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Oxymetazoline Cream for Rosacea Treatment

Learn more about oxymetazoline cream including how it can improve rosacea symptoms and how common rebound redness is with this medication.

Read on

There are quite a few Rosacea treatments on the market but recently added medications like Oxymetazoline are moving up the ranks of treatment options.

This new option helps provide Rosacea symptom relief without patients having to overly rely on antibiotic-based solutions, which can come with problems like antibiotic resistance.

Let’s jump into the basics of Oxymetazoline treatment for Rosacea, its interesting start as a totally different medication, and where you can find it.

What is Oxymetazoline?

Oxymetazoline is a medication that works on the Alpha receptors in the tiny vessels under your skin to produce constriction, or narrowing.


Read Related: How our Rosacea Cream Gets the Red Out

What medication was Oxymetazoline first used in?

Oxymetazoline was initially used in a popular over-the-counter spray for nasal congestion called Afrin!

While the connection between nasal congestion and Rosacea may not be readily apparent. When you think about the underlying issues, you can see how Oxymetazoline works for both.

Both conditions are mostly driven by small vessels dilating or “opening up” too far.

  • In the nose - this causes the vessels to occupy more space in the nasal mucosa and reducing the nasal space available to breathe easily, causing the congested feeling.
  • In the skin - over-dilation of the small vessels causes redness and a flushing sensation.

While the concentrations used are different for each condition, the idea remains the same.

Fun Fact: Before Oxymetazoline was made into a more potent and skin-friendly cream, some dermatologists identified Afrin’s Rosacea benefits and directed patients to rub the nasal spray into their skin during flare-ups!

 Also Read: The Top Rosacea Medications: The Latest in Rosacea Treatments

How does Oxymetazoline cream work for Rosacea?

Since Oxymetazoline works by narrowing the vessels under the skin, this helps directly counteract the vessel dilation (or “opening up”) that occurs during Rosacea flare-ups to cause redness and flushing.

Oxymetazoline 1% has been found to reduce redness by up to 2 grades (on a patient-reported scale) for up to 12 hours after application.

Oxymetazoline topical may also help combat the stinging and burning sensations that come along with rosacea flares.

Oxymetazoline is applied once daily in a light layer on the face (usually a pea-sized amount), avoiding the eyes and lips, and washing your hands directly after application.


Oxymetazoline VS Oxymetazoline HCL

You may have seen Oxymetazoline (or many other medications!) written as Oxymetazoline HCL or Oxymetazoline hydrochloride.

The HCL stands for Hydrochloride which means that this chemical is used in its salt form to help it dissolve in water and get into your system better.

As you can see, it is not directly “attached” to the chemical (It’s attached by a “salt bond”), as it just helps usher it into the body.

With Oxymetazoline, and with most HCL salt medications, the HCL does not lend a therapeutic effect to the drug.

As long as you see the first word “Oxymetazoline” you don’t really need to worry about the salt form notation with this medication.

And while a salt form may alter a formula calculation when compared to a pure non-salt form chemical - this is already taken into account by your pharmaceutical scientist or compounding pharmacist!

Pro Tip: Even though it is called a “salt”, this doesn’t mean it is “salty” in the way you are thinking, so no worries for those that are keeping an eye on their sodium intake!

What is rebound redness?

Rebound redness is an effect where a medication that is supposed to reduce facial redness, rebounds into causing more facial redness.

Weird, right?

This is thought to occur from the body trying to counterbalance the constriction by downregulating the Alpha receptors.

This is a much larger issue with topical Brimonidine (Mirvaso) and is less likely to occur with Oxymetazoline (Rhofade).

One study found rebound redness in 8-10% of patients with Brimonidine treatment, but only 1% of patients treated with Oxymetazoline had this effect.

However, you may be part of the 1% where rebound redness is a problem with Oxymetazoline. So, be on the lookout for symptoms and talk with your doctor if it occurs.

Also Read: Coffee and Rosacea: Everything You Need To Know

Where to find topical Oxymetazoline?

Topical Oxymetazoline is a prescription-only medication.

Oxymetazoline is found as the only component in a cream medication called Rhofade, or from a compounding pharmacy in combination Rosacea products.

In our Rosacea Formula, we combine Oxymetazoline with Azelaic Acid to deliver a potent pharmacist-developed combination therapy to tame those flare-ups.

You can have a free online questionnaire-based consultation with our U.S. licensed physicians.

If Oxymetazoline Rosacea therapy is a good fit for you, we can ship the medication discreetly and quickly to your door.

Oxymetazoline cream for Rosacea: Bottom line

  • Oxymetazoline is a chemical that works on Alpha-adrenergic receptors to contract small vessels under the application site.
  • This was first used at a much lower concentration in a popular nasal spray called Afrin.
  • Oxymetazoline has been found to help with the redness, flushing, stinging, and burning associated with Rosacea.
  • The “HCL” in the name notates that it is in a salt form, but this does not change how Oxymetazoline will work for you.
  • Rebound redness is a side effect where the redness seems to come back worse after treatment.
  • Rebound redness is found more commonly in other rosacea topical treatments and is unlikely to occur with Oxymetazoline.
  • You can only purchase Oxymetazoline through a prescription from a doctor.

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