Over The Counter Rosacea Treatments

By | 10 November, 2014

rosaceaRosacea is a skin condition which has noticeable symptoms. It causes the face to appear reddened, and approximately a third of sufferers will also develop pustules or cysts.

People tend to be very aware of the detrimental impact this has on their appearance, so it can be very disheartening to learn that there is no cure. The good news, however, is that most rosacea sufferers do eventually learn to control their symptoms.

This does not mean that the condition will disappear altogether, but it does mean that their complexion is improved to the degree that most passersby would not guess that they have a skin condition. Avoiding lifestyle factors which are known to exacerbate rosacea is the first step, but most people will need to take the additional step of using a topical treatment.

Over The Counter Treatments For Rosacea

The causes of rosacea are poorly understood and can vary from person to person. Therefore, the right treatment can also vary from person to person and it takes time and commitment to figure out what approach works best for your condition.dermatologist

Over the counter rosacea treatments can either be oral or topical. These should only be used for inflammatory forms of the condition, such as papulopustular rosacea. Rosacea which manifests purely as facial flushing and thread veins is unlikely to respond to this type of treatment, and may need more serious medical intervention such as laser therapy.

The topical treatments, such as creams and gels, which can be purchased over the counter have similar active ingredients to those which can be prescribed by a doctor or a dermatologist.

However, the concentration of these ingredients tends to be far lower and therefore you may need to obtain a prescription for a stronger formulation if you are not seeing the results you want. These are some of the most common topical treatments.


Metronidazole Metronidazole can be purchased in either a gel or a cream form, and can be used for mild to moderate papulopustular rosacea. It should be applied twice a day and can take around six to nine months to start having a measurable effect.

Side effects are rare with this type of cream, although a small percentage of users will experience minor irritation. However, it can lower the skin’s natural protection against UVA and UVB, therefore you should take extra precaution when out in the sun.

Azelaic Acid

If, after several months, you have not noticed any noticeable improvement in the condition of your skin, you may wish to try a topical treatment based on azelaic acid instead. Like metronidazole, it can take a long period of continuous use before there is a measurable difference in the inflammation of the skin.

creamAzelaic acid should only be used after metronidazole has been shown to have little or no effect, because it has a much higher incidence of side effects.

Around one in three people will have discomfort immediately after applying the cream, and it can also cause longer term itching and dryness.

Always discontinue use of any treatment if you think you have had a severe reaction to an over the counter product, and seek medical advice.

When Over The Counter Treatments Have No Effect

Not everyone has a form of rosacea which responds well to over the counter treatments. If you are not seeing any improvements, or the creams you have tried seem to make the condition worse, make an appointment with your doctor.

Moderate to severe rosacea may require treatment with a course of antibiotics. Controlling rosacea symptoms is not easy. However, the majority of sufferers will eventually find a treatment which works well for them.


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