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Supplements to Treat Rosacea

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In this Article

Calcineurin Inhibitors
Anxiety Medications
Vitamins for Rosacea
Vitamins to Avoid for Rosacea
Food Supplements for Rosacea

Additionally to topical treatments that are applied directly to the skin, many supplements and drugs fight rosacea symptoms from within. These systemic treatments are antimicrobial and antiparasitic compounds. They act by reducing the number of bacteria and other symbionts, thus reducing inflammation.

A doctor must prescribe systemic treatments as they usually have side effects. It is also essential to follow the instruction, not stopping the medication or prolonging it beyond the course length as this may cause the appearance of resistant organisms.


Antibiotics control rosacea symptoms by reducing the number of living organisms on human skin, thus reducing inflammation. Because antibiotics kill all bacteria, including beneficial bacteria, prolonged exposure may lead to problems with digestion and infections with yeast candida and bacteria staphylococcus.

Does Metrogel work for Rosacea?

The active ingredient of Metrogel is metronidazole. Metronidazole is an antibiotic and antiprotozoal medication. It reduces the number of bacteria, fungi, and mites on the skin, thus reducing inflammation. Metronidazole is often prescribed to treat rosacea in different forms, including Metrogel.

It is listed as a potential carcinogen and may cause a severe skin reaction.

Clinical Trials have Shown Clindamycin not to be Effective for Rosacea

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that stops bacterial growth by inhibiting their protein synthesis. It is effective and frequently used in acne treatments in the form of pills or intravenous injections.

Side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps and/or rash.

Several clinical trials did not show any effect of clindamycin on rosacea so it hasn’t shown to be beneficial for Rosacea.

Tetracycline Antibiotics

Antibiotics - derivatives of tetracycline act by inhibiting protein synthesis in a broad spectrum of bacteria. These antibiotics have a proven effect on rosacea and have been prescribed to treat the condition for several decades.

Common side effects include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash.

Common derivatives of tetracycline are doxycycline and oxytetracycline.

Doxycycline for Rosacea

Doxycycline from the tetracycline antibiotics family is often prescribed for the treatment of rosacea. 

he prescription determines how long you take antibiotics, including tetracycline and its derivative doxycycline. The course usually takes several months. It’s vital to finish the course, as an interrupted course can have a brief effect. On the other hand, it’s essential not to take antibiotics longer than prescription. The longer you take an antibiotic, the more probability that bacteria will become resistant to it.


Oxycycline from the tetracycline antibiotics family is often prescribed for the treatment of rosacea.

How Long Does Oxytetracycline, Tetralysal and Lymecycline Take to Work on Rosacea?

Antibiotics-derivatives of tetracycline, including oxytetracycline, lymecycline, and tetralysal, are often prescribed to treat rosacea. They have an anti-inflammatory effect. It takes time for oxytetracycline to work and reduce inflammation processes, so you should not expect an immediate impact. Some effect can be seen about a week after the start of the course, but the full impact will be apparent only at the end of the prescription course.


Clonidine is a drug that, among other uses, reduces blood pressure. It is effective against menopausal flushing and to minimize skin redness in rosacea. Common side effects include dry mouth, dizziness, and headaches. Severe effects include heart arrhythmia, hallucinations, and confusion.

Calcineurin Inhibitors

Calcineurin is a protein that activates the T cells of the immune system. Calcineurin inhibitors block the protein action, preventing immune system activation, and reducing inflammation. The compounds of this class are moderately effective against rosacea.

Common side effects include local skin irritation or a burning and itching. The side effects occur more frequently than with other treatments, up to 50% of the people developing them.


Beta-blockers is a class of medication used to treat abnormal heart rhythm and high blood pressure. Beta-blockers such as nadolol, carvedilol, and propranolol were used in clinical trials to reduce rosacea flashing and had a good efficiency close to the efficacy of taking antibiotic doxycycline. Beta-blockers can also have an anti-anxiety effect.

Adverse drug reactions associated with the use of beta-blockers include nausea, diarrhea, breathing difficulty, cold hands, and feet.

Anxiety Medications

People with rosacea have higher incidences of embarrassment, social anxiety, depression. These psychological effects can be caused by the adverse effect of rosacea on the appearance. Anti-anxiety medications efficiently improve the quality of life of people with rosacea. It is recommended to combine it with treatments that reduce skin redness.

The side effects depend on the medication prescribed in each specific case.

Vitamins for Rosacea

As with many skin conditions, several vitamins are beneficial in rosacea treatment. First of them, Vitamin A and its derivatives, retinoids, as well as vitamin B3 (niacin). They have anti-inflammatory properties and normalise skin cells turnover.

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an antioxidant and antioxidants reduce inflammation. Is vitamin C good for rosacea? The conventional wisdom backed by some research is that vitamin C is good for rosacea treatment. However, taking high doses of vitamin C in the form of pills are currently falling out of favour with clinicians. Eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins is a better way of getting enough vitamins.

2. Vitamin B3

A derivative of vitamin B3 produced by the body, nicotinamide, has anti-inflammatory properties. Nicotinamide increases collagen synthesis, improving the overall structure, moisture, and elasticity of the skin. Using B3 in a gel applied to areas of rosacea reducing symptoms, including the number of papules.

Vitamin B3 may be toxic in high doses and is thought to cause liver toxicity.

3. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a group of chemically similar compounds. They are involved in enzymatic reactions to metabolise glucose, amino acids, and lipids. Vitamin B6 deficiency leads to widening of capillaries sothis vitamin can reduce rosacea symptoms.

It is water-soluble and its excess should be removed from the organism with urine. However, using the surplus of supplements sometimes leads to B6 accumulation and toxicity. It can cause neurotoxicity resulting in numbness of hands and feet.

4. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a group of compounds that protects cell membranes against oxidation. While governmental organization recommends consuming 7 to 15 mg per day, an average person receives about 6 mg. Thus taking additional amounts of vitamin E topically or orally. is beneficial. There are no side effects of using too much vitamin E.

Clinical trials have shown that vitamin E supplements in women increase skin elasticity and reduce its dryness.

5. Microelements

Microelements work in enzymatic reactions in minimal quantities. High level of food processing means that they are often removed from the food. The scarcity of microelements leads to enzyme activity deficiencies in the organism, which can lead to inflammation.

Examples of microelements important for rosacea are magnesium and selenium.

6. Selenium

Selenium is a non-metal similar to sulfur and is a part of some proteins. Selenium deficiency can cause blood vessel dilation that leads to skin redness - a symptom of rosacea. Supplementing selenium can alleviate rosacea symptoms, but people rarely suffer from selenium deficiency, as it is abundant in vegetables and nuts.

7. Magnesium

Magnesium is a metal used in DNA metabolism and is one of the most essential metals in our body. Magnesium deficiency leads to capillaries dilation so it can be a cause of rosacea. Low magnesium is common, it is found in 2.5–15% of the general population.

Vitamins to Avoid for Rosacea

Retinol for Rosacea

Retinol or vitamin A and its derivatives are often prescribed as a remedy for various skin conditions including rosacea. In the case of rosacea potent retinol derivatives used if antibiotic therapy was inefficient. Vitamin A derivatives such tretinoin can reduce pustules but can make redness and spider veins more prominent. Vitamin A itself is a milder form and has fewer side effects, so it's safer to use.

Food supplements for Rosacea


Soy contains phytohormones close to human female hormones estrogens. Soy supplements have been shown to prolong skin health and regeneration, improve skin firmness. This is especially important for perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women that frequently expedience rosacea.

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Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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