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Laser Treatment for Rosacea

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common skin problem that causes visible blood vessels and redness. In some cases, rosacea causes tiny, red, pus-filled bumps. It is a chronic inflammatory condition, which usually affects the face. Signs and symptoms of rosacea may appear for weeks or months at a time, and then go away for a short time.

The condition is common, affecting anywhere from 1 to 20 percent of the population. Rosacea is most commonly diagnosed in people with fair skin, but that could be because the condition is more noticeable in fair-skinned people that in dark-skinned individuals. Rosacea is sometimes difficult to diagnose because it shares many of the same signs and symptoms as other skin conditions. Rosacea symptoms include persistent skin discoloration, thickening of the affected skin, flushing, visible blood vessels, and eye irritation. The condition may also cause burning, swelling, or dry facial skin.

Rosacea can affect different parts of the face. Rosacea nose symptoms include redness, visible blood vessels, and even bumps in the skin. Rosacea cheeks show signs of redness and visible blood vessels, while rosacea on chin skin can appear red and bumpy.

Rosacea causes

Medical experts have not yet uncovered the underlying cause of rosacea, but agree that certain factors can contribute to the development of this skin condition. Rosacea causes include abnormalities in blood vessels, skin mites, and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. There may be an inherited component to the condition, as many people with rosacea have a close family member with the skin problem.

Certain things can trigger symptoms. Rosacea triggers include hot foods and beverages, caffeine, and dairy products. Seasonings and spices containing capsaicin, such as cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and red pepper, can trigger a rosacea flare-up, as can alcohol. Foods that contain cinnamaldehyde, such as chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus fruits, may be rosacea triggers. Temperature extremes, sunlight and wind, stress and anxiety, exercise, saunas and hot baths, some medications, and certain health conditions can also trigger rosacea symptoms.

While there is no cure for the condition, rosacea treatment can control the onset of signs and symptoms. Left untreated, rosacea tends to get worse over time.

Types of rosacea

There are four main types of rosacea; each causes slightly different symptoms. The four types of rosacea are:

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Causes skin discoloration, flushing, and visible blood vessels
  2. Papulopustular rosacea: Causes flushing, swelling, and breakouts that resemble acne
  3. Phymatous rosacea: Causes thickened, bumpy skin
  4. Ocular rosacea: Causes eye irritation and redness along with swollen eyelids

Steroid rosacea: A condition resulting from long-term use of corticosteroids, specifically when a person uses them to treat the skin conditions, dermatitis and vitiligo. Acne rosacea may be triggered by the appearance of acne.

How to Treat Rosacea

Try a natural remedy

Lifestyle changes can help control symptoms of rosacea, especially when the individual uses them alongside medical treatments. Natural remedies can include washing with a gentle cleanser, keeping the skin hydrated with a moisturizer, wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen when outdoors, protecting the face in cold weather, and avoiding known rosacea triggers, such as extreme temperatures and certain foods.

Using skin creams and medications as recommended by a dermatologist

A dermatologist may recommend skin creams containing topical antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, or azelaic acid, which help reduce skin discoloration and inflammation. A dermatologist may recommend taking oral antibiotics to reduce inflammation. The skin doctor may recommend Isotretinoin (Accutane) for severe cases of rosacea, although the side effects from this treatment may be severe.

Consider laser treatment for rosacea

Rosacea light therapy can help treat the skin condition. Laser for rosacea uses the power of light energy to help reduce the appearance of visible blood vessels. The treated skin cells absorb the laser light; once inside the body, the light energy destroys the lining of the inflamed and visible blood vessels. Targeting these blood vessels can greatly reduce redness and flushing associated with rosacea. Laser treatment for rosacea can also include laser resurfacing, which removes the thickened skin that often accompanies rosacea.

Laser therapy for rosacea usually requires a series of treatments for visible results. Patients typically need anywhere from two to eight treatments spaced about six weeks apart, depending on the severity of their condition.

Every person with rosacea is unique, and may therefore have different symptoms, skin types, treatment expectations, and other factors, so each person may respond to laser treatment differently. Some require only a few treatments to resolve symptoms associated with rosacea, while others require longer-term treatments.

It is always important to find a dermatologist with the training, skills, and tools needed to tailor treatment to a patient’s individual condition and needs. The dermatologists at Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery use the most advanced laser equipment available to ensure the effective and safe laser treatment for rosacea. Our dermatology providers can diagnose rosacea, help identify the factors that contribute to its development, and identify triggers in individual patients. Our cosmetic providers can also discuss and recommend an ongoing skin care regimen and treatments to help your skin look its best. For more information about laser treatment for rosacea, contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery.


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