Treatment for Rosacea

There is no cure for rosacea; however, treatment may minimize symptoms. When inflammation and pustules develop, the doctor may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics. Mild acids that peel surface skin layers can help promote normal skin growth. Topical vitamin K can reduce the appearance of surface vessels, which lessens the reddening.

Metronidazole (MetroGel®) is a prescription medication that is applied topically once a day to treat rosacea. Side effects include skin irritation (e.g., burning, dryness, redness), tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, nausea, and a metallic taste in the mouth.

In severe cases, the dermatologist may treat the blood vessels in one of two ways:

  1. by injecting a concentrated saltwater (saline) solution into the vessels to close them; or
  2. by using a laser or cautery to seal broken vessels and prevent blood flow to the surface

Rosacea Prevention

In people predisposed to rosacea, preventive steps involve managing the environmental and dietary triggers related to the disorder. The use of sunscreen minimizes the effects of sun exposure. Staying indoors and using air conditioning during hot, humid weather reduces the heat component. An individual whose rosacea is triggered by dairy products, alcohol or certain spices should restrict their intake or eliminate them from the diet.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Sep 2000

Last Modified: 20 Jan 2012