It’s called acne rosacea, but the name is confusing. This skin condition is nothing like your teenager’s pimples.
Rosacea affects women more than men and usually strikes during middle age. It causes redness of the cheeks, nose and forehead. Fine red lines can often be seen just under the skin and some people also experience pimple-like blemishes.
Dermatologists are still debating the causes of rosacea. Research suggests that one important factor is inflammation triggered by cathelicidin, one of the skin’s innate immune defenses against bacteria, fungi and some viruses (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May, 2010).
Treatment has involved oral antibiotics (doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline) and topical antimicrobials (metronidazole). A topical gel containing azelaic acid (Finacea) can reduce the production of cathelicidin and improve symptoms.
Despite standard therapy, some readers remain unsatisfied: “I have been suffering from rosacea for years. A dermatologist prescribed both metronidazole cream and minocycline twice daily. These were ineffective.
“I am a 47-year-old male, and exercise regularly (run and bicycle), 5’8″ and weigh 139 lbs. I eat a healthy diet.
“I drink alcohol occasionally, mainly red wine and beer. My cholesterol is low and I take no medications. What else could I do for my rosacea?”
Alcohol is frequently blamed as a trigger, so this reader should cut back to see if that helps. Other non-standard approaches include using antibacterial soap: “I bought a generic, clear, liquid antibacterial soap in a pump bottle and have been using it for two months. I quit using the Metrogel at the same time and have had NO flare-ups since using the antibacterial soap! This is an easy and inexpensive remedy that you may already have at your sink.”
Another reader applies organic raw apple cider vinegar to the affected skin, washing it off with a gentle cleanser after 30 minutes. Helga offered her approach: “Jason Vitamin K Creme Plus works wonderfully well. It totally eliminated rosacea for me and several other people. Use it twice a day; it doubles as moisturizer.”
Dianne told her own story: “I was diagnosed with rosacea over 10 years ago and was on metronidazole. I still had problems with breakouts on my face after being in the sun. Later, I was also diagnosed with ocular rosacea that felt like sand in my eyes every morning and throughout the day. I was advised to take eye drops for the condition.
“About five years ago I started taking Juice Plus vitamins. There were no claims with the product that it would help rosacea, although it certainly claimed to boost one’s immune system.
My rosacea has totally disappeared. My ophthalmologist and my dermatologist can find no evidence of rosacea any more.”
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements have helped a few readers. Another reader specified daily cod liver oil.
Italian researchers have found that dietary supplements containing silymarin and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) may ease redness (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March, 2008).
There does not seem to be a single approach to rosacea that works well for everyone. Trial and error may be the best way to find out how to calm this inflammatory skin condition.

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  1. Lesley K
    Reply

    I can not take vitamin K by mouth as it is the Antidote to Warfren – I don’t know how it would effect you by putting it on the skin though.

  2. lesley
    Reply

    I know how you feel it is an uncomfortable and hot itchy burning feeling all the time – and seems to start itching through the night – I have had eczema since infancy and seemed to get that under control and then flushed up after a glass of wine or 2 and it just got worse – stopped the wine
    and and cut back on chocolate pastry’s and cakes – but still struggling .

  3. Dc
    Reply

    Would like to be notified when follow up comments are posted.

  4. kmk
    Reply

    I find restasis works well for my ocular rosacea… but for some reason it causes some issues with my sinuses. The prescription was for twice a day, every day – but I my sinuses just couldn’t handle it. My eyes felt GREAT though! Now, I just use it in the morning a few times a week and it seems to really help.
    For my face – I have a prescription lotion to use. Although, always red, I’m having a flare up these past few days. I’m going to go purchase some SB shampoo today. Hopefully it helps! :)

  5. mary
    Reply

    That is my question also Sharon. I look the same and I rarely even drink. It does look like I drink a lot though and in addition to the unsightliness I find it embarrassing as well.
    I have run out of Probiotics for a few weeks now, and I ‘think’ ‘perhaps’ they were helping some.
    Will know more when I get back on track, but in the meantime, sure would also like more help. Good luck.

  6. Sharon
    Reply

    I am concerned also about ocular rosacea. I have seen the question asked several time with no reponse. Anyone out there have ANY suggestions? My eyes constantly look like I have been on a 3 day drunk.

  7. nancy p.
    Reply

    Does anyone know what to use for ocular rosacea?

  8. Steven W
    Reply

    I’ve been taking the Doxycycline for a about three months. I haven’t checked into what it might do to my stomach, but it hurts terribly if I don’t eat food with it. The bottle says not to use antacids or drink milk within two hours of taking it. My doctor says milk interferes with the absorption of the drug. I’m not sure about the antacid part. I’ve taken milk with it just to keep it from upsetting my stomach. It hasn’t decreased the efficacy of drug as far as I can tell.
    The Selsun Blue worked for a while but then stopped helping. The Doxycycline quickly cleared up my face and keeps it clear. It even helps with the adult acne issue I’ve got going on. I’m 43. I asked about Tetracycline but my doc says its harder to find so he prescribes the other.

  9. STinker
    Reply

    How long have you been taking the doxycycline? I read that it’s not good to take it for too long because it’s an antibiotic and it can damage your stomach. The antibiotic is supposed to kill the bacteria but it’s unknown if rosacea is caused from bacteria. Does anyone know why the selsun blue works? Does it kill bacteria? I really hate how my face feels after I use it. How long does it take to work? I’ve been using it for 3 days but haven’t noticed a significant difference in the redness.

  10. mary
    Reply

    Things to share about my rosacea, whether help or not or worth a try is up to you.
    I find sugar and gluten avoidance helps.
    Milk of Magnesia covering face, leave on for ‘awhile’ then rinse off.
    Sorry you do not like coconut oil. I have read it is an antibacterial and I find it to be a pleasant moisturizer.
    Brown Listerine has helped, but first used full strength and yeow—not good it burned so horribly. Watered down it helps. I also rinse it off after awhile and then moisturize.
    Cannot say enough about probiotics. Was purchasing all sorts of expensive ones when a knowledgeable salesperson at whole foods suggested “Jason’ brand to save money—was a lot less expensive.
    Short on money I tried it and it seems pretty good… although have not taken the time to really check if the types and amounts are satisfactory. At least begin with some probiotics, good for many things.
    Perhaps The PP could advise on ingredients for I have forgotten the best amounts of each bacteria and which are best.
    Gentle cleansing 2x/day then good moisturizer. Thing is –it is not only an experiment, but I have found necessary to change the routine after a few weeks.
    When my face has been scaly and chapped I have loaded my face with zinc oxide at nite, by morning, scaly and red have lessened.
    Selson Blue–well, think 5 minutes for a first go when raw not a great idea——-posters here have said they have ‘rinsed’ with it. Best start slowly with any harsh chemicals?
    Wish you the best. I will say that after Metrozome or whatever called for 189$, about 390$ in creams from a Plastic surgeon—the cost of these things in addition to the Dr. visits—-outrageous—–
    When on this site I learned many helps for total of about 12$.
    Try some, be slow, rotate them, and the very best of luck.

  11. Steven W
    Reply

    I’ve had excellent success with Doxycycline capsules two times a day. It cleared it up completely. Topical gels and creams were either too expensive or ineffective.

  12. STinker
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with rosacea in my mid twenties. I’m now 33 and have been battling this skin condition ever since. I found this forum to be extremely helpful. Right now, I not only struggle with the redness but dryness and flaking skin on my face. I have to wear foundation to conceal the redness but I can’t cover the flaking skin. The foundation makes the flaking appear worse.
    I have tried several moisturizers after some research but it’s still not enough. Recently I started using coconut oil but really don’t like the feeling of it on my face… it did help with breakouts though. I was using the dicksons witch hazel toner which helped remove the peeling skin and it didn’t flare up my rosacea. I would moisturize immediately after and it worked great. However, I read that witch hazel can aggravate rosacea and even though it’s 100% witch hazel, it still has some alcohol in it which is supposed to flare up rosacea and dry your skin out. I stopped using it because I feared it would make my skin worse. Maybe the witch hazel toner helps some rosacea sufferers and makes it worse for others.
    I’m so afraid of my condition worsening as I get older. I have been using the finacea gel at night to try to prevent this but I don’t know if it works. I read that someone was experiencing really dry skin from taking cold medication. I’ve been taking Claritin and thought maybe that’s why I have dry skin… so I just stopped taking it.
    After reading this forum, I went out and bought the selsun blue to try. I used it in the morning and left it on my face for five minutes and then rinsed with warm water. Even though my face didn’t look red, my skin felt horrible. It was so dry even after I moisturized. Maybe I left it on too long, maybe I need to gradually use it.
    I did go on lexapro for anxiety because of my facial flushing. That medication has helped wonders for me. I no longer let stress get to my emotionally or physically.
    I’m just tired of dealing with this condition. I struggled with acne all through my teens and then immediately after the acne subsided, I had to deal with rosacea. I wish I could just wake up and run out the door with no makeup on and not have to worry about my red blotchy face. I wish I could find what works for me so I can stop spending time and money trying to control my rosacea.

  13. RV
    Reply

    I have had rosacea for years, but this last year the redness and bumps had became far worse for me. I tried so many different lotions, soaps, creams including metronidazole cream prescribed by a dermatologist. Nothing made a difference, until I came across this site and the posts about using Selsun Blue shampoo. What a difference this has made for me in just five days, my face hasn’t been this clear in years. I have stopped using the met cream since using the Selsun Blue Shampoo.
    This is what I do:
    I use the Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo, with Moisturizing Aloe that contains 1% Selenium Sulfide.
    Once a day, I use the Selsun Blue shampoo as a face wash, working it into a lather and spreading it on my face. I leave this on for about 5-10 secs and then wash off thoroughly with warm water, followed by a good rinsing with cold water (to help close the pores). Since this seems to dry the skin on my face a bit, after the washing I apply a moisturizing lotion called All Purpose by Johnson & Johnson. This lotion is oil free, hypoallergenic and fragrance free, only about $9.00 a bottle.
    That’s it, that is all I do. In a nutshell, I wash my face with Selsun Blue Shampoo as described above and then the All Purpose moisturizing lotion and I am amazed at the results. I am not telling anyone else to follow this routine or suggesting that it will help anyone else, just describing what has worked for me. I did take it slow and easy the two days or so, using very little of the shampoo and even diluting it, by mixing just a drop or two of the shampoo in a cup with water, to make sure I didn’t have a reaction or make the rosacea worse.
    Thank you to all who have posted on here, been a huge help and make an incredible difference for me after only five days.

  14. RL
    Reply

    Epson Salt soaks, apple cider vinegar as a toner, tea tree oil and calamine lotion have worked for me. I use different ones on different days. I have very oily skin. So these help without over drying.

  15. mary
    Reply

    I would like to thank all posters here. Driven to distraction with the face, then the scalp—first tried the $189.00 Metrozone without result. Oh if I had checked here first!
    Tried very very many suggestions. While some were better than others, many messy or short lived. Really hated all the sodium laural sulfate and other chemicals.
    Did the brown Listerine rinse before shampooing. Seemed to help, but really–was being washed out…..same with vinegar…… Then one poster realized same and suggested vinegar rinse AFTER shampooing. Wow… considering generations of brunettes used vinegar for shiny hair…
    Lifesaving solution! Also saving me from the sodium laural sulfite and other chemical poisons. Should I feel a ‘patch’ or ‘spot’–I just spray with the vinegar in that area, rubbing on my scalp between washing.
    I am also convinced that pro-biotics have helped lessen both ailments.
    [stopping sugar, all white 'stuff'---of course!---but do lapse with that]
    Tried Listerine on the face—yeow—much worse than even vinegar in the burn. Gave that up, but still wonder if diluted might work?
    Now use coconut oil for moisturizer as read it has antibacterial properties. So far, great.
    The thought of being invaded with mites or whatever feels creepy!
    Sure hope one day soon reasons will be discovered.
    Until then keep them coming! Thank you to all–

  16. E.Charlton
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this article!!

  17. SP
    Reply

    I have had both seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) and rosacea for years. Both recently got worse with the SD spreading to my face. I went to the dermatologist who suggested dandruff shampoo and a continuation of the metronidazole which I have used irregularly for quite a while. He suggested I try rotating different dandruff shampoos, so I went out and bought Head and Shoulders, Selsun Blue and Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil Shampoo (very cheap).
    The first two did not help at all. The tea tree shampoo barely controlled the dandruff. Then a friend complained about dandruff to her hairdresser. He said she just had dry skin and to shampoo with a paste of water, baking soda and vitamin E oil. I knew what I have is more than dry skin so I was skeptical. But nothing else has worked all that well so I tried it, substituting coconut oil for the vitamin E oil.
    I placed some of the paste on a wet wash cloth and scrubbed my entire face with it, paying special attention to the dandruff patches. I have thrown out the shampoos and soaps that contain sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate because of the potential for irritation.
    After 4 days both conditions have completely cleared up. My scalp is not itching. I think it may also lighten some dark spots from sun damage. I will continue to use light makeup that I have found to be non-irritating, but I’m not needing to cover up red bumps or scaly skin. I’m ecstatic.

  18. Karen
    Reply

    I was treated for Rosacea 4 times by a dermatologist before realizing nothing was permanently working. The prescriptions I was taking were expensive and temporary.
    I started looking into other things. I was terrified I had mites or bugs, or whatever….it’s still unclear if Rosacea is mites….I thought several times it was my dogs! My poor lab got shaved down to his crew cut and glared at me everyday until he started growing his coat back.
    I am a proactive person. I tore up my carpeting in my bedrooms, house, cleaned with vinegar, bought a brand new vacuum and faithfully (no matter how tired) did this daily. I also sprinkled table salt all over everything and left it for two days on a weekend I wasn’t home and came home and vacuumed….the article I had read on fleas say to do that to get rid of eggs or fleas or whatever may be lurking in your house. Faithfully vacuumed.
    Then I decided to put vinegar on my face. it burned, as expected, but not in a bad regretful way. It burned then stopped and cooled my face down. I went to my kitchen and got out some coconut oil. I use this daily in my coffee, I spread it on my face and it softened me right up and I was able to sleep. I did this every night for two weeks and it is now pretty much gone.
    I also cut out some greasy foods (did not eat that much anyway) and slowly watch my diet to see if anything is going to make it flare again. It’s absolutely miserable! When all was done and I’ve sat and thought about this for hours, vinegar has been being used by grandmas everywhere for centuries. It just made sense to try it. Coconut oil was all natural so I picked it to use to sorta lock the vinegar to my skin. There are probably better oils to use but this works for me.
    I am not taking the low dose antibiotic everyday, or buying those creams that don’t work….just vinegar and a little house hold modifications is all it took. I hope this helps someone out there….it sure did me

  19. Cleone B.
    Reply

    what kind of moisturizer do u use after the Selsun Blue .. my face & arms are so very very dry

  20. Chris
    Reply

    Selsun Blue has a good marketing team methinks. What’s $5 to a person desperate to get rid of rosacea! Why not exploit the masses by inconspicuously spacing out success stories all over the web of curing one of the most puzzling skin issues of recent memories! Save yourself some money, it doesn’t work.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We assume you mean you tried it and it didn’t work for you. Many remedies–and even most drugs–don’t work for everybody. Certainly if Selsun Blue is too expensive, the person with rosacea should look for something less pricey. That won’t be a prescription, we think.

  21. sil
    Reply

    Is this still working for you? Has the Rosacea come back? Do you use a moisturizer and sunscreen afterwards? Thank-you.

  22. sil
    Reply

    Is the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide still working for you? Do you do it daily and do you use a moisturizer and sunscreen over it?

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