Laser & IPL for Rosacea
Are you suffering from Rosacea? Perhaps you find yourself avoiding certain triggers that make your Rosacea worse or you avoid some social situations because your Rosacea makes you feel self-conscious or embarrassed? Although Rosacea is relatively common – affecting 10% of adults – we understand that it can be a very distressing condition.
With more than 20 years’ experience, we have found that laser treatments can significantly improve the appearance of redness and thread veins caused by Rosacea.
How can IPL & lasers be used to treat Rosacea?
It is believed that the light from IPL and pulse dye lasers has two actions that help in Rosacea.
Firstly, red thread veins absorb the light energy, which makes them hot. This damage encourages the body to reabsorb the veins, improving and fading their appearance.
Secondly, the light energy warms the collagen fibres in the skin. This stimulates new collagen and collagen remodelling, which improves the support of the small blood vessels and helps to delay the development of more thread veins.
Can laser treatment help me?
If you have Rosacea, then laser or IPL treatment could make a significant difference to the redness of your skin. Every case is different, so we would recommend that you book an initial consultation so that we can assess your Rosacea and discuss your treatment options with you in detail.
Why come to the Private Skin Laser Clinic for laser & IPL treatments for Rosacea?
As The Private Skin Laser Clinic is doctor-led and located in the Dermatology department of the Royal Free Hospital London, we have a great deal of experience of treating patients with Rosacea. Our medical, rather than purely aesthetic perspective, means that we can explore different treatment options and draw on more than 20 years’ experience of using lasers and IPL to help improve the appearance of this distressing condition.
Our laser technicians are all experienced doctors and nurses. At all times, you can rely on us for an honest, professional and realistic approach.
Laser & IPL for Rosacea frequently asked questions
Laser & IPL treatments can significantly improve the appearance of Rosacea by breaking down and encouraging the body to reabsorb the broken veins that give the skin its vivid red appearance. Please read below if you are considering laser or IPL treatment for Rosacea:
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What symptoms can you treat?
We treat the redness and broken veins of Rosacea with Intense Pulse Light (IPL) or Pulse Dye Laser. We use either the Lumenis Quantum SR machine or the Cynosure Cynergy laser.
These deliver a pulse of bright light to the broken vessels, causing them to heal up and fade away. People with Rosacea flush easily and develop redness, pimples, and thread veins on their cheeks, nose and forehead. It often starts in the second or third decade of life, and women are more often affected than men.
Rosacea is common, affecting perhaps 10% of adults. Because Rosacea affects the face, it can cause significant psychological problems. You may find the people assume you’ve had too much to drink, which can be distressing.
Many people with Rosacea find the rash on their face causes them embarrassment and anxiety. Some people stay well by avoiding triggers of flushing such as certain foods and beverages, sunlight and certain cosmetics. The active flare ups when spots break out are best treated with antibiotic lotions to rub on or as tablets to swallow.
The better active flare ups are controlled, the fewer thread veins are left behind. Lasers and IPL machines are used to help the remaining redness and broken veins.
What are IPLs and lasers?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. The IPL machine contains a flash lamp, which is an extremely bright light source. The shorter dangerous wavelengths are filtered out, and a computer is used to set the length of the flash and calibrate the machine.
There are several different manufacturers of IPL machines, all with different names - we use a Quantum machine manufactured by Lumenis. This is an improvement on their earlier Photoderm machine.
Pulse dye lasers make a wavelength of light specifically tuned to the red colour of rosacea.
IPLs and lasers are used to treat a wide variety of conditions apart from Rosacea, such as red birthmarks, pigmented skin lesions, thread veins and unwanted hair.
What does the treatment involve?
You will be asked to keep your face as pale as possible by avoiding sun exposure before and during your course of treatment. At your first visit you can discuss the pros and cons of treatment and a patch test can be performed to check the reaction of your skin.
A week later, the first full treatment is carried out. The whole of the affected area will be treated, except in men where the beard area is avoided. There is a feeling of heat during the treatment and your face will be redder for a short while afterwards. Cooling packs can be applied to help combat this.
You will need to wear goggles to protect your eyes from the intense light. A course of four to six treatments at three- to four-week intervals produces the best outcomes.
Improvement may continue for many weeks after the course has finished. Rosacea is a relapsing condition and, although this treatment improves the appearance, it does not cure the Rosacea. If you have active inflammatory Rosacea then this will need to be controlled with medication before you can have IPL or laser treatment.
What are the possible unwanted effects?
The flashes of bright light that are produced may damage the eyes so goggles have to be worn during the treatment. The treatment is generally well tolerated but some patients find it unpleasant. Exposure is limited to an extremely short flash that feels like the snap of a rubber band. A mild burning sensation can be felt for a while afterwards.
Occasionally, there is some swelling that will subside in a day or two. The beard area is avoided in men as the treatment may cause some hair loss. Bruising is unlikely with the IPL but if it occurs will settle in a few days. There is a chance that pigment changes may occur in the skin, leaving either dark marks (hyperpigmentation) or pale marks (hypopigmentation).
These are temporary and fade in one to six months. To help reduce the risk of this, it is very important that you avoid sun exposure for four weeks before your treatment and throughout the course of treatment.
Crusting and blistering may occur after the treatment, this is best left to heal undisturbed so as to reduce the risk of scarring.
It is important that you follow any aftercare instructions carefully.
The bright light is not thought to be cancer forming as it utilises visible and infra-red light that is outside the ultraviolet range that causes sunburn, skin cancer, and aging of the skin.
Can anyone have IPL or laser treatment for Rosacea?
Patients with light sensitivity should not have these light treatments. Its effects during pregnancy are unknown and it is safer to avoid the treatment when pregnant.
You should not have IPL/laser treatment if you have any suntan, however mild. You should not have IPL/laser treatment whilst taking Roaccutane (Isotretinoin) or for 12 months afterwards.
What alternative treatments are available?
The inflammatory part of Rosacea causes spots, which should be treated with antibiotics, either by rubbing them on as a lotion or taking them by mouth as tablets.
If the inflammatory type of Rosacea is left untreated, it will cause more thread veins.
Other lasers can be used for treating the thread veins and these are an alternative to IPL. The KTP laser can be used but there is a slightly increased risk of scarring.
How much do Rosacea treatments cost?
The initial consultation costs £200. If you decide to have treatment, this includes the cost of a test patch.
Several visits will probably be required, at two-month intervals. Costs depend on the area to be treated but IPL Treatments range from £150 to £350.