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Rosacea is not curable, but it can be managed. Treatment goals are to control the condition and improve appearance. Treatment depends on the subtype of rosacea and the severity of symptoms. A combination of medications and lifestyle changes works best. As a result, your doctor may recommend more than one treatment, depending on your specific condition.

Most dermatologists believe that early treatment prevents rosacea from getting worse. Early treatment may prevent blood vessels from enlarging and rhinophyma (enlarged nose) from developing. Do not diagnose and treat yourself, since many over-the-counter treatments can make rosacea worse.

Treatment by subtype:

  • 1—Topical gels, or pulsed light or laser surgery to narrow blood vessels and reduce redness.
  • 2—Topical creams or low-dose antibiotics to reduce inflammation and skin lesions.
  • 3—Similar treatment as subtype 2. Other medications, or pulsed light or laser surgery may be used to help inhibit thickening of the skin. Surgical treatments may help reshape an enlarged nose.
  • 4—Antibiotics or steroids (as eye drops, eyelash ointment, or by mouth) to reduce inflammation and relieve dryness.

Talk to your doctor if you think or know you are pregnant, of childbearing age, or are breastfeeding. Some drugs cannot be taken before, during, or after pregnancy. You may need to use birth control during the course of treatment. Openly discuss the risks and benefits of treatment options.

Lifestyle changes will be a part of your treatment plan. These changes include avoiding triggers, using sun protection, having a skin care routine, and using certain types of cosmetics.

Your healthcare team may be made up professionals who specialize in skin (dermatology) and eye (ophthalmology) diseases.

Rosacea treatment includes:

Lifestyle changes


All about rosacea. National Rosacea Society website. Available at: Accessed December 28, 2015.

Questions and answers about rosacea. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) website. Available at: Updated September 2013. Accessed December 28, 2015.

Rosacea. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: December 10, 2015. Accessed October 4, 2016.

Rosacea: Diagnosis and treatment. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: Accessed December 28, 2015.

Last reviewed December 2015 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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