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Rosacea is a skin disorder that can cause uncomfortable and noticable redness around the face and eyes. It causes blood vessels to show up and can also result in spots and acne. There are a 3 reliable treatments for rosacea that can be applied to the skin using simple rub-in gels.

Complete a short consultation with DrEd.com and one of our doctors can review your preferred rosacea treatment for you.

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Medication Pack Size Price
Mirvaso Gel 30g From £49
Metronidazole Gel 15g / 30g / 40g From £20
Finacea Gel 30g From £23

What are the different types of rosacea?

Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that affects around 2-10% of the population. This condition normally lasts throughout a person’s life and the severity of symptoms vary over time.

There are four different types of rosacea, each with slightly different symptoms to the other. It’s quite common for one person to have two or more types of rosacea at any one time.

The table below summarises the different types of rosacea and some common symptoms associated with them: 

Type of rosacea

Possible symptoms

Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR)
  • Flushing.
  • Constant redness in the centre of the face.
  • Spider veins (larger veins that appear close to the suface of the skin, giving the impression of a spider web).
Papulopustular (acne) rosacea
  • Constant redness in the centre of the face.
  • Papules (small red bumps on the skin).
  • Pustules (small red bumps on the skin that are filled with pus).
Phymatous rosacea
  • Thickening of the skin.
  • Irregular nodules (growths) on the skin.
  • If left untreated – may result in rhinophyma (a layer of thickened, irregular skin, mostly on the nose).
Ocular rosacea
  • Inflammation of different parts of the eyelids.

Over time, a person with rosacea may notice that their symptoms vary whilst some may even find that their rosacea changes from one subtype to another.

What causes rosacea symptoms?

Currently, the exact causes of rosacea are poorly understood. The most recent studies have found that a person’s genes, immune system, and workings of the blood vessels affect whether or not they have rosacea. However, how exactly these factors result in a person having rosacea is still unknown.

Rosacea may be made worse by “triggers”, which are different from person to person. Some of the common ones are:

  • Environment:

    • Hot baths.

    • Saunas.

    • Hot weather.

    • Cold weather.

    • Sunlight.

    • Wind.

  • Chemicals:

    • Skin products.

    • Topical steroids.

    • Blood pressure medicines.

    • Some painkillers (like triptans).

  • Stress:Vigorous exercise.

    • Anxiety.

    • Sudden changes in emotions – such as feeling embarrassed.

  • Diet:

    • Alcohol.

    • Spicy food.

    • Hot food.

    • Drinks.

  • Medical conditions:

    • Menopause.

    • Chronic cough.

    • Caffeine withdrawal.

Unfortunately, while exercise is essential to a balanced lifestyle, it tends to make rosacea worse. There are some things that you can do to minimise the effect of exercise on rosacea. For instance, you can split one long workout into a few shorter segments. Furthermore, you can avoid exercising outdoors in hot weather, using a fan when exercising indoors, and putting a cool cloth on your face straight after a workout.

It might be helpful to think that the things that make your face flush often also make your rosacea worse. You can keep a diary to help you figure out which of the common triggers affect your rosacea.

How do you treat rosacea?

There are different treatments available for people with rosacea, most of them depend on the symptoms that you have.

There are different ointments that you can put directly on the skin as well as medicines that you can take by mouth. These help with the appearance of redness or acne. Additionally, spider veins can be treated by laser and other light-based therapies.

We offer three different types of treatment for rosacea, which are discussed on the table below:

Treatment name

How it works

Effectiveness

Side effects

When not to use it

Mirvaso (brimonidine gel). Stops redness of the face by reducing the size of blood vessels. Most patients report significant improvement.
  • Worsening symptoms (up to 9%).
  • Skin irritation (3%).
  • Itching (2%).
  • Side effects get better with continued use.
  • Do not use if allergic to brimonidine tartare.
  • May react with blood pressure medicines and MAOIs (a type of antidepressants)
Finacea (azelaic acid). Reduces the appearance of acne through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Most patients report improvements to acne as well as redness.
  • Stinging.
  • Tingling.
  • Burning.
  • These should improve after one to two weeks.

Using ISOtreitonin with Finacea may increase the risk of skin irritation.

Metronidazole. Reduces the appearance of acne by killing bacteria which causes acne. Most patients report improvements to acne.

Skin irritation which improves after one to two weeks.

Tell your doctor before using metronidazole if you are taking other medicines, especially Antabuse and blood thinners.

Can you treat rosacea naturally or with diet?

Yes, you can. Because rosacea is an inflammatory condition, adding anti-inflammatory foods in your diet can help naturally reduce the severity of rosacea.

Examples of these foods include:

  • Cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower).

  • Turmeric.

  • Ginger

  • Green tea.

You can also aim to cut out processed, sugary, and fried foods from your diet.

Some people also find it helpful to treat their rosacea symptoms with natural treatments. You can make your own ointments for your face using the following ingredients:

  • Green tea – soaking a cloth in cooled green tea and applying it to your face may help with rosacea symptoms as it contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients.

  • Honey – applying honey to your face and letting it sit for 20-30 minutes before washing off helps soothe the skin as it helps retain moisture.

  • Aloe vera – applying aloe vera to your skin is said to help with its healing process, reducing irritation.

  • Cucumbers – placing cucumbers on the red areas of the face can have a cooling effect.

There is a large community online made up of people going through similar experiences. For some, these online communities and forums make up a significant part of living with rosacea as they offer a supportive environment as well as some tips that they have found effective to lessen the symptoms of their own rosacea. Everyone’s condition and symptoms are different, however, so it is important to remember that what works for one person may not work as effectively for you. Some examples of these rosacea forums are:

Can I use makeup for the redness in my face caused by rosacea?

Yes, you can. Many people use foundations, tinted moisturisers, concealers, and green colour correctors to neutralise the redness on their face that is caused by rosacea. Some also combine the use of treatment gels with makeup to reduce the appearance of redness and acne.

It is important to remember, however, that some skin products may increase the irritation on your skin. Before using any new makeup or products, apply a small amount to a patch on your face and let it sit for 48 hours to see if any new redness or irritation occurs.

Sources

Del Rosso, J. et al (2013). Consensus Recommendations From the American Acne & Rosacea Society on the Management of Rosacea, Part 2: A Status Report on Topical Agents. Cutis; 92: 277-284.

Holmes, A. D. and Steinhoff, M. (2016). Integrative concepts of rosacea pathophysiology, clinical presentations and new therapeutics. Experimental Dermatology; 1-9.

Johnson, A. W. and Johnson, S. M. (2015). The Role of Topical Brimonidine Tartrate Gel as a Novel Therapeutic Option for Persistent Facial Erythema Associated with Rosacea. Dermatology and Therapy; 5(3): 171-181.

Jones, D. (2009). Rosacea, Reactive Oxygen Species, and Azelaic Acid. Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology; 2(1): 26-30.

Layton, A. M. (2016). Pharmacologic treatments for rosacea. Clinics in Dermatology; 35(2): 207-212.

Spoendlin, J. et al (2013). Migraine, triptans, and the risk of developing rosacea: a population-based study within the United Kingdom. J Am Acad Dermatol, Sep; 69(3): 399-406. 

If you have a question about this service, please email info@dred.com with the question, and one of our doctors will get back to you within 24 hours.

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