Rosacea Medications

Medications are prescribed by dermatologists to control flare-ups. They should be viewed as ancillary treatment options that can be integrated with lifestyle modifications & appropriate over the counter skincare.

Key Points

  • Rosacea is best managed with lifestyle modifications & skin care
  • Prescription medications can be useful
  • Dermatologists prescribe anti-inflammatory topicals & oral agents 
  • Lasers can amplify the results from anti-inflammatories
  • Treatments are tailored for best outcomes

Rosacea Medications at a glance

Best outcomes: Weeks – months
Procedure time: 15 minutes
Duration of results: Weeks to months
Back to work: 0-2 days
Recovery: 0-1 days
Anaesthetic: Not required
Your specialist: Dermatologist, nurse
How much: $

Our results speak for themselves








How do dermatologists approach rosacea?

This is one condition that requires a holistic approach. A good way to understand rosacea is- do everything possible to treat your rosacea without the need to see a dermatologist. The flipside is that we are there for you if you cannot manage your rosacea with lifestyle changes & appropriate skin care. 


We prescribe-


  • Lasers & BBL therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory creams & medications
  • Neuromodulators
  • Vitamin A tablets


The ideal combination depends on your rosacea subtype.

What is the purpose of creams?

Creams can be divided into prescription & over the counter. The aim of creams is to-


  • Reduce inflammation, flushing & redness. 
  • Reduce pimples & pustule
  • Provide secondary aesthetic outcomes (pore size reduction, anti-aging benefits)

What over the counter creams are recommended for rosacea?

Active ingredients that can help, or at the very least reduce skin irritation in rosacea patients include-


  • Azelaic acid – anti-inflammatory
  • Niacinamide / B3- build barrier function, anti inflammatory
  • Resveratrol – antioxidant
  • Ceramides- assist barrier function
  • Hyaluronic acid– humectant
  • Vitamin E- anti-inflammatory


Avoid retinol, retinoids, AHAs, & ascorbic acids. These can be titrated at a later stage. 

How do lasers treat rosacea?

Lasers are best for treating redness & inflammation. This includes broken capillaries & pustules (acne like lesions) Lasers work in synergy with anti-inflammatory topicals & oral agents. This means lasers give a better result than one therapy. 

What are the most common lasers we use?

The vascular pulse dye laser & the KTP laser is used for vascular work. Both have dynamic cooling properties. 


Laser treatment 

Time: 15 minutes

Downtime: 1-3 days

For: Redness, capillaries, pimples

Side effects: Rare

Costs: Partially under Medicare

How many treatments are required?

Most patients require 2-4 sessions. Factors that determine the number of sessions include-



  • Subtype of rosacea
  • How your skin tolerates laser
  • Implementation of lifestyle factors 
  • Skin colour
  • Adjunctive therapy 
  • Laser settings, type of laser we use



Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF50+

Dermaceutic All Things Pigment 21 Day Kit

Prescription rosacea medications function as anti-inflammatories. Combined with laser therapy, they can markedly improve rosacea within a week or two.

What does azelaic acid do?

If you are into natural skincare, consider azelaic acid. It is an anti-inflammatory & can be used to treat papular-pustular acne rosacea, acne, & reduce redness from both conditions. 


Formulation: 10-20% azelaic acid

Apply: 1-2 times a day 

Type: Prescription + over the counter 

Side effects: Very rare

What is the role of sulphur in rosacea management?

Sulphur-based creams & washes can be useful in treating rosacea & acne. They work as an anti-inflammatory agent. Salicylic acid is added in cases where there is seb derm overlap. 


Formulation: 5% sulphur +/- salicylic acid

Apply: 1-2 times a day, wash

Type: Prescription + over the counter 

Side effects: Very rare, apart from the smell

What is mesotherapy neurotoxin & how does it work?

Mesoanti-wrinkle or microanti-wrinkle is a novel treatment for both papulopustular rosacea & redness. It is NOT the first line but can be considered if lasers & topicals are unsuccessful. It works by-



  • Reducing demodex counts on the skin for up to 4 months
  • Modulates inflammation
  • Alters blood flow via modulation of the muscles in vessels
  • Reduces oil gland activity 
  • Modulates smooth muscle activity in the follicle


Delivery is via Aquagold system, it can last up to & beyond 3-4 months. 

Learn more (Link to Aqua gold in the skin maintenance section)

Who to see for complex cases of rosacea?

For complex cases of resistant rosacea, book with Dr Belle Cominos, dermatologist. She is regarded as one of the most experienced dermatologists in Brisbane with a special interest in the management of rosacea.

Ask us more about this treatment

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