Favourite Over The Counter and Home Treatments


Do you have a favourite over the counter treatment or home remedy for your rosacea ?

Depending on health insurance and access to doctors and pharmacies, prescription treatments are out of the reach of many rosacea sufferers.

So what can you try as a rosacea treatment that is easy to find at a drugstore, is cheap and available without a prescription ?

Even better what treatments can you make at home as a quick remedy. Is there anything ?

Please help your fellow rosacea sufferers with your best discoveries of treatments that you can get without a prescription or without visiting a doctor.

Here are some suggestions that I have collected that seem to be popular with members of the rosacea support group;


Prosacea is a topical gel, available over the counter at stores like Walgreens. It is also available on the internet at cvs.com. It contains 10% sulphur. The jury is still out, but reading prosacea user reviews, it looks to me like we should include prosacea as a bona fide rosacea treatment.


Rosacea-LTD is a topical treatment made of various compressed salts. It worked well for me to reduce papules and pustules and it is available only over the internet (which I guess counts as over the counter). This treatment is not cheap like many of the other suggestions in this listing, but I thought it definitely should be included as an over the counter treatment. For more information have a read of Rosacea-LTD User Reviews

Disclosure: rosacea-ltd is a site sponsor of rosacea-support.org


There has been some introductory research suggesting that a daily low dose of aspirin may help with rosacea swelling and flushing. For some it may lead to more flushing, but as an easily available and cheap over the counter treatment, aspirin may be worth a try.

Rosacea Swelling Relief Regime

Dr. Linda Sy has suggested in her rosacea swelling relief regimen, that there are some OTC meds that are easier (than prescription drugs) on the system such as: aspirin (blocks prostaglandin synthetase), antihistamines – ex. Chlor-trimeton which blocks H1 receptors; Cimetidine (Tagamet) which blocks H2 receptors. Pyridoxine (vit.B-6) has also been found to be helpful as a prophylaxis. She has sugested the following over the counter regime;

at Bedtime;

  • 1 baby aspirin
  • 1 Chlor-Trimeton (an antihistamine)
  • 1 Tums (to offset the gastro effects of the aspirin)

and in the AM;

  • a B complex vitamin with 50mg of B-6, but without Niacin (niacinamide is ok).
  • 1 Tagamet

during a flush;

  • apply a cool (not cold) compress to the face
  • do deep breathing 10 times slowly.

Flaxseed Oil

Studies have shown that flaxseed oil may help improve acne and for some other Omega 3 sources like Fish Oil may offer additional benefits.

When Dr. Eric Jones was asked about the possibility of any nutritional link to ocular rosacea symptoms he responded “that here are studies with just dry eye, where flaxseed oil and omega 3s are quite effective. Foodwise, everyone is individual. There have been some surveys, and everyone was different. Some said spicy foods, others said hot drinks, alcohol, cold drinks. People have to find their individual triggers, I think.”


As an alternative to the steroid based nasal sprays, something like Rynacrom or Nasalcrom may help with allergic rhinitis and relieve other allergic symptoms. Certainly if you think your rosacea symptoms are allergy related this is worth trying. Even if it only relieves other chronic symptoms is might help you get your head around the other symptoms that occupy your thinking.

Afrin / Oxymetazoline

It is early days yet, but some preliminary research and some rosacea sufferers are reporting reductions in redness from using topicals such as Afrin. Rosacea sufferers are cautioned against applying Afrin directly to their skin as it is actually for allergic rhinitis so contains ingredients which may be irritating to rosacea sufferers.

Keep an eye out for updates related to Oxymetazoline based treatments like Afrin. See this forum posting Afrin cure ? for some more information. There are many over the counter products that contain oxymetazoline.

Cleansers and Moisturizers

OK officially cleansers and moisturizers aren’t rosacea treatments. This is a bit of a step backwards for rosacea sufferers. Once you understand that a gentle cleansing and moisturising regime is a good basis for beating rosacea, you are already off to a good start.

Make your own Cleanser at Home

We know from a recent rosacea news article that colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) has interesting cleansing, moisturizing, buffering, soothing, protecting and anti-inflammatory properties.

Want to try something natural, perhaps something that you know exactly what it contains because you have made it yourself ? Some of the highlights from the Homemade Mixes community forum include simple natural sunscreens, licorice treatments, a honey cleanser and more.

Colloidal Oatmeal

Officially `Colloidal’ oatmeal is defined as a product made from grinding and processing whole oat grain with strict requirements on the particle size and fat content. In the past rosacea support group members have made their own cleansing masks with oatmeal and water. An extra bonus is that it can sop up flakes associated with seborrheic dermatitis.

Jojoba Oil

I have found that a small amount of jojoba oil blends in really well on wet skin and gives an excellent moisturized feel to my skin. Jojoba oil is cheap and easy to find in health food stores. We do know that jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties so it could be an ideal over the counter product.

Epsom salts or Milk of Magnesia

Milk of magnesia is a mildly alkaline suspension of magnesium hydroxide and has been known to be used topically for canker sores. Other `folk’ usage of topical milk of magnesia is for acne, seborrheic dermatitis, and oily skin. It is thought that this is a low risk treatment, it certainly is a cheap option. See Epsom salts or Milk of Magnesia actually works ? for more information.

A final warning

Please do be careful with products that you can get over the counter. Just because something is available without a prescription doesn’t mean it is even safe for rosacea skin. For example some OTC products might secretly (or quietly) contain steroids. As we now know, over the counter steroids can cause steroid induced rosacea.

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Go for It !

OK, so I have made my list, please give some more suggestions below in the comments.

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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61 Reader Comments

  1. Adm says:

    I started using a mixture of Dr. Jart’s Ceramidin lotion, not cream, mixed with a few drops of Desert Essence tea tree oil. The ceramidin is in an 8oz container and $40 at Sephora. The tea tree oil is 2oz. for $14. I apply in the morning and at night after washing my face with Anne Marie Gianni aloe herb facial cleanser ($21 on their website ). It hasn’t done much for redness, but has completely rid my skin of that dry texture and helped with almost eliminating the itching and pustules. I ran out for 2 days and noticed worsening, so you would probably have to keep using it.

  2. nicolamonk says:

    Prosacea is homeopathic- and homeopathic treatments are bunk. The level of the active ingredient is diluted to the point it is undetectable, sometimes so low that it is unlikely a single molecule of it is left. Please consider removing it from the list, or adding a disclaimer.

    • I don’t believe Prosacea is homeopathic in the `diluted to useless’ sense of the word. It contains 10% sulphur which has been beneficial for some rosacea suffers. Also it is a very cheap way to get hold of a sulphur based treatment so I think it is is worthwhile as an option.


  3. Kelly says:

    Prosacea worked for me but I’m now pregnant and it has a disclaimer not to use if pregnant. Need to find something else now…

  4. SG says:

    I am curious to try this out and wonder what commercial preparation of this they used: http://archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=654421 . It is available OTC in the form of things like equate nasal decongestant oxymetazoline hydrochloride, 0.05%.

  5. Susan Roubal says:

    I have tried for years to find a concealer that actually worked- a friend who worked at ULTA recently recommended”Bye Bye Redness” from IT Cosmetics. It works amazingly well! I have since tried their foundation in both the tube and the dry powder- both are great. I will not be without IT now!

    • Tammy says:

      I agree 100% with you I recently purchased it cosmetics liquid foundation and the powder foundation They are fabulous. Have to check out bye-bye redness thank you

  6. JLO says:

    Simple apple cider vinegar works for me. Stings a bit at first use but within days the red is gone….I put the vinegar on a nail polish polish remover pad, leave it in a baggie on the bath counter and swipe every night before bed. Doesn’t smell the best but it works for me.

  7. nancy styler says:

    I began to suffer from rosacea [with spots] in my late fifties. I tried all the over counter products that promise to reduce the redness and spots within hours ….they didn’t. i always felt an irritation under the spots which meant I was constantly touching…and made it worse. After 2 days of using the Somaluxe Redness Repair my skin felt calm. No the spots and redness didn’t disappear overnight but the skin felt so comfortable that I continued with it for that reason. After 1 week of the Somaluxe Redness repair there was an amazing improvement and after 2 weeks …..clear of spots and redness reduced . After a month my skin is the best it has been for 10 years.

  8. Marilyn Skianes says:

    After trying numerous prescription topicals with no luck, I found applying Vics Vaporub to my nose and cheeks has helped immensely!!

  9. chas Learned says:

    I use sun aged fermented Noni Juice. I take it internally and put it on my skin, it always improves my redness and moisturizes the skin fantastically. The longer Noni is in the sun the more potent it becomes.

  10. Bridget Cunningham says:

    I was diagnosed with Rosacea years ago. My dermatologist prescribed a daily-use antibiotic gel. I did not want to use an antibiotic on my face every day for the rest of my life. I did research on line to find alternative treatments. I found out about Sea Buckthorn Berry and Sea Buckthorn Seed Oils, both of which have significant anti-microbial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. I have been using Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil on my face since then. I have not had any signs of Rosacea, no redness, no Rosacea pimples, etc. for years. I have lovely skin. My source for bulk organic Sea Buckthorn oils is Blue Sage Naturals. Prices are affordable, and I am able to purchase more than some tiny little bottle, which I need, given that I use it every day, twice a day. I am grateful for Blue Sage Naturals and what for me has been the miracle of Sea Buckthorn oil.

  11. Ainslie says:

    Every night I cleanse my face with a small dab of coconut oil with warm water. I then us a cotton pad to remove as much of it as I can. I then rub a tiny amount of Rosiver on my face (its the only prescription cream that has ever worked for me). In the mornings I use a natural product by Weleda, ‘Evening Primrose Cream’.

  12. Some suggestions from the facebook thread.

    “Tri-Derma Redness Relief works for me. Walgreen’s online.”

    “Aloe Vera from trader joes Put it in the fridge and then cold To my face.. feels great”

    “Body cream with activated charcoal in it”

    “Neutragena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser CREAMY FORMULA- This is so mild, I can’t imagine anyone reacting to it–but do NOT use foaming cleansers because they are too harsh. I also ordered on Amazon, Science Based Lid Care Eyelid Wipes with Tree Tea Oil & Coconut Oil- They are very gentle and help with Ocular Rosacea which I have also. I tear them in half to conserve and fold the packet over a couple of times to seal. Use them on eyelids, eyebrows, and on nose and chin. Since I have been using them, the peeling roughness in nasal area has disappeared. I do rinse with cool water after using them. I use only at bedtime and do not use any creams. Keep your pillowcases, towels washed OFTEN– and use unscented detergent, for laundry, shampoo and products used on your face. Demodex mites are associated with rosacea. Tea tree oil alone is harsh and burns- NEVER use undiluted, but these are well tolerated. Google Dr. Sandra Lora Cremers (blog)for lots of good information on eyes and face cleaning that helps with rosacea and dry eyes. Also only use eye drops WITHOUT preservatives.”

    ” I order azelaic acid cream from Australia, where it is OTC”

    “Prosacea and Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque for blemishes.”

    “I use Purpose cleanser and only wash with cold water. I had been using Argan Oil by Josie Maran as a moisturiser in the morning and at night which has been helpful with breakouts and a little relief of redness, but a friend who is very much experienced with essential oils made a mixture for me to apply to my face and while I’ve only been using it a week, I think it may be working better for me than metrogel, finacea, prosacea, or argan oil. The true test will come this winter. My rosacea is at it’s worst during wintertime.”

    “Burts bees sensitive line and aveeno calming!”

    “Here in the UK, I’ve had success with Boots brand of Tea Tree Oil and Witch Hazel products. I’m fairly strict in my regime but over a period of time with liberal use of the cleanser/moisturiser and night time gel it’s very good for me.

    I might not be for everyone but it’s worth giving it ago.”

    “Clinique redness solutions is the best that I have found. Not great but better than anything else rx or otc.”

    “I have been using the Anti-Redness cleanser and moisturizer from Merle Norman, and 1.87% Ivermectin gel made for horses for breakouts. The combination has been amazing. Nothing has ever worked like this for me.”

    “Tea tree oil has worked the best for me but mine is always worse in the winter months for some reason. Before I started using it I had quit a few break outs but now only need it every now and then. The true test will be this winter.”

    “Tea tree oil & coconut oil”

    “With my rosacea I am Mainly red ,to the extreme where it’s purpleish red. My dermatologist recommended IPL treatments which are very pricey. I currently use anything ultra calming. dermalogica is my choice and even that is costly.”

  13. Alan says:

    Arrived in Aruba (lots of sunshine), here for 2 weeks. Waken this morning and my rosacea came back with a vengeance. In the past my dermatologist prescribed Orecea and after a small break-out I take the pills for a few days and it would be gone. Have not had a break-out in a year or two which lead me to not even consider bringing the pills. Any suggestions with home remedies would be appreciated. Saw the message about aloe-vera, something Aruba has a lot of, so today I’m going see what’s available.

    • Amie D McIntire says:

      I believe Oracea is a mini antibiotic which you can buy at a pharmacy in some countries without a prescription. You may want to check out that avenue.

      • Alan says:

        Thanks Amie, I did not know Oracea is OTC in several countries.

        I went out to the aloe farm where they have a gift shop here in Aruba and purchased a very pure form of Aruba aloe cream. Apply that at night before bed and take a a baby aspirin. Together with that I been drinking green tea after it cools. After three days of that I have been able to clear-up about 60-70% of the infected area. My wife has sun block that is skin-toned so that somewhat hides it. Big negative is I’m here in Aruba and making every effort to stay out of the sun. I am going into Orangestaad (Aruba’s large city) today where they have large pharmacy and going to see if the have Oracea without a prescription. If they do maybe I can purchase 10 pills to get me through till I return next week.

        Again thanks.

        • Amie D McIntire says:

          Good luck! I am heading to Mexico tomorrow and your comment helped remind me to bring a hat, sunscreen etc…so thank you!

  14. Marilyn Hesslewood says:

    I don’t have severe rosacea rather a steady supply of spots on my nose, mainly. Rosex cream from the doctor’s helps. I bought two products from the Body Shop and looked for a third item for the “three for two” offer and picked up their aloe Vera rescue mask for sensitive skin for no other reason than it was free. You’re supposed to use it twice a week and leave it on overnight (it’s not a mask in the traditional sense, rather a cream). I actually use it every night and after less than two weeks my rosacea has not reappeared and my skin feels softer and less angry. It has also calmed a patch of excema I have which is constantly irritated by my bra. This is amazing as nothing else has managed to do this! I will be buying more. Works for me but might not for everyone.

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