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|Type of medicine
|Keratolytic and comedolytic
|Decreasing production of keratin and kills bacteria that can infect pores
Finacea 15% Gel information
What is Finacea gel?
Finacea is a prescription-only gel used to treat mild to moderate facial acne and rosacea. It contains the active ingredient azelaic acid, which helps to kill off the bacteria responsible for causing skin conditions such as rosacea. In doing so, it refines the surface of the skin, reduces the appearance of blemishes, and reveals a more even skin tone.
Finacea gel is suitable for adults over the age of 18 years that have tried other topical treatments that have not been effective. It should be applied directly to the affected skin on the face twice each day. In general, the benefits of this medication are felt after a month of use. More details can be found on our about Finacea page.
What is Finacea gel used for?
Finacea gel is typically used to treat rosacea, a common skin condition that causes redness, flushing, swelling and a bumpy rash to appear on the sufferer’s face. Although rosacea affects 1 in 10 people, its exact cause is unknown and there is currently no cure. It is thought to occur when peptides in the skin become inflamed.
People with rosacea will go through periods of flare-up and remission. Flare-ups can occur due to triggers such as stress, caffeine, alcohol, physical exertion, and certain types of light and weather. If a flare-up is particularly bad, a treatment such as Finacea may be prescribed. The azelaic acid in Finacea helps to unblock pores and sebaceous glands in the skin, preventing rosacea flare-ups and reducing redness and inflammation.
Finacea's effectiveness extends to treating mild to moderate acne, a condition that may affect up to one-third of UK adults in their lifetimes. By killing the bacteria responsible for causing acne breakouts, Finacea gel treats existing acne and prevents the appearance of spots, pustules, and papules on the face, resulting in a clearer complexion with fewer flare-ups.
How does Finacea work?
Finacea gel works by blocking the body's natural production and growth of keratin surface skin cells, which are responsible for clogging up pores. By tackling the production and growth of these surface skin cells, the azelaic acid in Finacea gets to the root cause of acne and rosacea, helping to unblock pores and sebaceous glands.
As a result of using this azelaic acid gel, papules, pustules, and spots are much less likely to develop on the face. This also means that the skin swelling and redness normally associated with rosacea decreases too.
The azelaic acid in Finacea gel also works by killing off the skin bacteria that are associated with acne and rosacea. This bacteria — propionibacterium — feeds off your body's sebum and produces fatty acids and waste products. These lead to irritation of the sebaceous glands, which inflames them (causing redness and swelling) and creates spots and bumpy rashes on the face.
What is azelaic acid?
Azelaic acid is a saturated dicarboxylic acid that's found naturally in barley, wheat, and rye. Malassezia furfur (Pityrosporum ovale), a type of fungus found on human skin, also produces azelaic acid naturally.
Azelaic acid possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it an effective treatment for common skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. Azelaic acid can help address skin issues in the following ways:
- Encouraging cell turnover to promote faster skin healing and scarring reduction.
- Clearing the bacteria that causes rosacea and acne from skin pores.
- Diminishing the visibility of rosacea and acne by reducing inflammation.
Despite its potency, azelaic acid is safe for all skin types, so it’s suitable whether you have normal skin or sensitive skin. It’s generally effective at helping those dealing with acne, rosacea, or patches of dull or impure skin.
How long does it take for Finacea to work?
If used correctly, Finacea gel can reduce the visible effects of rosacea over a few months. You can usually see improvements in rosacea or acne within the first month of using the gel. If you don't see improvements to your skin after four weeks or your skin worsens, you should get advice from a doctor or pharmacist.
However, it's essential to mention that you need to be consistent with your use of Finacea: improvements will only occur if you're regularly applying the gel twice a day to the area. Any breaks in your use of Finacea will impede the success rate of the gel. This is because the azelaic acid in the gel will no longer unclog the pores and glands on your face or kill the bacteria on your skin.
Does Finacea work for everyone?
Finacea has a relatively high success rate when it comes to treating rosacea and acne, and many users report an improvement in their condition thanks to Finacea. However, Finacea doesn’t work for everyone. Some people may find that Finacea makes no difference to their rosacea or acne and will need a stronger medication. Alternative treatments can be found over on our rosacea advice page.
Alternative rosacea treatments
At The Independent Pharmacy, we stock a number of other rosacea treatments, including oral antibiotics such as Efracea and Erythromycin and topical over-the-counter creams such as Dermalex, a clinically-proven rosacea treatment that helps to restore the skin's natural protective barrier.
There are also various prescription-only topical alternatives to Finacea, which mainly comprise different active ingredients. We've compared Finacea with some of the most prevalent alternatives below.
Finacea vs. Rozex gel
The most notable difference between Finacea and Rozex rosacea gel is that Finacea contains azelaic acid, whereas Rozex gel contains the antibiotic metronidazole. Both are prescription-only topical treatments that are designed to kill the bacteria responsible for causing rosacea. Find out more about Rozex in our guide: What is Rozex?
Finacea vs. Soolantra
Like Finacea, Soolantra is a prescription-strength rosacea treatment. Soolantra cream contains the active ingredient ivermectin, which has anti-inflammatory and antiparasitic properties. While Soolantra can help to improve the appearance of bumps and blemishes, it is also shown to have fewer treatment-related side effects than many rosacea medications.
Finacea vs. Mirvaso
Another prescription-only rosacea medication, Mirvaso gel contains the active ingredient brimonidine tartrate, which belongs to a group of medicines called alpha agonists. Mirvaso may be more suitable than Finacea for people who suffer specifically with rosacea-related skin redness, as the treatment decreases blood flow to the treated area to reduce redness.
Alternative ways to treat acne
Though it is primarily prescribed to treat rosacea, Finacea is also proven to be effective at treating acne. However, it is just one of many available acne treatments: at The Independent Pharmacy, we stock a range of medications for acne, from an oral antibiotic treatment such as Oxytetracycline to a mild cleanser like CeraVe Blemish Control Cleanser.
These are some of the other acne treatments you can use:
- Acnecide gel. A leave-on treatment for acne and spots, Acnecide gel kills bacteria on the skin and unblocks pores. It contains the active ingredient of benzoyl peroxide.
- Differin Cream or gel. A prescription-only topical acne treatment which contains the active ingredient adapalene, Differin helps to reduce blocked pores and exfoliate the skin.
- Epiduo gel. A prescription combination acne treatment, Epiduo gel contains two active ingredients, benzoyl peroxide and adapalene, which help to kill bacteria, unblock pores and exfoliate the skin.
- Skinoren Cream. Finacea gel and Skinoren cream contain the same active ingredient but at different strengths. Skinoren cream is stronger and used to treat mild, hormonal, and cystic acne.
You could also try non-medicinal alternatives to treat acne, such as tea tree oil or mild soap. If you need help establishing which acne treatment is right for you, let us know. One of our experts will be happy to discuss your condition with you and determine the best course of action.
How to apply Finacea gel
Finacea works more effectively if used continuously over the entire period of treatment. Always use this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you, and check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- Before you apply Finacea, clean the skin thoroughly with water and dry. You may use a mild skin-cleansing agent.
- Apply Finacea to the affected skin areas twice a day (in the morning and the evening) and rub it gently into the skin.
- Approximately 2.5cm (0.5g) of gel is sufficient for the entire face.
- Wash your hands immediately after applying the gel.
Finacea gel ingredients
The active ingredient contained in Finacea is: Azelaic Acid 15%.
Finacea gel also contains the following inactive ingredients: lecithin (soy), triglycerides (medium chain), propylene glycol, polysorbate 80, carbomer 980, sodium hydroxide, disodium edetate, purified water, benzoic acid.
- Finacea Patient Information Leaflet: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.240.pdf
Finacea gel side effects
Not everyone will experience side effects when they use Finacea, but for some, they may include burning, stinging, itching, or dry skin where the gel is applied.
Common side effects (affecting less than 1 in 10 people) include:
- Skin irritation.
Less common side effects include:
- Dry skin.
If you are concerned about these effects, or if the product affects you in any other negative way, stop using it and talk to your doctor or pharmacist. If you experience an allergic reaction, stop using Finacea and seek urgent medical attention. For more information, read our complete guide to Finacea side effects.
Read the following warnings carefully to ensure that Finacea gel is a suitable product for you. If you’re unsure, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist before using Finacea.
- Topical Finacea gel is unsuitable for you if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
- Do not use other skin treatments while using Finacea gel.
- Finacea gel contains benzoic acid, which can mildly irritate the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Propylene glycol may also have an irritant effect.
- Cases of worsening asthma after using azelaic acid cream have been reported rarely during post-marketing surveillance.
Finacea, pregnancy and breastfeeding
You should speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice before using Finacea gel if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or currently breastfeeding.
Please read all packaging and the Patient Information Leaflet before taking any new medicine, and inform your doctor of medicines you are taking or intend to take.
Finacea 15% Gel reviews
Finacea 15% Gel FAQs
Finacea gel is used to treat mild or moderate rosacea of the facial area. It treats the red bumps, cystic pimples and pustules associated with papulopustular rosacea. It can also be used to treat milder cases of acne, especially where Skinoren cream has proved to be too strong.
Finacea gel works using an active ingredient known as azelaic acid. This ingredient works by reducing your body’s natural production and growth of keratin surface skin cells, which can block your pores. By reducing this production, the pore-blocking can also be reduced, allowing your sebaceous glands to get rid of sebum, decreasing the formation of papules, pustules and spots.
Azelaic acid gel also works by killing the bacteria associated with acne that feed off your body’s sebum. The bacteria produce waste products and fatty acids that irritate the sebaceous glands, inflaming them and creating spots.
Regular use of this topical treatment is important. Improvement only generally occurs after at least one month of treatment. Stop using the gel if your symptoms do not improve after a month (acne) or two months (rosacea). To obtain the best results, it is best to use Finacea gel over a period of several months.
There have been no reported effects when using Finacea gel in conjunction with other medications and it is ok to use alongside other oral treatments. If in doubt, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using other creams for rosacea or acne alongside it.
It is recommended by the manufacturer to avoid using alcoholic cleansers, tinctures, astringents, abrasives and peeling agents alongside it.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, inform your doctor before you start using Finacea gel.
Whether or not topical Finacea is safe for use during pregnancy is not known, but only low levels of it are actually absorbed through the skin. For this reason, it should only be used during pregnancy if your doctor thinks it necessary.
It is unlikely that Finacea will pose any risk to a breastfeeding infant if used by the mother. To be extra careful, do not apply this medication to the breasts before feeding in order to avoid direct contact with the child.
Yes. In fact, it’s a common side effect of the gel, especially in the first few weeks of use. In most cases, the itchiness and redness will go down by itself. You can always reduce the frequency of application to every other day for the first few weeks as your skin gets used to the treatment. If you have an allergic reaction, cease using the gel and seek medical advice.
A 30g tube of Finacea gel costs £19.99, but you can save money by buying more than one tube at a time if you know you are going to need it for a long time.
Finacea topical gel can be used to treat acne, as well as hyperpigmentation. It can also help to fade light surface scars, including dark marks.
Generally, Finacea gets positive reviews from patients. It’s important to follow instructions carefully when it comes to applying Finacea.