It can be treated with creams, oral medications and chemical peels. We can also treat the redness and broken veins of Rosacea with Intense Pulse Light theraphy. This delivers a pulse of red light to the broken blood vessels enabling them to heal up and improve. People with Rosacea flush easily and develop redness, pimples and thread veins on their cheeks, nose and forehead. It is a common condition affecting around 10% of adults. It is more common amongst women than men.
As Rosacea affects the face it can cause significant psychological problems. The unpredictable flushes can be mistaken for too much drinking. Many people with Rosacea find that the rash on their face causes them embarrassment and anxiety. Flare ups of Rosacea can be controlled by antibiotic lotions or tablets as well as avoiding certain foods and beverages and sunlight. The better active flare ups are controlled the fewer thread veins are left behind. IPL is used to help with the remaining redness and broken veins.
What is IPL?
IPL stands for intense pulsed light. The machine contains a flash lamp, this is an extremely bright light source. IPL is also used to treat red birth marks, pigmented lesions and unwanted hair.
How does it work?
It is believed that IPL has two actions that help in Rosacea. Firstly, red thread veins absorb the light energy, this makes them hot. This damage encourages the body to reabsorb them, improving appearance. Secondly, the light energy warms the collagen fibres in the skin this stimulates new collagen and collagen remodeling, this improves the support of the small blood vessels which helps to delay the development of more thread veins.
What are the possible unwanted side effects of IPL treatment?
Goggles have to be worn to protect the eyes from the bright light. The treatment is generally well tolerated but some patients can 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. Bruising is unlikely but if it occurs will settle in a few days. There is a chance that pigment changes may occur in the skin either dark marks, hyperpigmentation or pale marks hypopigmentation these are usually temporary. To help reduce the risk of this it is very important to start the treatment without a suntan or having used fake tan. Sun exposure and use of fake tans must be avoided throughout the course of the treatment.
Who should not have IPL treatment?
Patients with light sensitivity should not have IPL treatment. Its effects during pregnancy is unknown and is safer to avoid the treatment if pregnant. You should not have IPL treatment if you have a suntan however mild. You should not have IPL treatment whilst taking Isotretinoin.