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There is no cure for rosacea, but the symptoms can be treated effectively by a range of medicated creams, gels, and antibiotic tablets. You can buy rosacea treatment quickly and easily online, and our doctors can prescribe the right treatment for you.
If you’re not sure if you have rosacea, you can get a quick diagnosis with our photo diagnosis service without booking an appointment or leaving your home.
How it Works
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness of the face, especially across the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead. The redness may come and go, though in some cases it may be present all the time. Rosacea can also cause skin irritation (burning or stinging), pimples and dry skin, swelling, or thickening of the skin on the face.
Some people may have problems with their eyes too. Around 415 million people are affected by rosacea in the world and there is no cure, but you can treat and manage your symptoms.
Types of rosacea
There are 4 main types of rosacea:
- Facial redness, flushing, visible blood vessels: Symptoms may also include dry, sensitive, or swollen skin.
- Breakout of acne: These can come and go, and may cause oily skin or a burning sensation.
- Thickening skin: Skin starts to thicken and feel bumpy, especially around the nose. It may also happen on the chin, cheeks, forehead, and ears
- Rosacea in the eyes: Your eyes may itch, burn or become sensitive to light. They can appear bloodshot or watery, and it can often feel like there is sand in your eyes.
What causes rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is still not known. But, it has been linked by various studies to tiny skin mites, nerves in the face, arteries, the immune system, and serious health conditions.
Risk factors associated with rosacea include:
- having fair skin
- blood vessel abnormalities
- skin mites (Demodex)
- bacteria (Helicobacter pylori)
- family history of rosacea
Some people find that when they eat certain foods, their symptoms are worse. Some foods and drinks can cause your symptoms to come back or get worse. It can be useful to keep a food diary to try and identify which foods might trigger your symptoms.
- hot drinks
- dairy products
- spicy food
- citrus fruits
What are the symptoms of rosacea?
There are many signs and symptoms that could show you have rosacea, from main or primary symptoms to other potential signs and symptoms.
The first signs include:
- flushing of the face, especially nose, cheeks, forehead and chin (may come and go and first but as the rosacea worsens, it may not go away)
- blood vessels that can be seen (small vessels that look like thin red lines)
- pimples or solid red bumps (look like acne, but they may sting or burn and will be mainly in the centre of the face)
In darker skin, many of these signs may be harder to detect at first.
Other possible symptoms include:
- irritated eyes
- dry feeling skin
- skin swells on the face
- raised red patches
- stinging and burning
- thickening of the skin, often around the nose
What does rosacea look like?
Rosacea is redness on your face, which, after a while, does not go away. It may have pimples that look like acne or it can show up as tiny visible blood vessels. You may look like you are blushing all the time.
What is rosacea cream?
Rosacea cream is a range of different medicated creams and gels your doctor may prescribe for a mild to moderate condition. The cream or gel is applied to the affected area, as prescribed.
Why does rosacea cream help?
Rosacea cream helps to reduce the redness caused by rosacea by constricting the blood vessels. This also helps to soothe any discomfort like skin irritation.
Mirvaso works to reduce the redness of rosacea temporarily. This gel should be applied to the affected area once a day to help reduce the redness. Use a pea sized amount of gel and apply evenly on the face. Make sure you cover your chin, cheeks, forehead and nose. Do not let the gel get on your lips, inside your nose or on your eyes. Allow the gel to soak in and dry before you apply any facial make up.
Mirvaso gel contains brimonidine, which works to shrink the blood vessels and reduce any swelling or redness, but in some users, can make the redness worse. So you should start with a small amount in one area of the face first, to check you will not react.The effects last for a number of hours only, and the redness will return after that.
Soolantra should only be used if you have rosacea related spots/inflammatory lesions. This cream has anti-inflammatory ingredients which can help reduce rosacea acne-related symptoms. It clears or almost clears rosacea symptoms in up to 80% of people who have moderate to severe (serious) symptoms after 3 months of treatment. It is an active anti-inflammatory that contains ivermectin.
It may also be effective in removing skin mites (demodex) from the skin. This cream can be used when your rosacea comes back from time to time.
Metronidazole gel helps to control inflammation and infection in the skin with results usually noticeable within 4 weeks of use. This medication is effective in mild to moderate cases. Before applying the gel, you will want to wash your face and then apply a thin layer to the affected area and rub it in well. Rosacea does not respond quickly to medicine, so you will want to carry on using it for as long as your doctor recommends.
Dermalex is the most common non-prescription rosacea cream available that does not have any antibiotics or medications in it. It helps to relieve flare-ups of rosacea, along with helping to make the skin stronger and soothe inflammation. There are no steroids in this cream and it has been approved for long term use.
What is the best rosacea cream?
The rosacea cream you use will be based on the type of rosacea you have, how severe it is, and your own skin type. If you have not used rosacea cream before, or you are not sure which cream will best suit your particular needs, our doctors can help you find the right treatment.
How do you use rosacea cream?
The cream or gel is to be applied directly onto the affected area on your skin. Take a pea sized amount of cream or gel and cover the affected area evenly. Use a pea sized amount for each area, such as your nose, cheeks, chin and forehead. Never apply to your lips, eyes or inside your nose. Always wash your hands after you have applied the cream.
How often should I use rosacea cream?
How often you need to use rosacea cream depends on the type of rosacea you have, the cream you have been prescribed, and how severe your symptoms are. Most creams are used once daily, and some are used multiple times per day. You should follow the directions given to you by the doctor who has prescribed your rosacea cream. You should see positive results within 4 weeks, though if you don’t see an improvement after 8 weeks then you should speak to your doctor.
How should I apply rosacea cream to my skin?
Use a pea sized amount of rosacea cream and gently apply to your face, spreading it evenly while avoiding the eyes and lips. Wash your hands after you are done.
Where can I get rosacea cream?
You can purchase non-prescription rosacea creams over the counter, or get a prescription for medications like Metronidazole, Mirvaso or Soolantra from Superdrug Online Doctor.
Can I get rosacea cream over the counter?
There are rosacea creams you can purchase over the counter from your pharmacy, such as Dermalex. Other medications, such as Metronidazole, Mirvaso and Soolantra can only be purchased on prescription.
Can I buy prescription rosacea cream online?
Yes, it is safe and legal to buy prescription rosacea cream online from regulated sellers like Superdrug Online Doctor. You just need to complete a short online questionnaire about your health, and our doctors can prescribe rosacea cream online if it is safe and suitable.
Ordering online with Superdrug online doctor is quick and easy:
- Complete our short online medical assessment.
- One of our doctors will review your responses and decide which rosacea treatment is best for you.
- Choose to have your treatment posted to an address of your choice or you can arrange to collect it from a local Superdrug store.
There is a UK based customer support team available to provide information or answer any questions regarding the medication you have received.
Rosacea cream side effects
Side effects change from one person to the next, and depending what cream you are using, as they contain different ingredients. Some people may have no side effects from the rosacea cream, while others may have one or more side effects. The most common side effects include:
- watering of the eyes
- peeling of skin
- skin becomes very dry
- treated skin lightens in colour
- skin reddens
- burning sensation after application
- sensitivity to sunlight
Read the patient information leaflet you receive with your rosacea treatment for more information, or ask your doctor.
What other treatments for rosacea are there?
There are a number of other treatment options for more severe rosacea, or if you have complications such as eye symptoms. For these, you will need to be referred to a specialist. These can range from laser therapy to antibiotic tablets you swallow with water.
In severe cases of rosacea, you may be prescribed an antibiotic tablet or capsule, which you swallow with water. Antibiotic medication can cause side effects, including:
- tummy cramps
- feeling light headed
- sensitive skin out in the sun
Light based and laser therapies have increased in popularity to reduce the redness and visible blood vessels linked with rosacea. You may need a number of treatments over a period of time before you see any improvements. Laser or light therapy can be effective but you need referral to a dermatologist for specialist care.
As with any treatment, there could be some side effects. The redness on your face and nose may increase directly after the treatment. Other side effects include itching, skin feeling tight and a rash.
If your rosacea symptoms do not get any better after your course of treatment, other alternative treatments may be tried instead. These may include:
- oral antibiotics
- a different type of topical cream
- oral isotretinoin (treatment for serious acne)
- laser or light therapy
Tips to reduce the symptoms of rosacea
In order to reduce the symptoms associated with rosacea, there are a number of things you can do. You should:
- protect your face with sunscreen every day with spf30 or higher
- wear a hat when in the sun
- know your triggers and avoid them, so you can reduce the risk of flare-ups
- be gentle on your skin and do not touch your face too much
- moisturise regularly with a non-oily moisturiser if your skin is dry
- avoid products that contain alcohol
- use powder makeup with a green tone and matte finish if you want to cover the redness
415 million people affected by rosacea worldwide (2018) National Rosacea Society (Accessed 18 June 2021)
Ivermectin 1% Cream (Soolantra) for Inflammatory Lesions of Rosacea (2016) American Family Physician (Accessed 12 July 2021)
Laser and lights: how well do they treat rosacea? American Academy of Dermatology Association (Accessed 18 June 2021)
What are the treatment options for rosacea? (2020) NCBI (Accessed 19 June 2021)