Getting Rid of Rosacea

Rosacea new treatment options explored

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Skin conditions can have a big impact on how people view themselves and how they interact with the world. Treating these conditions effectively can be very important to a person's overall well-being.

One such skin condition is rosacea, which can cause redness, swelling and sores on the face.

In a recent article, researchers discussed new treatment methods for managing this chronic condition.

"Monitor your skin monthly for changes."

Authors Robyn S. Fallen, MD, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and Melinda Gooderham, MD, of the Skin Centre for Dermatology and Skin Laser Clinic in Peterborough, Ontario, estimated that around 10 percent of people are affected by rosacea.

According to the authors, the condition is more common in women, but when it strikes men, the symptoms and skin changes are often more drastic. Rosacea can occur at any age, but tends to develop between ages 30 and 50 years.

The authors also reported that 75 percent of rosacea patients will admit to having issues with low self-esteem.

There are a variety of treatment methods available to these patients, including topical metronidazole, a cost-effective option that has been used to treat rosacea since the 1950s.

Topical azelaic acid is another treatment option that has proven to be successful. "Patients using azelaic acid showed an improvement of 70 to 80 percent in their rosacea compared with 50 to 55 percent in the placebo group," the authors reported.

According to Drs. Fallen and Gooderham, renewed research interest in rosacea has led to some new potential therapies, including ivermectin cream and the adrenergic receptor antagonists brimonidine tartrate and oxymetazoline.

These last two substances "have potent vasoconstrictive activity and anti-redness capabilities [and] are currently found in eye drops for glaucoma and a nasal decongestant spray, respectively."

According to the authors, further research into these new treatment methods is needed. "Lifestyle interventions such as avoidance measures for triggering factors, the use of sunscreen, dietary changes and patient education are additional areas of needed research," they wrote.

Rosacea is more common among people of Northern European heritage and up to a third of rosacea patients have  a family history of the condition. Based on these statistics, it is possible there is a genetic link in patients with rosacea. Further research may also help explore and treat potential genetic causes for the condition.

"Where possible, therapeutic decision-making should take into account high-level evidence and be guided by clinical experience, individual patient characteristics and preferences until further evidence is available," the authors concluded.

The article was published in Skin Therapy Letter in December 2012. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 11, 2013
Last Updated:
January 21, 2014