Rosacea is not curable, but it can be managed. Treatment goals are to control the condition and improve appearance. Treatment depends on the subtype of rosacea and the severity of symptoms. A combination of medications and lifestyle changes works best. As a result, your doctor may recommend more than one treatment, depending on your specific condition.
Most dermatologists believe that early treatment prevents rosacea from getting worse. Early treatment may prevent blood vessels from enlarging and rhinophyma (enlarged nose) from developing. Do not diagnose and treat yourself, since many over-the-counter treatments can make rosacea worse.
Treatment by subtype:
- 1—Topical creams or gels, or pulsed light or laser surgery to narrow blood vessels and reduce redness.
- 2—Topical creams and/or low-dose antibiotics to reduce inflammation and skin lesions. Pulsed light or laser may also be used.
- 3—Similar treatment as subtype 2. Other medications may be used to help inhibit thickening of the skin. Surgical or laser treatments may help reshape an enlarged nose.
- 4—Antibiotics or steroids (as eye drops, eyelash ointment, or by mouth) to reduce inflammation and relieve dryness.
Talk to your doctor if you think or know you are pregnant, of childbearing age, or are breastfeeding. Some drugs cannot be taken before, during, or after pregnancy. You may need to use birth control during the course of treatment. Openly discuss the risks and benefits of treatment options.
Lifestyle changes will be a part of your treatment plan. These changes include avoiding triggers, using sun protection, having a skin care routine, and using certain types of cosmetics.
Your healthcare team may be made up professionals who specialize in skin (dermatology) and eye (ophthalmology) diseases.
Rosacea treatment includes:
Management options for rosacea. National Rosacea Society website. Available at: https://www.rosacea.org/patients/managementoptions/index.php. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Rosacea. DermNet New Zealand website. Available at: https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/rosacea. Updated June 2014. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Rosacea. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116224/Rosacea. June 8, 2017. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Rosacea: Diagnosis and treatment. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/rosacea#treatment. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Rosacea: How is it treated? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/rosacea#tab-treatment. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 12/28/2015