe cases of rosacea and try to wean patients off once their symptoms have died down.
Laser treatments for rosacea
Laser treatment disintegrates blood vessels close to the skin’s surface by targeting them with light and heat, which means it can reduce symptoms of rosacea like visible blood vessels, overall redness, and thickened skin. Most patients who receive laser treatment for visible blood vessels see a 50% to 75% rate of improvement. Certain types of lasers can also be used to correct the nose enlargement that sometimes occurs with rosacea.
But it’s important to remember that, like most treatments for rosacea, laser therapy isn’t a cure. It’s simply a way of managing symptoms. Your dermatologist will probably suggest three or four treatments, depending on the severity of your rosacea and the symptoms you’re receiving treatment for. Results can last for three to five years, after which time you may need to go in for another session. Since laser therapy doesn’t treat the bumps that occur with rosacea, you’ll probably need to take topical or oral medication along with your laser treatment.
Light therapy for rosacea
Light therapy can also be effective for reducing redness, bumps, swelling, and itching brought on by rosacea. Most people start with red light therapy, though several different wavelengths exist – amber, green, and blue – for treating different types of rosacea. Like laser treatment, light therapy works best when used in combination with topicals or antibiotics.
In the end, the best treatment for rosacea is simply the one that works for you. No two cases are the same, so you and your dermatologist may need to do a little experimenting before you hit on the right solution.
If you’re suffering from rosacea, make an appointment with one of our dermatology providers to devise a treatment plan using our advanced technology and cutting-edge lasers and lights. Call 844-DERM-DOC to schedule an appointment.