Acne Rosacea, pronounced rose-ay-sha and usually referred to as simply “rosacea,” is a condition characterized by diffuse redness of the face and the development of unwanted small blood vessels (commonly known as “broken capillaries”) on the nose, cheeks and chin. There are several forms of rosacea with some patients developing involvement of their eyelids with a condition known as blepharitis, others developing recurrent breakouts of their skin, and still others developing enlargement of their nose over time. Patients who have one type of rosacea will not necessarily develop other types. Rosacea varies in severity from mild to advanced. Most affected individuals will have only redness and broken capillaries.
Rosacea Treatment Options
Until relatively recently, treatment of rosacea was limited to the use of topical agents or systemic antibiotics. While these treatments are helpful in controlling acne breakouts and eyelid inflammation, they do not reduce the skin’s red discoloration, the broken capillaries, or distortion of the nose. Now, lasers and light devices can effectively be used to provide dramatic improvement in the appearance of skin affected by rosacea.
Laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Devices
Lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) devices are used to reduce the redness and broken capillaries caused by rosacea. These treatments are performed in the office without the need for special preparation or anesthesia. Laser and IPL may not be performed if the skin in an area to be treated is tanned. There is no recovery period or “downtime” after laser or IPL treatment of rosacea. Two to five treatments are typically needed to achieve best outcomes, depending on how severely one is affected. It is important to note that laser and technology-based treatments improve the symptoms of rosacea but do not cure the underlying condition. Individuals affected by rosacea will require ongoing laser maintenance therapy at periodic intervals. In some patients these treatments will be required infrequently whereas others require maintenance treatment every few months.
If rosacea has caused distortion of the nose, laser treatments can be used to reshape and contour the nose, giving it a more natural appearance. Recovery from this procedure typically requires one to two weeks after each treatment. Depending on the size and shape of the affected nose, several laser sessions may be required.