Rosacea is a common skin condition that affects millions of people, causing facial flushing, redness, and pimple-like spots. While laser treatments are often used to address rosacea symptoms, they may not be suitable for everyone. In this article, we will explore alternative treatments for rosacea, including topical gels and creams, as well as oral medications, providing valuable insights for individuals seeking effective solutions to manage their rosacea symptoms.

Understanding Rosacea and Its Symptoms

Rosacea typically manifests as flushing, broken capillaries, and red bumps on the face. It primarily affects the central area of the face, including the nose, cheeks, and forehead, and can sometimes extend to the neck, ears, and eyes. People with rosacea often have sensitive skin and may experience difficulty tolerating various cosmetic products and medications.

Common symptoms of rosacea include persistent flushing, burning or stinging sensations on the skin, rough and dry skin, red bumps similar to pimples, and dry, irritated eyes that may sting or feel gritty. Blurry vision and sensitivity to light can also occur in some cases.

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Causes of Rosacea

While the exact cause of rosacea remains unclear, researchers are investigating several theories. Abnormal immune function that contributes to inflammation, reactions to microorganisms living on the skin (like demodex mites), skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) light, and dysfunctional blood vessels, particularly small capillaries, are some of the leading factors being studied.

It is essential for individuals with rosacea to prioritize sun protection, as exposure to UV light can exacerbate symptoms.

Exploring Alternative Rosacea Treatments

Rosacea can be managed effectively with a variety of treatment options, and the choice of treatment depends on the specific symptoms experienced. In addition to laser treatments, other options for relieving and managing rosacea symptoms include topical gels and creams as well as oral medications.


Man applying cream to his face


Prescription Rosacea Gels and Creams

Rosacea can be treated with a variety of topical gels and creams that can be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. These medications can help reduce the redness, flushing, and acne associated with rosacea. Some research suggests that combining prescription gels and creams can have the best results.

a. Redness and Flushing Reduction

Commonly prescribed topical treatments for facial flushing include Mirvaso and Rhofade. To reduce blood flow, these products work by constricting the blood vessels in the body. While effective, both Mirvaso and Rhofade can be expensive, and insurance coverage may be necessary to access them.

b. Treatment of Rosacea Pimples

For individuals dealing with rosacea pimples, several creams can be helpful:

  • Metrogel (metronidazole): This antibiotic reduces skin inflammation and is available in cream, gel, or lotion form. It is often the initial prescription for rosacea therapy due to its affordability.
  • Azelex and Finacea (both azelaic acid): These creams also lower skin inflammation and the number of rosacea pimples. However, they can be costly and are not always covered by insurance.
  • Soolantra (ivermectin): This anti-parasite medication, when used as a cream, helps reduce inflammation and eliminate demodex mites. Like Azelex and Finacea, Soolantra can be expensive and is infrequently covered by insurance.
  • Sodium sulfacetamide/sulfur: This antibiotic comes in various strength creams, gels, and cleansers and effectively reduces skin inflammation.

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Over-the-Counter (OTC) Rosacea Gels and Creams

Several OTC creams and products can address different rosacea symptoms and promote overall skin health. When selecting OTC products, it is crucial to avoid those that may irritate the skin and worsen rosacea symptoms. Look for the following ingredients in your OTC rosacea creams:

  • Ceramides: Lipids that help maintain skin moisture and health.
  • Hyaluronic acid: A natural sugar in the skin that aids hydration.
  • Niacinamide: A form of vitamin B3 that reduces inflammation and redness.
  • Mineral sunscreens: Sunscreens containing only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Azelaic acid: An antiseptic found in both OTC and prescription options.
  • Sodium sulfacetamide/sulfur: An antibiotic present in both OTC and prescription products.

Oral Medications for Rosacea

For individuals with more severe rosacea symptoms, additional treatment may be necessary. Quick relief from symptoms is possible with the help of low-dose antibiotics like doxycycline (Oracea). Consult with a healthcare provider to determine if this approach is suitable for your condition.

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Lady with rosacea


Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes for Rosacea Management

To supplement their medical treatment, people with rosacea can also benefit from a number of tried-and-true home remedies and adjustments to their daily habits. These measures can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall skin health. However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before trying any new home remedies, as some may not be suitable for all individuals.

  • Sun Protection: Because sun exposure can aggravate rosacea symptoms, wearing protective clothing while outdoors should be a top priority. Even on overcast days, always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. When going outside, it’s important to wear protective clothing and a hat with a wide brim to avoid sun damage to the face.
  • Gentle Skincare Routine: Avoid further irritating the skin by opting for a gentle skincare routine. Cleansers and moisturizers formulated for sensitive skin should be mild and fragrance-free. Harsh scrubs and astringents should be avoided as they can make rosacea symptoms worse.
  • Avoid Triggers: Recognize and stay away from what sets off your symptoms. Spicy foods, hot drinks, alcohol, extreme temperatures, and stress are common causes of a reaction. Symptoms can be traced back to specific causes by keeping a journal.
  • Keep Skin Hydrated: Maintaining healthy skin begins with keeping it properly hydrated. Get plenty of fluids throughout the day to maintain internal skin moisture.
  • Temperature Control: Don’t let the house get too hot or too cold, and try not to let your skin feel either. During dry seasons, you can prevent skin from drying out by using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Some individuals find that adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can help manage rosacea symptoms. This diet typically includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while limiting processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats.
  • Stress Management: Some people experience rosacea flare-ups when they’re stressed. Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and even just having a hobby can all help you relax and feel better.

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Using IV Hydration Therapy

In recent years, IV therapy and peptides have gained popularity for their potential benefits in treating various health conditions, including rosacea. While these treatments are not the primary or conventional approach to managing rosacea, some individuals may find them to be valuable complementary options. IV therapy involves the administration of essential nutrients and vitamins directly into the bloodstream through an intravenous infusion. The treatment aims to provide the body with the necessary nutrients to support overall health and wellness. While IV therapy itself does not target rosacea directly, it can enhance the body’s immune system and overall well-being, which may indirectly contribute to managing rosacea symptoms. Peptides, on the other hand, are sub-molecular-sized protein molecules that are involved in a wide range of bodily functions. They have the potential to serve as signaling molecules, thereby affecting cellular activities and communication. Anti-inflammatory peptides have been the subject of study as a potential treatment for rosacea and other skin conditions. 

The redness and inflammation of rosacea can be treated with peptides that have anti-inflammatory properties. While preliminary research indicates that peptides may be effective in treating rosacea, more study is required to confirm these preliminary findings. Consult your physician or dermatologist before beginning intravenous therapy or peptide treatments for rosacea. After discussing the patient’s current condition, medical history, and desired outcomes with one of these specialists, the best treatment option for rosacea symptoms can be determined.

Rosacea Treatment

While laser treatments have proven effective for many, they may not be the best choice for those suffering from rosacea. Fortunately, there are many options for managing rosacea symptoms, such as prescription gels, over-the-counter products, creams, and oral medications. If you have rosacea, there are effective treatments that can bring you significant relief and help you keep your skin clear and healthy. Seek medical attention if you think you have rosacea so you can get a proper diagnosis and tailored recommendations for treatment.

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