Laser Rosacea Treatment in Washington, DC
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is characterized by persistent facial redness, associated with intermittent flushing and blushing and development of facial telangiectasia (spider veins), normally focused on the central face and cheeks. Rosacea has traditionally been treated with continuous oral and topical medications with variable success. Modern advancements in laser and light technology have brought new therapies into the fold, including 532nm KTP Nd:YAG, 595nm Pulsed-Dye Laser, and Intense Pulsed Light treatment of rosacea. These laser and light treatments for rosacea are highly effective in treating both the skin changes associated with rosacea as well as reducing symptoms and flares for an extended period after treatment.
What Triggers Rosacea?
Rosacea has long been associated with alcohol intake (drinkers flush), caffeine, exercise, spicy foods and beverages, and hot or cold temperatures. While people traditionally were told to avoid these triggers in an attempt to control their rosacea, it is now understood that baseline rosacea is due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, sun exposure, and variable environmental factors. The triggers mentioned above may contribute to rosacea flares, but have little to do with the chronic facial redness and other skin changes induced by rosacea.
How is Rosacea Treated?
Rosacea has traditionally been treated with oral and topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications with variable success. Certain types of rosacea (papular and pustular) tend to respond moderately well to either oral or topical treatment, however, medications must be used continuously, and upon any discontinuation of medication a significant rebound of papular or pustular rosacea is commonly seen. Unfortunately, there are no effective oral or topical treatments for the chronic facial redness and telangiectasia of rosacea. Medications such as Mirvaso (Brimonidine) were initially promising, however the short duration of action and significant rebound redness experienced with these medications have limited their overall effectiveness and use.
Laser and Light Treatment of Rosacea
The advent of the pulsed 532nm KTP Nd:YAG laser, 595nm Pulsed-Dye laser, and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) device have ushered in a new treatment paradigm for rosacea. Unlike topical and oral medications which attempt, with variable success, to mask the symptoms of rosacea, these lasers and light devices selectively target and reduce the appearance of both the facial telangiectasia (blood vessels) as well as background facial redness of rosacea in a long-lasting manner. Through an initial series of 2-4 laser and/or light treatments, a reduction of blood vessels, background redness, and rosacea flares is generally observed. Often the visible linear blood vessels will be treated with the 532nm KTP laser, followed by a series of Pulsed-Dye Laser or IPL Photofacial treatments to the entire face to reduce background facial redness. After an initial series of treatments, patients return intermittently, often as little as once per year for maintenance treatments to maintain the results of the original treatment series.
What Can I Expect During and After Treatment?
Prior to treatment patients will undergo a comprehensive consultation to determine the extent and severity of their rosacea, previous therapies utilized, and goals of therapy. A rosacea action plan will be developed which covers pre and post treatment recommendations to maximize effectiveness and prolong results of rosacea laser treatment. Some patients with more severe rosacea may be initiated on an oral anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the chance of a post-treatment flare which can occasionally be seen after the first treatment. Patients may elect to undergo topical numbing treatment; however, this can cause a mild blanching of the area to be treated leading to mildly decreased effectiveness of each treatment.
Generally, patients experience mild redness after treatment, which can be covered up with concealer or green-tinted makeup. While bruising may occur, these advanced laser and IPL treatments for rosacea allow treatment with minimal to no post-operative bruising, a common complaint with earlier laser treatments for rosacea.
Post Treatment Recommendations
As we know that chronic daily sun exposure is the most controllable factor in rosacea progression, we recommend patients instigate a comprehensive UV protection regimen, including daily sunscreen and other sun protection modalities.
If you have been diagnosed with rosacea or believe you are suffering from rosacea and would like more information on our comprehensive rosacea laser treatment plans please contact us at 202-966-8814 or request a consultation appointment online.