Laser and light therapy — today’s best option for rosacea treatment
Does rosacea make you hold back in work or social situations? Worse yet, does it lead others to make assumptions about you? Rosacea patients are often embarrassed when friends joke that their red facial skin must be caused by excessive drinking.
Many of our patients have battled rosacea with creams, gels and heavy makeup, but found little or no relief. That’s why the Reflections team is thrilled to offer the most effective treatments available, including the Vbeam Perfecta laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy. Used in combination with medication, laser and light therapies can dramatically reduce unwanted redness, spider veins, and bumps.
What happened to my skin?
We don’t know what causes rosacea, but it usually strikes people in their thirties and forties. Most often it causes persistent redness, spider veins (telangiectasia), and bumps on the face. It can also irritate the eyes and other parts of the body, and tends to run in families. Left untreated, it can cause thickening of the skin and knobby bumps on the nose.
Early intervention is key when dealing with rosacea — it’s important to diagnose and treat it as early as possible to stop the condition from worsening.
See results fast
Laser therapy is fast, comfortable and effective, with little to no downtime required. Because each patient is unique, our expert physicians will carefully choose the right laser or combination of lasers and medications to get your skin looking its best again.
What treatments are available?
Vbeam Perfecta, a pulsed-dye laser, delivers an intense but gentle burst of light to undesirable blood vessels on the surface of the skin, resulting in reduced redness and a more even complexion. Introduced in the 1980s, Vbeam Perfecta is one of the safest and most widely used lasers in aesthetic medicine today, and substantially reduces and often eliminates the redness and flushing of rosacea3,4.
StarLux IPL is a noninvasive treatment that uses high intensity pulses of visible light to improve the appearance of rosacea. Our patients are thrilled with the results of this very safe treatment, and because the top layer of skin remains intact, no downtime is required. StarLux IPL is often used in combination with Vbeam Perfecta3.
The GentleYAG system creates a gentle beam of light that penetrates deeply into the skin, targeting unwanted blood vessels. The laser beam is preceded by a short burst of cooling cryogen spray, which protects the outer skin and makes the treatment comfortable. The GentleYAG is especially helpful for deep blood vessels on the nose and can be used in combination with the Vbeam laser or other treatments to dramatically improve the symptoms of rosacea1,2.
In photodynamic therapy (PDT), a topical photosensitizing agent called Levulan is applied to the skin and then activated with specialized lasers and light sources. This treatment is well tolerated and noninvasive1.
Topical and oral medications: Rosacea is sometimes treated with topical antibiotics such as Finacea or MetroGel (metronidazole), or with oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, minocycline, erythromycin, and doxycycline1.
Skin care products: An excellent skin care regimen is very important for rosacea patients, especially after laser treatment. Essentials M.D. is a comprehensive line of prescription-only skin care products put together exclusively for Reflections. Our best-in-class skin care program is designed to treat specific conditions and help our patients look their very best, every day.
Making results last
Rosacea is a chronic condition and requires ongoing management following treatment. Many patients find it helpful to avoid certain “triggers” such as sun exposure, certain foods, or alcohol, and to follow an effective skin care regimen including sunblock, gentle cleansing, and moisturizing.
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Frequently asked questions about rosacea
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic (or long-term) disease that affects the skin and sometimes the eyes. The disorder is characterized by redness, pimples, and, in advanced stages, thickened skin. Rosacea usually affects the face; other parts of the upper body are only rarely involved.
Not all that is red is rosacea — other skin conditions like sebaceous hyperplasia, broken capillaries, and spider veins can sometimes be mistaken for rosacea, so it’s important for your physician to consider other causes of redness when before a diagnosis is made.
Who gets rosacea?
Approximately 16 million people in the United States have rosacea. It most often affects adults between the ages of 30 and 60. Rosacea is more common in women (particularly during menopause) than men. Although rosacea can develop in people of any skin color, it tends to occur most frequently and is most apparent in people with fair skin5.
What are the causes of rosacea?
Doctors do not know the exact cause of rosacea but believe that some people may inherit a tendency to develop the disorder. People who blush frequently may be more likely to develop rosacea. Some researchers believe that rosacea is a disorder where blood vessels dilate too easily, resulting in flushing and redness.
Factors that cause rosacea to flare up in one person may have no effect on another person. Although the following factors have not been well-researched, some people claim that one or more of them have aggravated their rosacea: heat (including hot baths), strenuous exercise, sunlight, wind, very cold temperatures, hot or spicy foods and drinks, alcohol consumption, menopause, emotional stress, and long-term use of topical steroids on the face.
Patients affected by pustules may assume they are caused by bacteria, but researchers have not established a link between rosacea and bacteria or other organisms on the skin, in the hair follicles, or elsewhere in the body.
What are the symptoms of rosacea?
There are several symptoms and conditions associated with rosacea. These include frequent flushing, vascular rosacea, and inflammatory rosacea.
Frequent flushing of the center of the face — which may include the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin — occurs in the earliest stage of rosacea. The flushing often is accompanied by a burning sensation, particularly when creams or cosmetics are applied to the face. Sometimes the face is swollen slightly.
A condition called vascular rosacea causes persistent flushing and redness. Blood vessels under the skin of the face may dilate (enlarge), showing through the skin as small red lines. This is called telangiectasia. The affected skin may be swollen slightly and feel warm.
A condition called inflammatory rosacea causes persistent redness and papules (pink bumps) and pustules (bumps containing pus) on the skin. Eye inflammation and sensitivity as well as telangiectasia also may occur.
In the most advanced stage of rosacea, the skin becomes a deep shade of red and inflammation of the eye is more apparent. Numerous telangiectases are often present, and nodules in the skin may become painful. A condition called rhinophyma, characterized by an enlarged, bulbous and red nose also may develop in some men.
Some doctors will prescribe a topical antibiotic, such as metronidazole, which is applied directly to the affected skin. For people with more severe cases, doctors often prescribe an oral (taken by mouth) antibiotic. Tetracycline, minocycline, erythromycin, and doxycycline are the most common antibiotics used to treat rosacea. The papules and pustules symptomatic of rosacea may respond quickly to treatment, but the redness and flushing are less likely to improve. That’s where lasers come in.
How is the eye effected?
In addition to skin problems, up to 50 percent of people who have rosacea have eye problems caused by the condition. Typical symptoms include redness, dryness, itching, burning, tearing, and the sensation of having sand in the eye. The eyelids may become inflamed and swollen. Some people say their eyes are sensitive to light and their vision is blurred or otherwise impaired.
Doctors usually treat the eye problems of rosacea with oral antibiotics, particularly tetracycline, doxycycline or topical medicines. People who develop infections of the eyelids must practice frequent eyelid hygiene. The doctor may recommend scrubbing the eyelids gently with diluted baby shampoo or an over-the-counter eyelid cleaner and applying warm (but not hot) compresses several times a day. When eyes are severely affected, doctors may prescribe steroid eye drops.
Be transformed — inside and out
With Reflections approach to rosacea treatment and management, you will look like yourself again. Best of all, you’ll have a new confidence when you’re out and about, knowing everyone can see the real you.
*Results may vary from patient to patient. Rosacea is notoriously stubborn, but advances in laser and light therapy over the past 5 years have made rosacea treatment significantly easier and more successful. A combination of laser/light therapy to treat flares, as well as medications or light-based therapies to prevent flares, is usually required for long-term maintenance of clear skin and to prevent rosacea’s disease progression. Your consultation will include discussion of how to limit and prevent your symptoms, based on your individual rosacea case and medical history.
- Adam M. Rotunda, Anand R. Bhupathy, Thomas E. Rohrer; The new age of acne therapy: Light, lasers, and radiofrequency; Published online: 12 Jul 2009; pages 191-200
- Stephen R. Tan, a, Whitney D. Tope, Pulsed dye laser treatment of rosacea improves erythema, symptomatology, and quality of life; Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology; Volume 51, Issue 4, October 2004, Pages 592–599
- NEUHAUS, I. M., ZANE, L. T. and TOPE, W. D. (2009), Comparative Efficacy of Nonpurpuragenic Pulsed Dye Laser and Intense Pulsed Light for Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea. Dermatologic Surgery, 35: 920–928. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2009.01156.
- Chia-Lun Chou & Ying-Yi Chiang; Moderate rhinophyma successfully treated with a Smoothbeam laser; Journal of Dermatological Treatment; Volume 23, Issue 2, 2012
- Lynn Drake, MD; Rosacea Now Estimated to Affect at Least 16 Million Americans; Rosacea Review, Winter 2010 Issue