Lasers for Rosacea
Laser and non-laser light treatments provide an effective treatment option for some signs of rosacea.
Lasers are used primarily to treat these signs of rosacea:
- Persistent redness (erythema), usually associated with rosacea subtype 1.
- Dilated, visible blood vessels (telangiectasias)
- Thickening skin on nose and cheeks (also known as rhinophyma), associated with rosacea subtype 3.
For the treament of erythema or dilated blood vessles, a pulsed dye laser (PDL) may be used. This delivers pulsed light beams (instead of a continuous wave of light) to treat damaged skin while leaving surrounding tissue intact.
For rhinophyma and other thickened areas of skin, a CO2, erbium:YAG laser, or fractional laser may be used to reshape the affected tissue by cutting, heating, or abrading it.
Laser therapy may be combined with other procedures to reshape the skin, such as electrocautery.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a non-laser light therapy initially used for treating dilated facial blood vessels. It may also be recommend for the treatment of the persistent redness and flushing of rosacea.
It is important to keep in mind that these laser and light treatments are not typically covered by health insurance and may provide only temporary or partial relief of your symptoms. People with other medical conditions, such as clotting disorders, diabetes, or light sensitivity may not be candidates for laser treatments.
It is important that you continue to avoid triggers, avoid sun exposure, and be aware that you may need multiple treatments over time to maintain results.
Laser and light therapy is not as effective for the treatment rosacea subtype 2 (bumps and pimples of papulopustular rosacea). This is usually treated with topical medications (azelaic acid, metronidazole) oral medications (doxycycline), or a combination of both.