Xylometazoline (Otrivin) is another red face treatment


A brief extract today covering a paper detailing how the topical Xylometazoline can be used to treat the redness of rosacea.

Similar to oxymetazoline, xylometazoline is marketed as a nasal decongestant under many brand names. Brands you may come across include Otrivine, Otrivin, Sinutab Nasal Spray, Cirovin and Novorin.

Oxymetazoline is the active ingredient in over the counter products such as Afrin, Vicks Sinex and Visine. The potential side effects of oxymetazoline when applied topically include rebound redness, hypertension and palpitation.

We know that both oxymetazoline and xylometazoline are fast acting topical decongestants and that their effects are similar. Oxymetazoline was developed from Xylometazoline in 1961.


Even though the active ingredient discussed in this paper is readily available as a nasal decongestant, it doesn’t follow that applying Otrivin topically is a good idea. There are many other ingredients in these topicals that may be irritating to rosacea skin. Also you cannot be sure that you are applying the correct amount when you use a spray topically. Finally, the long term effects of the metazolines on skin won’t be known until a lot more research and trials are completed.

Some Good News

What is encouraging, though, is the fact that more researchers are looking at the metazoline family and that new treatments for the redness of rosacea are on the horizon.

Rosacea (erythematotelangiectatic type) effectively improved by topical xylometazoline.

J Dermatol. 2010 Nov 3. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2010.00999.x.

Kim JH, Oh YS, Ji JH, Bak H, Ahn SK., Department of Dermatology Institute of Basic Medical Science, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

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

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