Top 5 Cheap Rosacea Treatments


Distressed with the expense of exotic rosacea treatments ? The stress of rosacea is enough without also having to worry about how to afford treatments. Finding affordable rosacea treatments is a real challenge.

So here we go; my top 5 suggestions to help you find cheap rosacea treatments.

1. Make your own cleanser

Colloidal Oatmeal has promise as natural product because of it’s cleansing, moisturizing, buffering, soothing, protecting and anti-inflammatory properties.

While products like Linda Sy’s Mild Oatmeal Facial Cleanser and Aveeno Oatmeal Anti-Itch are not cheap recommendations, you should be able to source colloidal oatmeal easily from a health food store. 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. The small particle size and the way that it disperses in water means that when it deposits on the skin it forms an occlusive barrier.

Try mixing a small amount of Colloidal Oatmeal with warm water and lathering it on your face. Gently remove it with cool water.

See also the Homemade Mixes Forum and the Custom Topical Formulations resources page for more suggestions on making your own super cheap topicals.

2. Use generic prescriptions

Newer releases of antibiotics like Oracea and Solodyn can be extremely expensive, especially without medical insurance. One alternative is to discuss with your doctor the possibility of trying generic doxycycline instead.

Doses of 50mg a day of doxycycline will closely match the amount of active antibiotic in Oracea and Solodyn. Higher doses many also be of benefit until the inflammation of rosacea subsides. Generic doxycycline is far more affordable that these 2 newly released re-packaged antibiotics.

Another possibility is to ask your doctor about generic metronidazole. The patent for metrogel (the 0.75% version specifically) has expired so generic equivalents are now available in several countries around the world. For more information see generic metrogel.

3. Hunt for Bargain Suggestions

Many of the `regular’ treatments for rosacea such as systemic and topical antibiotics are quite expensive. Be on the hunt for things you can try that are more reasonably priced. Here are some suggestions

  • Prosacea: this can be sourced over the counter at places like Walgreens and Rite Aid for around $10. It seems to be an ok treatment for rosacea. Prosacea is based on a sulphur preparation.
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream or Lotion are two under-rated skincare products. They are cheap, mild and easily available. If you can incorporate these in to your daily skincare regime then you are off to a good start to cheaply caring for your rosacea skin.
  • Try to source a cheap zinc oxide based sunscreen. Some countries have cancer foundations that are good at providing affordable, simple sunscreens. You might be fortunate enough to find a low irritant formulation free of chemical sunscreens.

4. Manufacturer Rebates

Drug manufacturers recognise that their products can still be quite expensive by the time they get to the consumer. To try to mitigate this impost, rebates or coupons are sometimes offered.

A quick search revealed the following ; $10 Mail-In Rebate for Metrogel, and Save $10 on Finacea Instantly.

The very expensive Oracea also offers a Savings Card where you could save $25 per prescription for those without prescription insurance and help some insured patients pay no more than $25 per month. The similarly expensive Solodyn is also offering a $35 rebate.

One program that you may not be aware of is offered by Galderma. Galderma will provide Oracea and Metrogel FREE for low income and no insurance sufferers of rosacea.

While these manufacturer rebates come and go, keep an eye out for promotions offered by the manufacturers. Be aware of all the small print also as refunds can take many weeks to arrive, and promotions can be revoked at any time.

5. Ask for Physician Samples

When new drugs are being promoted, the sales team are desperate to find as many outlets as possible. This might mean that your doctor or specialist has drug samples just waiting to be handed out. Check with your local doctor’s surgery, and maybe even ring a few dermatologist to see if they ever get samples from the drug companys’ sales teams.

You might be lucky enough to find a good source for free samples. This is one asset that is worth trying to chase down and link up with.

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Please Help

`Cheap’ and `Rosacea Treatment’ don’t often appear together in the same sentence. Treatments, especially prescription treatments that have been developed and marketed for rosacea sufferers are notoriously expensive – to the point of being unobtainable for many.

Do you have any recommendations for your fellow rosacea sufferers that are on a budget ?

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

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39 Reader Comments

  1. diana says:

    Straight, or mixed with slightly warm water, raw lemon juice works great in reducing the redness and cleansing. I do it once/day.

  2. Jerry says:

    My case is fairly mild, but I have begun just washing with Dove soap, and gotten away from “scrubs” and irritating cleansers. In addition, my dermatologist has prescribed a cream consisting of 2% sulfur and 1% hydrocortisone. In a week or so the symptoms nearly went away. You apply it twice daily after washing, and it costs about $8 for a months supply. It is a prescription and you have to find a pharmacy who will mix it. Most big chains won’t be bothered, but Rite-Aid in my town will do it.

    • hr044 says:

      Please be very careful of hydrocortisone !! At first it works wonders: you stop – you flare up worse – you apply ointment – it stops – you flare up even worse… And so on forever.

  3. annie says:

    Though there is not yet a generic substitute for 1% Metrogel, there IS a generic for .75% Metrogel, and no real difference between the effectiveness of the two. Ask your doc to prescribe the generic of the .75% Metrogel. The difference in cost is huge. Not all pharmacies have the .75% in stock, but most do. Many will tell you the .75% does not come in a generic, but it absolutely does!

  4. Hi Annie, generic metrogel is easily available in Australia, but I hear that is it sometimes hard to find for sale in the US – but it is definitely worth trying to source to save some money.

  5. Marion says:

    I tried it all. Won’t bore you with the details except to say this has been working for me. No more foundation I only use an eye pencil to define my eyes. To remove that I use a make-up pad, put a dab of Exact Skin Cleanser around the eye area only. Then wet a fresh make-up pad and dab the eye area enough to moisten. I take another make up remover pad moistened with apple cider vinegar and gently go over my face area only. Not my eye area. Without rinsing I immediately apply plain old glycerin.You can buy it at the drug store. It works as a barrier and keeps the skin moist. If you do this routine at night your good to go in the morning. This is the only moisturizer I use. No more moisturizers with tons of chemicals that are absorbed by your body you can’t even pronounce. Maybe that’s why we have rosacea. Maybe what we really have is a chemical sensitivity called “rosacea.” Read the ingredients of all the products you use before before you even get out the door in the morning. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving creme, Toothpaste, moisturizers, deodorant, hair products, make-up, toners, sunscreen, perfumes, lip balm, lip glosses. Read and list them all. You’ll be shocked at how many products are being absorbed by your body every morning and each night. Visualize the total amount being absorbed by your body over the course of a year. You get the idea?

  6. Pinky says:

    Mild soaps such as hypoallergenic Dove, etc. burned my face during my first flare of Rosacea. My dermatologist offered me a sample of VaniCream, a bar soap. Extremely gentle. Didn’t feel any sting while using it.

    Aveeno’s calming skin line is comforting. WalMart sells these products at a reasonable price.

  7. Wendy says:

    I have found the Clinique redness solution helpful and the only thing that does not cause a flare. I use the mild cleanser to wash my face and the moisturizer.

    I just ordered Zenmed.

  8. Gorka says:

    Wash with Dove soap morning and evening, rinse well and apply IMMEDIATELY a rich cream such as Nivea Vital triple action, night and day versions accordingly. Your skin will never be dry or itchy. Cover redness with l’Oréal mineral powder. No other treatments required. Never apply lemon or vinegar to the face!!!!

  9. Sharon says:

    I just tried Oracea for 5 months and it works no better, maybe less, than the 100mg Minocyline daily dose that I was taking for the past 10 years. Not worth the extra cost even w/ the $25 special. Oracea’s regular price is over $300 for a 1 month supply and my pharmacy told me most insurance will not cover.

  10. H. Webb says:

    I discovered that Medicare will not accept the drug company discount cards that lower the cost of rosacea brand name drugs. So, don’t try to use the discount card if you are on Medicare.

  11. Eva Visszmeg says:

    had a spot like a needle, on my nose. scin specialist gave me solaraze 3%,gel.I am using it 4 weeks, now it,s red swalen and itchy and hurts .what should I do?

  12. Aurora Kelly says:


  13. Gorka says:

    I don’t agree with the idea of putting lemon juice or vinegar on the face.These are very strong acids and they make a major attack the delicate biosystem of the skin.

    The skin should be treated in the gentlest manner possible, with neutral skin preparations like Dove or Cetaphil soap and their corresponding protective lotions applied immediately after washing.

  14. lori beth says:

    I use Cerave as a gentle cleanser. It has done wonders with my face. Before going to bed I put on Finacea gel……..just a slight amount….the tube has lasted me a very long time. Thanks….

  15. Kaye says:

    I thought Rosacea was “just” a redness that appeared on the face, until I developed a papular eruption on my face that acne treatments did nothing for. After being diagnosed with the Papular Rosacea, I have been washing my face twice a day with CETAPHIL cleanser, applying ROZEX gel & then CETAPHIL moisturiser… this has improved my skin greatly. I also wear a hat out in the sun & drink water much more than I did previously. Thanks everyone for support, when I found this web site I felt it allowed me to gain a good overview of what options are available,,THANKS

  16. Marie says:

    I’ve tried a lot of fancy moisturizers and cleansers for sensitive/ prone to redness skin (e.g. Avene, La Roche-Posay), and some fancy “natural” products (e.g. ZENMED), all of rather expensive, but they’ve just made things worst. Even the Cetaphil gentle cleanser (which, at least, was much more affordable) didn’t seem to be gentle enough for my skin (I suspect the paraben).

    I finally discover that the simpler products are the best for me; from now, I use SpectroGel as a cleanser and the Glaxal Base as a moisturizer and my skin feels much better. Both are inexpensive, and you can easily find them in most drugstores in Canada. They do not contain any parfum, paraben, and only “fatty” alcohols.

    As chemical sunscreen would irritate my skin, I use physical sunscreens (with zinc and titanium), and I finally found one, from Cliniderm, which do not make my skin looks too white (the cream has a weird yellow teint, but once applied on my face, it almost look as if I was not wearing sunscreen). Jojoba oil, followed by my usual cleanser, is useful to remove it at the end of the day. For days I don’t feel about wearing sunscreen, I simply use an umbrella.

    Cutting off dairy products, citrus, tomatoes and drinking a lot of water, and focusing on spiritual matters also help.

    Best of luck to you!


  17. Comment via email from Veronica.

    “I find that cutting down on wine, keeping out of the sun, and washing with Dove soap immediately followed by a gentle neutral cream, are all sensitive skin needs to keep redness at bay, but I do need to put two or three dots of a cosmetic cover stick, like a beige lipstick, on my cheeks to look better.”

    • Pat Graves says:

      I’m years late in even seeing this artile. I have a mild case of rosacea. Mostly heat (sun) or really hot wearher, red wine, rum, and only some spicey foods will trigger mine. When it got bad in 1992 or 3 and involved my eyes, my doctor put me on the Metrogel. I tried it for about 6 weeks, but it didn’t help at all. When I went back to my doctor he put me on 100th of Minocycline HCL. I’ve been taking it for close to 15 years perhaps more. It’s kept everything reasonably well controlled except when one of my triggers sets it off. That is until I had breast cancer (notice the HAD) and went through the 21 days of the “Canadian Intense” radiation. I broke out on my chest above the breast including the papular eruptions. When I saw the radiologist he said “Oh you have Shingles!”

      As I had had the Shingles vaccination I didn’t think it was as it burned and itched, not like a shingles rash that is painful due to the nerve involvement. I went to my family doctor who sai, “That’s not like any Shingles I’ve ever seen and I had t myself!”

      I went home and researched rashes. The only thing I could find was Rosacea. I had to self diagnosis myself. I called my doctor and asked if I could double the Minocycline. I got an affirmative answer. A week later the rash and most of the redness was gone. Again a “self diagnosis” ~ I determined that the heat from the radiation caused it. Although you don’t feel the heat of course it’s there on a deeper level. When the radiation was finished I went back to 1 capsule a day.

      I have just recently been very actively researching cancer rot causes. Many Natural health doctor’s and scientists believe it is due to a compromised immune system due to all the massive toxins we are constantly exposed to daily.

      One of the major causes for the immune system problems is taking antibiotics as they not only kill the bad bacteria in the gut, where the majority of the immune system lies, but they also kill the good bacteria. I’ve stopped the Minocycline and begun a natural food diet, including organic food where possible, lots of fruits and veggies and the addition of both prebiotics and probiotics. So far no problems., but I’ve only been taking them for about a week.

      Has anyone tried organic, cold pressed, coconut oil? Or Vitamin E oil? I’m going to go on the supposition that since Rosaea is an autoimmune disease the immune system is involved and needs to be balanced.

      I hope all who suffer with Rosacea find their own solution. Blessings to all! (Please forgive any typos as I’m on my cellphone and a tiny keyboard!)

      • Marg Sharp says:

        You really are onto something! Check out Dr Steven R Gundry’s “The Plant Paradox” book…it has a program of dietary changes I’ve been on for 4 months now..NO MORE:
        Rosacea, high blood glucose [A1c now 5.3!], osteopenia, hyperlipidemia, depression, anxiety, hypertension, overweight [now 137 lbs!]. Check it out!

  18. Helen says:

    I use rosex when things get bad but my cheap good find is oilatum cream (liquid parrafin based). I use it as a cleanser and moisturer.
    Can anyone recommend a good reasonably priced gentle sunblock?

  19. hank says:

    I was using Head and Shoulders shampoo for a dry scalp flaking problem. Some of the suds were on my face and i noticed improvement in my rosacea. Switched to Selsun Blue shampoo and found it even more helpful than the Head and Shoulders.

  20. Jill F. says:

    If you can get your doctor to write a prescription for a generic medication, I suggest you do that. This can save you a lot of money. If there is no generic equivalent available, you can get drug coupons at And if you have no insurance, this company also has a prescription discount card. I have saved a lot of money over the past few years for everyone in my family.

  21. Mike says:

    Please use sodium sulfur cleanser – it works the best for rosaca and very cheap – just ask doctor for prescription and it costs less than 40 dollars without insurance (generics are avaiable in US)

  22. pat calaway says:

    mild oatmeal soap works for me,and I use Neosporin eczema daily moisturizing cream

  23. Hawkeye1 says:

    First time on here today.

    Thanks to my eye dr. finally diagnosing accurately what had been a chronic condition I had been suffering from these last three years, Ocular Rosacea, combined with my own recent review of the academic research for this condition mid-December 2014- I do want this website to know, one simple treatment action, not mentioned specifically in most recommended treatment options in the research literature, that has immediately resulted in an almost complete cessation of all my symptoms.

    My dramatic relief – complete cessation of symptoms since 12/24/14 of this condition resulted from cutting off intake of any vitamin supplements containing Vitamin D.

    That, in combination with 3-times daily solute of Borax and 1% of Hydrogen Peroxide eye cleaning and face compresses has resulted in it being 95% GONE… No eye itching, no swelling of the eyelids or face, skin finally not red, and healed to like it was before this started.

    The three weeks prior to this turnaround in mid-December 2014, my condition had increased in severity, so much that I was unable to go out into public for days, due to the extreme swelling and redness, I thought I was too scary for other people to see. For this condition I had been taking as You had prescribed… doxycycline 100 mg, and erythromycin ointment, (which had diminishing effects to help me during that last bad recurrence)

    I’d be interested in hearing from Rosacea sufferers, try this simple change – and post – either way – whether they get relief – I did – Major reduction in symptoms within 3 days of cessation of taking Vitamin D supplements.

    I am available to talk about this further in detail.

    Please reference one link that helped me try that – also see Dr. Gallo’s research.

    All the Best – Hawkeye….:

  24. Robin says:

    I was also diagnosed with rosacea by my opthamologist after having experienced a series of styes, swollen eyes so she recommended treatment through dermatology to manage overall symptoms but did prescribe a regime of doxycycline and more thorough washing of eyes every day. The dermatologist started me off with finacea which was somewhat helpful but very drying. Also sunscreens. Cetaphil and Aveeno products were recommended. I have also tried the Prosacea Creme.

    So the borax/hydrogen peroxide eye cleaning solution – does that come over the counter already mixed? Is it also good for the face? Dermatologist recently prescribed daily 40mg Oratio, sulfacetamide sodium pads, and Noritate Cream to the tune of $1000’s of dollars a month. I can get 40mg of doxycycline to reduce cost but the other two prescriptions don’t seem to have generics available in U.S. Sulfacetamide was $447 for 60 pads, Noritate Cream was $1027 for 60 capsules.

    Thanks for all the recommendations and comments. Very helpful.

    • Hawk1234 says:

      Hi Robin. Well the Key for me – was discontinuing any supplements containing any kind of Vitamin D.

      So try that first….

      Re the eye solution – No I have to mix it myself – most stores sell a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide liquid solution. I bought 2 ounce glass bottles with built-in glass dropper lids, on E-Bay cheap 6 went for less than 10 bucks. but Borax powder – (Ace hardware had it near me,) and just put filtered or distilled water poured thru the powder borax in any coffee filter, the, mix the borax water into the dropper bottle in a ratio 2 drops of Borax water to 1 drop of peroxide. the stuff seems to keep well for a few weeks when sealed.

      For me – the doxycycline pills once at night and 2 to 3 times a day eye treatment with the liquid on paper towels on my eyes has kept the redness away, and very little swelling.

      All the best – Hawkeye.

  25. maria says:

    I too suffer from Rosacea i get so flared up it looks as if I have a sunburn and it is annoying. I recently learned that taking a Probiotic supplement may help with us Rosacea sufferers. I went and bought me a bottle of supplements will try tomorrow my first dose, people swear by taking a Probiotic it helps out since the problem is inside our bodies not the outside..I also have heard of applying a lemon to the face and it helps out I did try that tonight I will see how that goes, wish all the Rosacea sufferers the best of luck..

  26. Rglater says:

    There is a huge difference in cost between generic metronizadole and generic metronizadole for vaginal use but no difference in recipe. Maybe a third to half the cost.

  27. Elsabe Rennie says:

    What product do you suggest I use that is available in South Africa?

    • Margarete Sharp says:

      Check out Dr Steven R Gundry’s “The Plant Paradox” book…it has a program of dietary changes I’ve been on for 4 months now..NO MORE:
      Rosacea, high blood glucose [A1c now 5.3!], osteopenia, hyperlipidemia, depression, anxiety, hypertension, overweight [now 137 lbs!]. Check it out!

  28. Beverly says:

    Has anyone tried Dermaced?

  29. Charlene says:

    Does anyone get large swollen lips from Rosacea? The doctor told me I have rosacea in my lips? I have it all over my face and eyes but the lips are knew this time. Please help. Thanks

    • chet says:

      C~ I hope you have improved by this time; however, keep in mind for many the dominant triggers are the sun and STRESS. For me things that raise my temp, including real spicy foods too , but not wine in my case. Each is different. I have seen flare-up affect the lips too; it does seem to be caused by a ‘run-down’ immune system. Again, STRESS can decrease our immunity big time. Plenty of rest or sleep is important in safeguarding our immune system. Many supplements such as Olive Leaf Extract, probiotics, curcumin, high quality fish oils, and the like can support immunity. Just a few suggestions to consider

  30. KG Gilfillan says:

    My partner suffers badly in his upper cheeks/eye area and down the sides of his nose – really hits his confidence and then obviously the more stressed he gets the worse it flares up. Doctor is wholely unsympathetic – have advised him to request a different one at the surgery – we have noticed some improvement of late though with starting some of the natural supplements from above suggestions and starting to look for a sunscreen – we thought the sun and sea air would be good for it – NOPE
    We’ve found so far a decent around a fiver one is Shade All Natural Mineral Sunscreen spf25 – it only has four ingredients and zero chemicals – so far is a yes so fingers crossed cos our other idea was the Aveeno sun cream and jeez not cheap!
    Can I grind up regular oatmeal to use? Would collideal silver water help?

  31. ladybugred says:

    I’ve had rosacea for 20 years, visited three different dermatologists. Yes, the meds helped when I was taking them, but as soon as I stopped, rosacea returned. Just now I found out that with restricting of sugar and carbohydrates, for two weeks, my rosacea is about 90% gone. Please give it a try, no doctor will tell you this, because there is no money for them in this treatment. I started with sugar reduction slowly for about a week, and them started not eating carbohydrates the next week. Now I’m two months of very low sugar & carbohydrates restrictions, and will never go back. Good luck, please try this diet, and let us know if it works for you.

  32. tomato says:

    @KG Gilfillan:
    Colloidal silver unfortunately has some nasty side effects and can accumulate in the body over time (it is a heavy metal after all). There are better anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial substances around nowadays, like ivermectin, topical antibiotics, sulphur compounds and metronizadole.

    I’ve personally used my cat’s ivermectin (yeah I know, but it was about 10€ and I had leftovers) on and off, and found a great, cheap unscented moisturizer (“Nivea sensitive” in Germany, not sure if it’s available in other countries) containing glycyrrhizin/licorice extract. I suppose you could get some licorice extract and put a few drops in the colloidal oatmeal mix?
    Green tea also works for me. When I developed ocular symptoms (blepharitis) putting cool wet green tea bags (after drinking the tea ofc) on my eyelid 3x a day for 10m has really helped with the swelling (which the antibiotic eye gel my doctor prescribed didn’t, although it probably did kill a lot of bacteria). Generally speaking, most herbal treatments tend to be of the cheaper kind:

    I personally would not recommend lavender and camphor oil as they are both irritants, as well as undiluted tea tree oil (I’m not sure exactly how diluted it should be though, I’ve searched the web and nobody seems to agree on that). Also, some people with pollen allergies can get severe allergic reactions to chamomile. The active ingredient in chamomile, bisabolol, contains no allergens and can be found in most of the DIY ingredients shops that carry licorice extract as well.

    According to some websites I found people do make their own colloidal oatmeal. I’m going to try it myself soon, I guess the larger, coarse variety of oatmeal should be better as it contains more of the whole oat grain than the finer ones. I’ve made buckwheat flour in my blender before so it should work with oats too. That and a very fine sieve or nylon stocking. We’ll see.

    I’m also currently using a cheap azelaic acid suspension (10%) from The Ordinary which costs 1/4 of the prescription version (15%)… and honestly I don’t see much of a difference. The former is slightly crumbly while the latter is sticky, but they both reduce the redness in my face a lot. Haven’t done a side by side comparison though as I would need to get another prescription and buy the sticky expensive gel again to do that.
    Sadly, it’s getting worse again due to weather – I cycle to work and wearing a ski mask will 100% get you pulled over by the police, every. single. time. Other (less threatening looking) face masks keep sliding off my nose.

  33. Rosalie Cooper says:

    My daughter has mild Rosacea but she has tightness and pain she has tried everything nothing works. When she washes with cetaphil her face feels tight and burning. Don’t know what to use

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