Rosacea is a chronic long term skin condition, which usually effects the facial area.
Despite being a very common condition, the underlying causes are poorly understood.
This means that prescribing an effective treatment can be tricky, and may involve some trial and error before the right prescription is found for the individual.
So far, pharmaceutical scientists have been unable to develop a permanent cure for rosacea. However, the symptoms – which include permanent redness and pustules – can usually be treated. Sufferers also need to be aware that the condition typically involves relapses.
This means that the rosacea can spontaneously go into remission or suddenly worsen after a period of apparent normality. Consequently, once a person is being treated for rosacea they may need to continue with the prescription in the long term, even if their symptoms seem to have disappeared.
The Best Rosacea Creams
There are a number of rosacea treatments currently available. Some of these are oral, but most are used topically.
How effectively the cream treats the rosacea will depend on the type of symptoms the person is experiencing.
Generally, topical medications are very good for treating inflammatory forms of rosacea where the patient is prone to pustules and papules.
However, creams tend to be less effective if the person has a vascular form (flushing and thread vein based). This type of rosacea requires alternative forms of treatment, such as laser therapies.
If a person has mild to moderate inflammatory rosacea, a doctor will normally try creams containing azelaic acid, sodium sulfacetamide-sulfur or metronidazole. If these prove to be ineffective for the patient then topical treatments may need to be combined with oral medications.
Azelaic Acid Based Creams
Azelaic acid is a common ingredient in rosacea creams. This needs to be applied twice a day, and must be used consistently for many weeks for the sufferer to notice an improvement in their rosacea.
The azelaic acid will help to reduce any swelling and redness, and will unblock the skin’s pores.
On average, one in three people using a cream containing azelaic acid will suffer a reaction.
These side effects are normally minor, such as a slight itching or stinging sensation, or dry skin. Any unpleasant sensations after applying the cream should subside very quickly.
Metronidazole Based Creams
Metraonidazole is another active ingredient which is used to treat inflammatory rosacea. It will help to reduce the appearance of any pustules and pimples, but like azelaic acid based creams it must be used for many months before the patient sees a noticeable improvement in their condition.
This rosacea cream causes enhanced sensitivity to UV light, so users should avoid sources of artificial UV light and always wear a sunscreen when leaving the house.
The Use Of Antibiotic Medications
Metronidazole and azelaic acid based creams are the most effective way to treat rosacea which is mild to moderate. However, more serious forms of the condition may necessitate the use of antibiotic medications. Although antibiotics are primarily used for killing bacteria, in the case rosacea they are used to lessen redness and inflammation.
As with other kinds of rosacea treatments, seeing any results can be a slow process.
It can be very disheartening for a patient to take medication for weeks and see little or no improvement, but it is very important to follow the advice of the doctor and continue with the treatment.
In the majority of cases, the patient will be able to see a difference in their skin after many months of using the prescribed medication.
However, it must be stressed that antibiotics cannot be used as a long term solution.
After there is a noticeable improvement in the skin, the doctor will start to wean the patient off the oral antibiotics over a period of two to three months.
Ideally, the patient will then continue their treatment using topical creams only to treat the rosacea.
If the pustules and pimples become severe again, the doctor may prescribe a low lose of doxycycline which will reduce the discomfort and scarring associated with the lesions. This will normally be prescribed alongside metronidazole.
Rosacea can knock a person’s confidence. But with the right treatment, a rosacea sufferer should notice a significant improvement in their condition.