Rosacea and Antibiotics

Ok, this blog might be a bit heavy going for some of you –and it is quite long - but I think its important to cover the basics of why anti biotics are sometimes prescribed for the treatment of rosacea. So apologies in advance …but here goes!!

Anti biotics are mainly prescribed for type 2 rosacea ie. where there is persistent redness plus acne like bumps.

In some cases of type 1 where there is extensive flushing then anti biotics may also be prescribed.

(I have type 1 and I was prescribed metrogel by my GP when I was first diagnosed with rosacea. Metrogel is an anti biotic gel but to be honest I found it didn’t work for me. My break through was realising that by sorting out my skincare with clean products and stabilising the skin barrier with natural plant oils - my skin used to be as dry as a bone - the rosacea/redness lessened all by itself) …

Ok enough about me –what about you?

  • How Anti biotics Work

Antibiotics control rosacea by working in an anti inflammatory role rather than what you might think would be an anti bacterial role, by reducing the overall inflammation of your skin and also the number of pimples and the amount of redness around pimples

With antibiotic treatment, symptoms usually improve in 3 to 4 weeks, with greater improvement seen in 2 months. In fact according to the Irish society of Dermatologists they believe Type 2 rosacea is the easiest to control because it responds so well to anti biotics. …..Type 2 sufferers might disagree with this!

Topical treatments – creams and gels

For mild rosacea, topical medications are usually tried first. The anti biotic medication most often recommended is metronidazole (Metrogel). This is sometimes used in combination with azelaic acid –an anti bacterial (eg. Finacea gel 15%)

Oral antibiotics

If your symptoms are more severe, an oral antibiotic medication may be recommended - are usually taken for four to six weeks.

A low-dose form of doxycycline (Oracea) – works well to clear up inflamed skin within the first few weeks. It doesn't usually cause any side effects as the dose is low so that it only acts as an anti inflammatory and not an anti biotic- so this is the one to start with.

Another oral anti biotic - Isotretinoin (Accutane) is also occasionally used to treat severe and resistant rosacea and is often used after other therapies have failed.

  • Oral antibiotics destroy some of the normal and necessary bacteria that live in the body. Eating yogurt that contains active cultures may help prevent some of these side effects as does taking a probiotic eg Udos probiotics for adults available on
  • An antibiotic that works for one person who has rosacea may not work for another.
  • Over time, antibiotics can stop being effective. When this occurs, a different antibiotic may be used.
  • Some antibiotics are not safe for pregnant women
  • Some anti biotics make your skin more sun sensitive so a high spf is needed at all times.

My own Opinion on The Use of Anti biotics for treatment of Rosacea.

What about if I had type 2? Well, I believe it depends on the severity of the rosacea.

If my skin looked like this, I would use a topical anti biotic on those areas where the pimples are present. If that wasn’t working then I would move on to a mild oral anti biotic eg. Oracea

Gently does it at all stages!

In both cases though, I would first try a very very small amount of tea tree oil or oil of oregano made up in a solution of jojoba oil or grapeseed oil to see if the problem is an overabundance of the demodex mite – for more info –see blog section of

Ditto goes for this guy – though I think in his case, the topical would work and there would be no need to move on to oral anti biotics…

In this case, which is severe type 2 rosacea - after first trying the tea tree or oil of oregano /jojoba/rosehip solution, I think oral anti biotics are the way to go….

I believe that the use of anti biotics in medium to severe type 2 rosacea should be used to give the sufferer a breather where the skin can improve, the sufferer feels better, and also feels better equipped to find out what the underlying causes are – ie. to concentrate on an anti inflammatory diet and lifestyle…..

So what is the Natural Alternative to Anti biotics?

“I have been taking Oregano Oil capsules which work like a powerful but natural antibiotic. I cannot believe the results in just a few days. Inflamed itching and burning is gone and p&p's will be gone in another day or two by the looks of things. I'm over the moon. “ posted on an on line rosacea forum by a New Zealand contributor.

“And six weeks into Oil of Oregano, the rosacea is still improving!! Better still this Oil seems to have cured my chronic digestive problem. This has worked where everything else has failed...and believe me i have tried almost everything!” North Wales contributor to rosacea online forum is currently selling oil of oregano capsules for € 17.50 plus p&p - these usually retail at over € 20

Ok that’s it for another couple of weeks – hope I haven’t put you to sleep and that its been of some help. Again if you think it might be of help to someone else pass it along…

Keep the faith – until next time!