Do Rosacea Creams Work?

By | 30 January, 2014

rosacea skinRosacea can be a distressing condition for sufferers, as it can make a person very self conscious about their appearance.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for rosacea, but if you can determine what your triggers are then it is much easier to both control the symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse.

Sometimes, a topical treatment or medication is advisable. This should be obtained via a prescription from a medical professional, or from a qualified dermatologist.

Do Topical Treatments Work?

Many rosacea sufferers are reluctant to try topical treatments such as creams. This is frequently due to doubts over whether the treatments work, and there may also be concerns over the likelihood of unpleasant side effects. It is certainly true that some people find topical treatments to be ineffective. However, it is simply not accurate to say that topical creams do not work at all.

People with papulo pustular rosacea – which is characterized by facial flushing, red thread lines on the cheeks and small pimples – often respond very well to topical treatments. The problems lies with other forms of rosacea which are more difficult, but not entirely impossible, to treat with creams. This does not mean that rosacea creams should not be prescribed for non-papulopustular rosacea, but the results may be less successful.

stetoskop-docIt is also likely that the doctor will need to try different combinations and approaches for treatment, in order to fully combat the symptoms.

Once the rocasea symptoms are no longer evident, the doctor may advise that topical treatment is continued in order to limit the risk of further flare ups.

Topical Treatment Options For Rosacea Topical rosacea treatments such as cream or gels will normally need to be applied once or twice a day, following your usual cleansing routine.

The following are common forms of treatment. Topical Metronidazole – This is an antibiotic, which is applied in the form of a cream. Antibiotics are often highly successful as a rosacea treatment.

The reasons for this are not fully understand, as rosacea is not always caused by bacteria, but it is believed that it is due to the anti inflammatory effects of the antibiotics.

Common types of antibiotic cream are clindamycin and erythomysin.

  • rosacea creamBrimonidine – This cream, commonly prescribed under the name “Mirvaso”, constricts blood vessels in the face.
    This reduces the red flush which is commonly seen with rosacea. Brimonidine is frequently prescribed in conjunction with sodium sulfacetamide and sulfur, and azelaic acid.
  • Tretinoin – Tretinoin, which is a retinoid which is mostly known by the name “Retin-A”, is used in some cases of rosacea which have proved difficult to treat.
    This is often a last resort, due to a higher risk of side effects. Generally topical creams are safe, but a small number of users will experience increased skin irritation.
    Your doctor will also advise against this form of treatment if you are planning to become, or are already, pregnant.
  • Oral Antibiotics – Although many rosacea sufferers can be treated successfully using a combination of topical treatments, some people may need to try other methods of managing the symptoms.
    This is most likely if your rosacea is considered to be at the extreme end of the scale. In this instance, you are most likely to be prescribed antibiotic pills, such as metronidazole, doxycycline or minocycline.

A typical course of antibiotic treatment will last six months, and may trigger some minor side effects. In rare cases, neither oral or topical antibiotics are effective. As a last resort, a medication such as isotretinoin may be prescribed. However, many doctors prefer to avoid this as it is known to cause birth defects and other serious problems. Speak to your family doctor for more information about rosacea treatments.


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