What is Finacea Gel and what is it used for?
Finacea, a prescription-only gel used to treat mild to severe facial acne and rosacea, includes the active ingredient azelaic acid. This topical treatment can also smooth the skin’s surface, causing blemishes to become less visible and helping to maintain a more even skin tone.
Adults over the age of 18 who have tried alternative topical therapies but found them ineffective may use Finacea gel. Typically, the gel starts to work after a month of use.
The German pharmaceutical business Bayer AG manufactures Finacea gel in the UK.
What is azelaic acid?
Azelaic acid is naturally present in rye and wheat, as well as through Malassezia furfur (Pityrosporum ovale), a species of fungus found on human skin.
This ingredient has anti-inflammatory properties and because of this, it works well to treat common skin diseases including rosacea and acne. Azelaic acid helps to:
- Encourage cell turnover to help your skin heal faster and reduce scarring
- Remove the bacteria that causes acne from your skin pores
- Make acne less visible by reducing inflammation
Even though azelaic acid is a powerful ingredient, it’s still suitable for use on sensitive skin.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin disorder that manifests on the face as redness, flushing, swelling, and a bumpy rash. Rosacea affects one in ten people, but its specific cause is unclear, and there is no known cure.
Triggers for rosacea can include stress, caffeine or alcohol consumption, physical exercise, specific types of light, and even certain weather conditions. In the event of a severe flare-up, Finacea gel can provide relief. Common symptoms include:
- Red bumps and spots
- Bloodshot eyes
- Thickening of the skin
- Cystic acne
- Eye dryness
- Blood vessels become visible through the skin
How does Finacea work for rosacea?
The azelaic acid in Finacea stops the body’s normal creation and proliferation of keratin surface skin cells, which would otherwise clog skin pores.
By helping to clear blocked pores and sebaceous glands, papules, pustules, and spots are considerably less prone to develop on the face. This also means a reduction in the skin’s typical reaction to rosacea, preventing redness and swelling.
The azelaic acid in Finacea gel also helps to eradicate the skin-damaging bacteria that feed off your body’s sebum — these propionibacteria can cause your sebaceous glands to become irritated and inflamed, leading to acne.
How long does it take for Finacea to work?
Finacea can reduce the appearance of acne or rosacea within 4 weeks. However, if you haven’t noticed any results within this timeframe, it’s best to seek advice from your GP or pharmacist.
Remember: Once you start to use Finacea, you must continue to apply the gel twice a day. Any breaks in this schedule may impede the success rate of the treatment.
Does Finacea work for everyone?
Finacea generally works well for anyone who suffers from acne or rosacea, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t the case for everyone. If you find that Finacea is making no difference to your condition, then you may need to talk to your pharmacist or GP about alternative treatment options.
Finacea gel vs. other rosacea creams
Finacea vs. Rozex gel
Finacea gel contains azaleic acid, but Rozex gel contains the anti-biotic Metronidazole. Both of these treatments are prescription-only treatments.
Finacea & Skinoren
Finacea and Skinoren both contain the same active ingredient, but Skinoren is stronger and is generally used to treat hormonal and cystic acne. Finacea is considered to be a milder treatment and so is more suitable for the treatment of rosacea and mild acne.
How to apply Finacea gel
Before using Finacea gel, make sure your skin is clean and dry.
- Apply the gel to the affected skin areas twice a day, morning and evening by gently rubbing it into the skin. Around 2.5cm of gel should be enough to treat your entire face.
- Wash your hands after applying the gel.
Remember to use Finacea continuously for at least four weeks.
Finacea gel ingredients
The active ingredientin 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 gel side effects
- Dry skin
If you’re concerned about any of these effects, or if Finacea affects you in any other way, stop using it and talk to your GP or pharmacist.
Read the following warnings carefully to ensure you are selecting an appropriate product.
- Do not use Finacea gel if you are allergic to any of its ingredients
- Do not use other skin treatments while using Finacea gel.
- Benzoic acid in Finacea gel can mildly irritate skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Propylene glycol may also have an irritant effect.
- There have been rare cases of asthma worsening after using an azelaic acid cream during post-marketing surveillance.
Finacea, pregnancy & breastfeeding
If you are breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or currently pregnant, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using Finacea Gel.
Make sure you read all packaging and the Patient Information Leaflet before taking any new medicine and inform your doctor if you are taking or intend to take any other medicines.
Alternative acne treatments
Some alternatives to Finacea gel include:
- A leave-on treatment for spots and acne
- Kills bacteria using benzoyl peroxide
Differin Cream & Gel
- A prescription topical acne treatment for blocked pores
- Contains adapalene as the active ingredient
- A prescription-only combination acne treatment
- Contain both benzoyl peroxide and adapalene
- Kills bacteria, unblocks pores, and exfoliates the skin
Non-medical treatments are also an option — tea tree oil or mild soap can effectively cleanse your skin. However, for more serious bouts of acne or rosacea, it’s always recommended to have a chat with your GP.