Lasers and Lights for Rosacea and Redness
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs mainly on the face and is often mistaken for acne, eczema, or a skin allergy. It is one of the most common dermatologic conditions. An estimated 14 million Americans suffer from it, and it’s as frequent as 1 in 5 persons in other parts of the world. But we still do not completely understand what exactly causes rosacea. Lasers and light treatments are effective treatments for rosacea and redness of the face. Read on to learn more.
Symptoms of rosacea
If you’re unsure if you have rosacea, look for these common symptoms. They can appear when you least expect it and can be uncomfortable. Symptoms include:
- Frequent blushing or flushing: The skin can turn bright red with visible veins, particularly on lighter skin.
- Persistent redness of the skin: This usually happens in the center of the face but can happen on other parts of the face and body as well.
- Small red solid bumps: Some persons will have red bumps, especially on sun-damaged skin.
- Pus-filled pimples
- Small blood vessels visible beneath the skin
- Sensations of burning, stinging, tightness, or itchiness
- Thick bumpy skin on the nose: Over time, constant flare-ups can change the composition of the nose, making it appear more bulbous.
- Eye irritation: Rosacea flareups tend to create additional dryness and irritation that can affect the eyes. Some persons can even experience red and swollen eyelids, called ocular rosacea.
- Dry, rough skin on the center of the face
What causes flare-ups?
Rosacea tends to flare up under certain circumstances and situations. These are situations that can increase body temperature, stress, or blood pressure. Common flare-up causes include:
- Extreme heat or wind
- Stressful or emotional situations
- Medications that dilate blood vessels or increase blood pressure.
- Spicy foods, hot drinks, or alcohol.
By managing these situations, some persons can manage their rosacea. But that does not mean they would never experience an episode. If flare-ups persist, then it’s time to explore long-term treatment options like light and laser treatment.
There is no cure for rosacea, but it can be controlled using both topical and oral medications. These medications are usually not effective in treating facial flushing and redness. Fortunately, laser or light treatment can be a part of the plan to reduce the apparent readiness synonymous with rosacea. The therapy has been very effective in reducing the appearance of rosacea.
How do lasers work for rosacea and redness?
Lasers are effective in removing visible blood vessels and persistent facial redness. Wavelengths of powerful light target and destroy blood vessels relatively painlessly. The build-up of heat burns and seals the blood vessel walls while ensuring that the surrounding tissue is not harmed. While the visible blood vessels disappear, new blood vessels can appear in the future. Also, between 2-4 treatments may be necessary to achieve the best results. We space the treatments about 4 weeks apart.
While there are a variety of different types of lasers, only a few are ideal for treating blood vessels and redness. It is important that you see a board-certified dermatologist with expertise in laser treatments in all skin types, to ensure the best results, and reduce the risk of unwanted side effects such as burning and discoloration of the skin.
Is IPL the same as laser?
An alternative to laser treatments is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). IPL therapy is different from lasers in that, instead of using one laser focusing on your skin, IPL uses several wavelengths. IPL is very effective in treating rosacea. In addition, it helps to eliminate visible blood vessels, reduces flushing, while dramatically decreasing or completely removing redness, and, overall, improving skin texture. Patients usually require multiple sessions for maintaining the improved appearance of the skin. IPL feels slightly painful during the process, like a rubber band snapping on your skin. The entire process can take between 15-30 minutes, making it a great lunchtime procedure.
What are the benefits of lasers for rosacea?
The significant benefits of laser and IPL for rosacea are that the treatments are pretty quick, usually lasting less than 20 minutes, and you can return to your normal activities the same day.
The results typically vary; most patients notice a 50-70% reduction in the blood vessel after a maximum of 3 treatments.
There are some cases where you may see a 100% decrease in redness of the skin.
Furthermore, laser surgery can last up to 3-5 years. Treated blood vessels usually do not reappear.
After-care for laser treatment?
Recovery for laser treatment is pretty simple. Take the prescribed after-care medication that is recommended by your dermatologist. This should prevent possible pain that proceeds with the surgery.
Covering the laser skin on the treated area after surgery is strongly recommended to mitigate irritation or sun damage.
After the surgery, you will generally recover in the office for about 30 minutes. However, during this time, a dermatologist or attendant would place a cold compress against your face to lessen the swelling.
Laser surgery is a safe procedure to reduce some of the effects by using multiple medications.
This prevents viral and bacterial infection, enables a reduction in swelling, and controls some of the discomfort and sensitivity experienced after the procedure. The medications and after-care are dependent solely on your needs.
Is laser right for me?
To get the best results, communication between you and your dermatologist is key. If a laser or light treatment is for you, it’s important for your dermatologist to know:
- If you have any other medical conditions, like if you get cold sores from time to time
- Any medications you take, like aspirin or blood thinners
- If your skin bruises easily, or if you are sensitive to light
- Any other treatments you’ve tried in the past
If you’re wondering if laser treatments can help restore a healthy even glow to your skin, contact us or book an appointment online now. We are conveniently located in Fulton and serve Columbia MD, Clarksville, Ellicott City, Laurel, Bowie, Silver Spring and surrounding areas in PG and Howard County, Maryland.
Medical Dermatology Columbia MD
Cosmetic Dermatology Specialist Columbia MD