Some people, even medical professionals, call rosacea ”adult acne,” but this condition has nothing to do with acne. Rosacea does not present with whiteheads or blackheads, but enlarged capillaries that make the face flush. It is not currently known exactly what causes rosacea, but there are ways to control the symptoms.
Some dermatologists and aestheticians treat their patients with antibiotics as there is some evidence that bacteria or fungi can either cause rosacea or make it worse. The problem with these treatments is that they need to be taken consistently for a long time, and in most people flare-ups of rosacea come and go. Other dermatologists give their patients topical steroids to reduce inflammation, but this is a short term solution. Some patients use retinoids, which are skin treatments derived from vitamin A. These medications must not be used by pregnant women or women who are planning to become pregnant.
Some people with rosacea benefit from light therapy. One type of therapy is intense pulsed light therapy, or IPL. IPL resembles laser but uses light energy differently. With IPL, a broad spectrum light penetrates the skin and reduces redness that is caused by spider veins, or telangiectasia. However, not all patients benefit equally from IPL therapy. It is not as effective on patients with tanned or darker skin and on patients who are anemic. This is because they have less hemoglobin in their veins to absorb the energy of the IPL. Patients who are on blood thinners should stop taking them before they have IPL for their rosacea. Tiny blood clots and local hemorrhaging is a risk when the patient is on these medications and has IPL therapy.
Some types of lasers are effective at reducing the redness of rosacea. These include the pulsed dye laser and the KTP laser. These lasers have wavelengths of 595 nanometers and 532 nm respectively, and these wavelengths create enough heat to destroy the telangiectasia. The pulse dye laser is famous for being used to treat dilated blood vessels, and the KTP laser, which gets its name from its potassium titanyl phosphate crystal, targets pigments in the skin. Both lasers are so precise that they do not harm the surrounding, normal skin.
What Happens during Rosacea Treatments?
During IPL or laser treatments, the patient reclines in a treatment chair, and the dermatologist uses a hand held applicator to target the areas of redness. The patient wears black-out goggles to protect their eyes, and they might need a topical numbing agent on their skin.
Doctors recommend that the patient have three to five treatments scheduled a few weeks apart. The interval gives their skin time to heal. For the first few days after the treatment, the patient should wear sunscreen if they have to go out in the sun, and avoid hot and humid areas.
Learn More about Our Rosacea Treatments
If you have rosacea and want to remove its embarrassing redness and prominent spider veins, visit Advanced Skin Care & Laser Center in Wyomissing, PA, or contact us today to schedule your consultation!