Posts Tagged ‘rosacea treatments’
April has been designated as “Rosacea Awareness Month” by the National Rosacea Society (NRS). Rosacea is a progressive skin disorder commonly characterized by flushing and persistent redness on the central portion of the face and visible blood vessels. It has been estimated more than 16 million Americans are affected by Rosacea. The effects of Rosacea can go beyond this visible symptoms, often causing discomforts such as stinging and burning. For the majority of rosacea suffers it effects self esteem, going as far as to effect professional interactions.
What is Rosacea
Rosacea is a progressive skin disorder with symptoms including flushing, redness, visible blood vessels, burning, and stinging. Rosacea can also cause acne like symptoms, such as little bumps called papuals, often refereed to as Acne Rosacea. In more severe cases, there is a thickening of the skin and the nose can present as bulbous with irregular nodularities and enlargement, known as Rhinophyma. There is also a subtype of Roscacea, known as Ocular Rosacea, where eyes are red or bloodshot with burning and stinging. Rosacea is a progressive disorder and, left untreated, will worsen in severity with time. Those with Rosacea often experience flare-ups, which can last for months. Only a doctor can diagnose Rosacea. If you suspect you have Rosacea, see a dermatologist.
What causes Rosacea
The exact cause of Rosacea is not completely understood. Suggested possibilities include auto-immune disease or defects in the nervous system which effects blood vessels or Demodex mites. It may be something there is a genetic predisposition to. What we do know is that there is a strong vascular component to Rosacea. We also know that there are “triggers” such as heat or spicy foods that can trigger flare-ups.
It is important to understand that there is not a cure for Rosacea, but it is something that can be treated to reduce severity and symptoms. First, those with Rosacea should work to understand what their specific triggers are. Avoiding triggers can reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. Finding skin care products that do not aggravate rosacea can be tricky. Consult with a Dermatologist and Esthetician for skin care recommendations appropriate for Rosacea skin.
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) remains the most effective treatment for addressing the redness and visible dilated blood vessels seen with Rosacea. Vascular lasers, such as a KTP or Yag, can be used to treat facial veins that are well visible and can be traced. Typically, 3-6 treatments are needed, scheduled about 3 weeks apart. Because there is no cure for Rosacea, a series of treatments may need to be repeated annually, depending on severity.
Botox injections have been shown to be effective when injected superficially in very dilute concentration to reduce the redness and flushing of Rosacea. Redness may be reduced for 3-6 months after injections. This treatment is currently considered “off-label”.
Facials will not correct any vascular component of Rosacea, but the appropriate facial can calm and sooth skin. Consult with your Esthetician Facialist for recommendations.
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Rosacea is primarily a facial vascular disorder in which blood vessels are functionally and structurally abnormal. Currently rosacea can’t be cured, however it can be effectively treated and controlled. Rosacea is a progressive skin disorder, that should be treated when symptoms first begin. Treatment should be aimed at treating the underlying vascular issues associated with rosacea. Vascular Lasers and IPL treatments are extremely effective at treating existing redness and broken blood vessels. In addition to avoiding rosacea triggers, topical products can be used to prevent flushing and further damage that can accelerate the progression of the disorder.
Laser and IPL Therapy
Both Laser and IPL therapy are very effective at treating telangiectasia (broken blood vessels), generalized redness and flushing. IPL therapy can also be enhanced with Levulan to get the added benefit of treating acne, rosacea papules and pustuals.
Lasers that are absorbed well by hemoglobin are used to treat vascular concerns. The laser energy is absorbed by the blood vessel and creates heat within the vessel which damages the vessel wall and permenatly closes that vessel. The treated vessels are then absorbed by the body. Although there isn’t a cure for rosacea, studies show that laser treatment can permantly remove damaged facial blood vessels and with repeated treatment blood vessels will not always be created to replace the old vessel. Facial blood vessels treated with lasers are sometimes replaced with connective tissue. This is good news, because this will permently reduce the number of blood vessels in the face, near to the level of vessels found in healthy skin.
Lasers have a single wavelength that work at a very specific depth. So any idividual laser has it’s limitations. KTP 532 nm and Pulsed Dye: 577 -585nm lasers are well absorbed by hemoglobin and are very effective at treating superfical blood vessels in the face, while Nd:YAG 1064nm lasers are also well absorbed by hemoglobin, they are effective at treating vessels that are located deeper in the skin.
Intese Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL skin treatments are known by many names including Fotofacial, Photofacial, Photoderm and Photo rejuvenation. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) differs from lasers because IPL uses a wide spectrum of wavelengths at the same time (for example: 500nm — 1200nm) that can target any chromophore in that range, while lasers have a single wavelength. You can think of the laser like a sniper that can precisely hit a single target with one shot, and IPL is like a grenade that hits several targets at once. IPL uses special cut-off filters that can be selected to target chromophors in a certain range within the skin. When treating rosacea or any vascular concern, the intended target is hemoglobin. The advantage IPL treatments have over laser treatments is that IPL can target vessels at different depths.
Combined Laser and IPL Therapy
Best results are achieved when you combine IPL and Laser treatments. IPL and Laser treatments can be done independently, however combining technologies at the same treatment time will provide a better result. This type of treatment is fairly aggressive and should only be done by someone that is very experienced in combining these technologies.
Oral and Topical Products
Topical Metronidazole Gel
Metronidazole is topical agent used to treat rosacea, available only by prescription. The primary action of Metronidazole is anti-inflamatory. Metronidazole is effective at reducing papules and pustules and has a fairly minimal effect at reducing inflammation. Unfortunately, it isn’t effective for treating broken blood vessels or flushing.
Antibiotics have long been used to treat rosacea, however they work primarily through their anti-inflammatory properties rather than antibacterial. Antibiotics are effective at reducing papules, pustules, and inflammation. The limitation with antibiotics is that they are not effective at treating telangiectasia or flushing.
Antihistamines are effective at reducing facial inflammation, swelling and burning associated with rosacea. Histamine contributes to swelling, itching and burning. Histamine has also been shown to play a role in inflammation and redness.
Sunblock with Zinc Oxide
UV rays can penetrate the skin and activate sensory nerves that release potent vasodilators, as well as creating heat in the skin causing facial flushing. Zinc oxide reflects both UVA and UVB rays, blocking out heat from the sun. Topical zinc oxide also has significant healing properties when applied to damaged skin and has been shown to decrease inflammation in both the epidermis and dermis.
Dimethicone is a silicone based ingredient with moisturizing ability. Dimethicone is also a protective ingredient that has been shown to reduce flushing caused by skin irritants.
Free radicals have been shown to cause structural damage to vascular walls and many free radicals are potent blood vessel dilators. Dietary and topical antioxidants help to block the damaging effects of free radicals.
Studies show that vitamin C can protect blood vessel walls from free radical damage and reverse existing vascular damage. People with rosacea should get plenty of vitamin-C in their diet, and may want to consider a vitamin-C supplement. In addition to being a great antioxidant, topical vitamin-C has anti-inflammatory qualities.
*This post is intended for informational purposes only.