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Ingredient Deep Dive: Metronidazole

April is Rosacea Awareness Month, so we’re gathering up plenty of helpful advice, to help you understand more about this complex condition. An estimated one in 20 people experience rosacea, and it’s often underdiagnosed in people with darker skin tones.

Today, we’re talking about treatment – although rosacea is a long-term condition, which can’t be fully cured, it can be effectively managed. Read on to find out all about metronidazole, an active ingredient commonly used by medical professionals to target some of the most common symptoms of rosacea.

What is metronidazole?

Metronidazole is an antibiotic medicine – it’s used to treat several different bacterial infections, but is also extremely effective at treating rosacea. In fact, metronidazole is considered to be a gold standard treatment for the spots and redness caused by the skin condition.

Metronidazole comes in the form of a topical cream when used to treat rosacea, but can be used in tablet form to treat other conditions. It is a prescription-only medication, meaning you can only use it under the guidance of a medical professional – you can’t buy it over the counter.

How does metronidazole treat rosacea?

Rosacea is a complex condition with several subtypes, so you should speak to a clinician if you are experiencing redness, spots, inflammation and sensitivity on your face. They will be able to identify which treatment will be most effective for you.

Research shows that metronidazole is effective in treating the spots and redness associated with rosacea. Its anti-inflammatory properties mean that it calms the skin, while also targeting any bacteria that may be on the skin. It is also a powerful antioxidant, meaning it’s generally beneficial for overall skin health.

How long does it take to see results with metronidazole?

Achieving healthy, happy skin is a marathon, not a sprint, and that remains the case with metronidazole and rosacea. It can often take two to three months to truly see the impact of metronidazole on your rosacea – however, everyone’s skin is different, and some people may see an improvement much sooner. It’s important to keep consistent and apply your metronidazole as directed by your clinician, and use a gentle supporting skincare routine.

Does metronidazole have any side effects?

Clinician studies show that metronidazole is generally considered a very safe and well-tolerated medicine. However, prescription skincare is very powerful, and your skin may need time to adjust. Commonly-reported side effects of metronidazole are usually mild and not harmful – dry skin and irritation are the side effects you are most likely to experience. 

Which moisturiser should I use with metronidazole?

Protect your skin barrier and avoid dryness by following your metronidazole treatment with a gentle, fragrance-free moisturiser to suit your skin type. Look for moisturisers packed with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides and allantoin – these can all be found in our Skin + Me Soothe + Smooth Moisturisers.

Can I use metronidazole while pregnant?

Although metronidazole is considered extremely safe and effective at treating rosacea, it should not be used by pregnant people. The same rules apply if you are breastfeeding or trying to conceive. If you are using metronidazole and your situation changes, you should speak to your clinician or prescriber to find out about substitute treatments.

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