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Rosacea is a long-term facial skin disorder, but a variety of treatments, cleansers, and moisturizers can help ease the symptoms.
Rosacea causes inflammatory lesions and thickening of the underlying connective tissue of the face.
In lighter skin, it causes redness, which may appear in lines or patterns. In darker skin, it also causes discoloration.
Patches of skin may feel dry, swollen, thick, or rough, and the face may feel warm and flushed. In some people, the symptoms also affect the eyes.
Doctors recommend that people with rosacea avoid triggers, which may include:
- hot drinks
- spicy food
- aerobic exercise
People with rosacea should cleanse and moisturize their skin daily. These habits can help ease and reduce the symptoms and may keep them from flaring up.
Sun protection is key, so rosacea care may also involve wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat, for example.
What a doctor prescribes depends largely on the specific changes and a person’s response to any earlier treatments.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently approves
|Metronidazole||This antibiotic is the first-line treatment for rosacea, often at concentrations of 0.75% or 1%. |
It may reduce oxidative stress, discoloration, and inflammation, and it comes as a lotion, cream, or gel.
The side effects, such as dryness, irritation, or itchiness, are typically mild.
A person may need metronidazole in combination with another medication.
|Azelaic acid||Azelaic acid is a common treatment for papulopustular rosacea, and it reduces discoloration by inhibiting the production of reactive oxygen species in immune cells.|
A person can apply a product containing this acid once or twice a day, but an
Typical side effects include mild, short-term burning, stinging, and irritation.
|Sulfacetamide 10% & sulfur 5%||Rinses containing these two ingredients are now sometimes second-line treatments for rosacea. |
Anyone with a sulfa allergy should not try this type of rinse. Also, many people find the odor unpleasant, and some experience localized irritation.
|Brimonidine 0.33%||Brimonidine constricts blood vessels on the skin’s surface, which can help with persistent rosacea. |
It may help reduce skin discoloration, which metronidazole and azelaic acid cannot do.
Some possible side effects include irritation, burning, dry skin, itchiness, and redness.
|Ivermectin 1%||In |
Doctors believe that ivermectin treats rosacea by easing inflammation, combating microbes, and particularly targeting Demodex mites, which may have increased populations in the skin of people with rosacea.
|Oxymetazoline hydrochloride 1%||This ingredient narrows the small blood vessels below the skin’s surface by interacting with |
The FDA approves it for the treatment of persistent redness.
Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:
- Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
- Ingredients: MNT chooses products that clearly list all ingredients.
- Skin concerns: Where appropriate, MNT selects products that target a specific skin concern, such as dryness, oiliness, or aging.
- Safety: MNT chooses products that contain ingredients safe for topical use.
- Reputable: MNT selects products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.
The following are some of the best skin care products for rosacea.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and was correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Prosacea is an over-the-counter (OTC) product that may help treat and control the color changes, pimples, bumps, and irritation associated with rosacea.
It contains a 10-fold dilution of sulfur and natural aloe, which may help soothe sensitive skin.
This is a homeopathic product, and although it contains only 1% sulfur, people with allergies or hypersensitivities to sulfur should not use it.
A 0.75-ounce (oz) tube is available to purchase online for around $17.
Non-irritating cleansers may help people with rosacea, as the condition can increase the skin’s sensitivity. In
During the 2-week trial, no significant increase in transepidermal water loss occurred, indicating that the product did not damage the skin’s barrier.
The cleanser contains:
- cetyl alcohol
- propylene glycol
- sodium lauryl sulfate
- stearyl alcohol
The researchers found that the product also reduced rosacea symptoms on the cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. No increases in rosacea symptoms occurred during the study.
A 20-fluid ounce (fl oz) bottle of Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is available to purchase online for around $17.
Era Organics markets its product as an anti-inflammatory cream for people with rosacea but says that it can also help with eczema, acne, dry skin, and sensitive skin.
This moisturizer contains aloe vera, methylsulfonylmethane, and other natural ingredients to soothe redness and irritation without causing side effects.
The company says that this cream can:
- reduce inflammation and irritation
- reduce itchiness
- reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes
- promote healing and recovery
A 2-oz pot of Soothe Natural Redness Relief Cream is available to purchase online for around $17.
This OTC product should help reduce facial flushing and provide relief from red, inflamed skin.
Its active ingredients include azelaic acid, tetrapeptide-14, oats, green tea, and white tea.
A 1 fl oz bottle costs around $95 and is available to purchase online.
This OTC product’s formulation aims to improve the skin’s texture and brighten its tone. It is an effective antioxidant and may reduce the appearance of blemishes.
Its active ingredient is 10% azelaic acid.
A 30-milliliter bottle of The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is available to purchase online for around $10.
This formulation may help reduce the appearance of redness and calm the skin.
Its green-tinted mineral complex helps reduce discoloration, while licorice root and horse chestnut calm the skin, and vitamin E and pro-niacin smooth and heal it, the company says.
A 1-fl oz tube of Nia24 Rapid Redness Recovery is available to purchase online for around $25.
A person needs a prescription for the following products:
Metrolotion is the brand name of a 0.75% metronidazole cream. A 59-milliliter (ml) bottle costs around $750, and a generic version costs around $75. Medicare and private insurance plans may cover the cost.
This is an antibiotic cream, lotion, or gel that contains 0.75% metronidazole.
The branded form costs around $450, but generic forms cost around $30.
Metrogel contains 1% metronidazole, and it may be particularly effective at reducing the swelling associated with rosacea. A person may see results within
The retail price for this brand-name product is around $270. The generic version starts at around $65.
People who are younger than 18 or breastfeeding should not use it.
Finacea gel or foam
A doctor may prescribe these products for mild to moderate rosacea, and they can also treat acne. The active ingredient in each is 15% azelaic acid.
A person should only use these products on the skin’s surface.
The foam, specifically, may treat the bumps of mild to moderate rosacea. The side effects include burning, stinging, dryness, and redness.
The retail price of the brand-name version is around $400. The generic version starts at around $45.
When applied to the skin, Mirvaso can reduce rosacea’s redness for up to 12 hours. It does not cure or change the skin but it can relieve symptoms. The active ingredient is brimonidine 0.33%.
Anyone with hypersensitivity should check with a physician before using this product.
The brand-name version costs around $500. There is currently no generic version.
Soolantra cream contains 1% ivermectin and may reduce the appearance of bumps and blemishes associated with rosacea. However, it can cause burning and irritation.
The manufacturer’s website says that the cream may improve inflammation and facial sores in 2 weeks.
Soolantra is available to purchase online for around $550. The generic version starts from around $120.
Some types of rosacea require different or additional treatments.
People with papulopustular rosacea may need tetracycline antibiotics, such as doxycycline. Another oral medication that may be effective is isotretinoin (Accutane). Limited studies have demonstrated that it works better than doxycycline.
Doctors may also recommend laser or light-based therapies, particularly for people with phymatous rosacea.
These therapies may include pulsed dye laser, intense pulsed light, and near-infrared laser therapies to reduce discoloration. People with papulopustular lesions may not benefit from these treatments, however.
When rosacea affects the eyelids, dermatologists recommend increased lid hygiene, topical cyclosporine, and topical or systemic antibiotics.
If symptoms do not respond to OTC treatments, a dermatologist or another doctor may prescribe a stronger treatment.
The table below compares the nonprescription products that we describe earlier in the article.
|Type||Use||Key ingredient||Brand-name cost|
|Prosacea||OTC homeopathic gel||one daily application to reduce rosacea redness, irritation, and pimples||1% sulfur and aloe||around $17 for 0.75 oz|
|Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser||OTC cleanser||gentle, hydrating product that may reduce rosacea symptoms||glycerin, niacinamide, panthenol||around $17 for 20 fl oz|
|Soothe Natural Redness Relief Cream||OTC cream||may reduce inflammation and irritation, and promote healing||methylsulfonylmethane, chamomile, milk thistle||around $17 for 2 oz|
|RosaLieve||OTC anti-flushing serum||may reduce flushing and redness||azelaic acid, tetrapeptide-14, oats, green tea, and white tea||About $95|
|The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%||OTC serum||improves skin texture and brightens tone||10% azelaic acid||$10 for 30 ml|
|Nia24 Rapid Redness Recovery||OTC “color corrector”||reduces discoloration while calming the skin||green-tinted mineral complex, licorice root, horse chestnut, pro-niacin||About $39 for 1 fl oz|
This table compares the prescription products that we describe.
|Type||Use||Key ingredient||Brand name cost||Generic cost|
|Metrolotion||prescription antibiotic lotion|
twice daily to reduce rosacea lesions
|0.75% metronidazole||around $750||around $75|
|Metrolotion||prescription antibiotic cream||twice daily to reduce rosacea lesions||1% metronidazole||around $450||starting from around $30|
|Metrogel||prescription antibiotic gel||twice daily to reduce rosacea lesions||1% metronidazole||around $270||starting from around $65|
|Finacea Gel||prescription gel||twice daily for mild to moderate rosacea lesions||15% azelaic acid||around $400||starting from around $45|
|Finacea foam||prescription foam |
may also treat acne
|twice daily for mild to moderate rosacea lesions||15% azelaic acid||around $400||starting from around $45|
|Mirvaso||prescription gel||provides up to 12 hours of relief from rosacea redness||0.33% brimonidine||around $500||no generic option available|
|Soolantra||prescription cream||one daily application to reduce rosacea redness, sores, and blemishes||1% ivermectin||around $550||starting from around $120|
Rosacea generally worsens over time, and the National Rosacea Society recommends contacting a healthcare professional when the first symptoms arise. These include:
- redness on cheeks, nose, or forehead
- the appearance of tiny blood vessels on the face
- pimples or other bumps on the face
- eye irritation
Below, we look at some common questions about rosacea and its treatment.
Which products do dermatologists recommend for rosacea?
Dermatologists recommend identifying and avoiding triggers, protecting the skin from the sun, and using gentle cleansers and moisturizers.
Other rosacea treatments are typically symptom-specific, and a person should follow their doctor’s advice.
Is hyaluronic acid good for rosacea?
Though it is an acid, this is an excellent moisturizer. It may help because people with rosacea often find that their skin loses moisture.
Which skin care products are bad for rosacea?
Any product that can irritate the skin is generally considered unsuitable for people with rosacea. These include abrasives, peels, and astringents.
People with rosacea may require medicated creams or ointments, laser or light therapies, or oral antibiotics. In any case, having a regular, gentle skin care routine, limiting sun exposure, and avoiding other triggers is key.
Anyone with concerns about their skin should contact a healthcare professional.