For new members: Tips for Getting Started

Have you just been diagnosed with rosacea ? This is the forum for you. You can walk out of the doctor's office with a head full of questions and feeling overwhelmed. Well settle in here and see that you head in the right direction to get some good relief from your symptoms.
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David Pascoe
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Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:17 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia.

For new members: Tips for Getting Started

Post by David Pascoe »


Thanks for joining the Rosacea Support Community (which used to be known as the Rosacea Support Forum). We're sorry you have rosacea, but at least you're amongst friends. At the moment, there is no cure for rosacea, but don't give up hope. Science is continually advancing and new treatments are always coming onto the market.

We cannot diagnose rosacea from your descriptions or photos, so if you are in any doubt, please consult a physician or dermatologist. Your doctor should always be your first choice for medical information, which you can supplement with helpful hints from our members.

The quickest way to get information from the group is to run your own search on the key terms. Please use the Search option at the top right of each page to search all posts on the RS Forum (The Advanced Search is good for searching by author or within a particular subforum, etc.)

If you want to put a message on the board, please give a descriptive title. Please remember also that although only members can post, all messages can be read by the public. Since nothing you write will be confidential, you might prefer to use a special 'board name'.

If you're looking for recommendations, it helps if you tell us about yourself, for example:

  • symptoms (eg flushing, burning, itching, papules, pustules, or swelling)
  • skin type (eg dry, combination, flaky, oily)
  • other conditions (eg acne, eczema, seb derm)
  • current treatments
  • other treatments you've tried
  • ingredients to which you react badly
We'll always do our best to help, but we're not professionals, just ordinary rosaceans busy with work and families, so occasionally a posted message is overlooked. If that happens, please try again.


From now on, your top priority must be treating your face gently. That means using only the lightest touch of the fingertips: no rubbing or scrubbing, and no harsh topicals. A few rosaceans have such sensitive skin that they can only wash their faces with plain, tepid water. The most suitable products are usually marked "for rosacea" or "for sensitive skin", but please be wary of products with harsh ingredients added to dry up acne-like rosacea pustules. The worst offenders are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, both of which may irritate rosacea.


These are the things that aggravate rosacea symptoms. Potential triggers include environmental conditions, emotional upsets, cosmetics, food and drinks. Once you know your personal triggers, you have the option of avoiding them. Common trigger foods include those high in histamines and/or other amines, salicylates, or niacin, foods with a high carbohydrate and/or sugar content, and dairy products. Many rosaceans benefit greatly from restricting their diet, while others see no improvement.

RSRP: Dietary Influence

Most rosaceans are bothered by heat:
  • hot drinks (chilled drinks or slushies can help cool a flushed face)
  • hot foods, including highly-spiced dishes (try eliminating foods that might be causing your face to flare)
  • hot showers (consider cooler showers using less power and perhaps try a water filter)
  • hot weather (try to keep the thermostat turned down and use a fan)
  • bright lights (rosaceans affected by fluorescent lights might do better with plain light bulbs)
  • bright sunshine (use a sensitive suncream or sunblock, wear a floppy hat, tint your car windows)
  • overheating while exercising (workout in short bursts in front of a fan, or try lower-impact sports like swimming or pilates)
  • getting het up with stress (consider meditation, yoga or another relaxation technique)

The main thing to remember is that no one treatment works for everyone. Rosacea just isn't like that. Rosacea has such a wide range of possible symptoms that no one can give you a sure-fire guide to successful treatment.

The regime most favoured by dermatologists is long-term antibiotics plus gels or creams containing metronidazole. They help many rosaceans, but if they don't work for you, it may be necessary to put together your own regime. (Remember that derms often have free samples of prescription products, and with OTC topicals, you can look out for cheap sample sizes.)

Most rosaceans use a multi-pronged approach to fight flushing and inflammation. Between them, our members have tried hundreds of different things, and you will find them all in the archived posts. Some people rely solely on drug-based treatments, while others prefer alternative remedies, but most rosaceans pick & mix, trying out a lot of things before they finally settle on a good combination that works for them.


Antibiotics such as Doxycycline, Tetracycline, and Minocycline may help control papules and pustules and reduce facial redness, but risk negative side effects. The same applies to low-dose Accutane. There are also anti-flushing medications such as Clonidine, Moxonidine, or Propanalol.
Topical prescription treatments include a range containing metronidazole (eg Metrogel, Noritate, Rozex Cream), Azelex, sulfur preparations, and others. Although physicians sometimes prescribe a short course of treatment with steroids for severe cases of rosacea, steroids should NEVER be used long-term.
Neuropathic Pain: The inflammation involved in rosacea may lead to sensations of prickling, stinging, burning, or even searing pain. Treating the inflammation may lead to a decrease in pain. If this doesn't work, you may need to see a doctor who specialises in neuropathic pain conditions.

Ocular Rosacea: Roughly 50% of rosaceans may develop ocular rosacea. For this, you really need expert advice from an eye specialist, who can prescribe special drops, scrubs and other treatments.

You will need a good cleansing/moisturizing regime to calm your skin and prevent further inflammation. If you have oily skin, look for products that are oil-free. If you have acne, look for products that are non-comedogenic (won't clog the pores) but most of all, avoid harsh acne treatments because they are disastrous for rosacean skin.

With any new product, always check the list of ingredients and see if you can work out which ones your skin likes and does not like. There are recommendations for ingredients generally best avoided, including witch hazel, peppermint, menthol, alpha hydroxy acids and fragrances.

Before trying a new product on your whole face, consider treating a small test patch first at the side of your face for a week or two.

Alternatively, some people prefer a split-face test treating only one side for an easier comparison of results.

It's wise to try new products one at a time for at least two weeks. Otherwise, it can be hard to know which treatment is responsible for any reaction, whether good or bad. Some people even have a delayed reaction to a product with cumulative use.

Many women find that the menstrual cycle can skew results when testing topicals, with the best results in the two weeks after their period.

RSRP: Other Topicals


There are a wide range of laser and IPL treatments, but they are expensive. As with every treatment, they cannot be guaranteed to work for everyone. However, they are generally regarded as the best line of attack for severe flushing. It would be wise to seek recommendations from other group members before deciding where to go, rather than heading for the nearest cosmetic treatment centre, which might not be experienced in the best way to tackle rosacea.

RSRP: Laser & Light Therapy

For less advanced cases, coloured skin treatment lamps (often called RLT, or Red Light Therapy) are much cheaper and can be used at home, but are more experimental.

RSRP: Red LED Lamps & Other Forms of Low-Level Light Therapy


The most popular supplements include:

- Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E, selenium, zinc, grape seed extract, and pine bark extract (Pycnogenol), to strengthen blood vessels and help protect capillaries from oxidative damage

- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements such as fish oil and flax seed oil, to help decrease any inflammatory response.
As with any form of therapy, not all rosaceans will react positively. Some of the above may be helpful for you, some may actually make your symptoms worse. Only a little personal trial and error will tell. If you test new supplements one at a time for at least two weeks, it should be easier to know which supplement is responsible for any reaction, whether good or bad. (Please remember that some people get delayed reactions from cumulative use.)


The Rosacea Support Resource Pages were created to provide easy access to clear, factual information about rosacea. Please explore this site as early as possible, so you have a good idea of what information is available:

RSRP: Main Page

For a definition of the main terms used:
RSRP: Definition of Terms

The group's home page: Rosacea Support Group

A search engine for the whole rosacea community: Rosacea-Archive: The Rosacea Search Engine

Welcome again. We look forward to reading your posts...
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User avatar
David Pascoe
Moderator Team
Posts: 1837
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:17 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia.

Re: For new members: Tips for Getting Started

Post by David Pascoe »

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a Rosacea Patient Page which is a nice one page introduction to Rosacea.

The illustration shows the full gamut of rosacea symptoms: dry, red, irritated eyes, telangiectasia and acne-like breakouts in flushed areas.
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