Between the redness, the burning sensations, and the pimples, rosacea can be quite difficult to live with. It's also difficult to treat. A medication that works well for one patient may do nothing for you. So you and your dermatologist may have to experiment with a few different drugs before finding one that's effective. Here's a look at some of the common medications used to treat rosacea.
Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means it kills a wide array of different types of bacteria, including those that are thought to be associated with rosacea. Usually, it is prescribed orally. You'll need to take a pill once or twice a day for a period of time. Your rosacea may not disappear permanently; you might need to take the medication in cycles to keep it at bay. (For instance, some patients take it for a few weeks every couple of months, taking a break from the doxycycline between.) Doxycycline can be quite effective, but it can cause side effects like nausea and weight loss. If these symptoms bother you, your dermatologist may recommend switching to a different treatment.
Benzoyl Peroxide and Clindamycin Gel
There are several prescription gels that contain benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin. They are usually marketed to people with acne, but they work well for some rosacea patients, too. The benzoyl perocide helps open up the pores so that the clindamycin, an antibiotic, can enter and help fight off the bacteria causing your rosacea. Many patients react well to these treatments, but some suffer from serious skin dryness when using them. You can try using a moisturizer to combat the dryness, but if your rosacea just flares up in reaction to moisturizer, this may not be the right treatment for you. These topical treatments also tend to bleach out pillow cases and wash cloths, since the benzoyl peroxide is a bleaching agent.
Sulfur Washes and Rinses
In some patients, sulfur really helps kill the bacteria that contribute to rosacea, leading to a reduction in pimples and redness, especially. Your dermatologist may prescribe a face wash that contains sulfur or a rinse that you apply to your face after washing it. The results won't be instant – you might not see an improvement for a few weeks, so be patient. If you've used the rinse or wash for a month or more with no improvement, then it's probably time to look into other remedies.