I'm a 49 y/o WF; peri-menopausal; hypothyroid. I have acne rosacea (severe w/blackheads & cysts in addition to breakouts) no longer well controlled w/Oracea. I've used Cerave cleanser & G.M. Collin Sensiderm Gel moisturizer. (Condition is so extreme that I regularly get blackheads & acne between creases of lids & brows & IN my eyebrows. I even have a purplish blackhead @ my lower lash line!) Will OTC retinols help? Vit C instead? I know Rx's would be too harsh. Tried to add photo but couldn't.
OTC Retinols or Vitamin C for Oily Rosacea W/blackheads?
Doctor Answers 2
Sounds like you may have adult acne rather than rosacea...
blackheads are not a characteristic of rosacea...they indicate a variety of acne...at your age with such ongoing problems, it may be time to consider isotretinoin...in other words accutane...ask your doctor if that might be the best option...obviously can't even make a firm diagnosis without a picture...so the suggestion might not pertain to your condition
How to improve acne and rosacea in perimenopause
Cysts can be part of rosacea but blackheads are part of acne. Both acne and rosacea will improve with low dose doxycycline like Oracea, but acne would improve with retinols and vitamin C whereas rosacea will be more irritated and get worse.
If the condition is severe and there are cysts, there are no over the counter medications that will improve it and it needs to be evaluated and treated by a board certified dermatologist.
Also, consider the fact that hormonal changes during perimenopause can contribute to worsening acne breakouts.
For hormonal acne, medications like spironolactone may be helpful. Spironolactone blocks androgens, which are responsible for acne. Spironolactone cannot be used by women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. There are other health considerations and only your doctor can determine if you are a good candidate for it.