Rosacea and Pulsed-Dye Laser Treatment

Published onJanuary 4, 2017 by

While it may not be possible to completely cure rosacea, it is possible to control this condition. What is rosacea? Rosacea is described as a chronic disorder that primarily affects the facial skin and is commonly characterized by remissions and flare-ups. This condition may set in anytime after the age of 30. The noticeable signs include redness on the nose, cheeks, forehead, or chin. There are also cases in which rosacea occurs on the chest, neck, ears, or scalp.

There are multiple therapies available today for treating the different symptoms associated with rosacea. These include topical medications and laser therapy. However, patients have reported that medications seem to have little or no effect on rosacea symptoms, particularly flushing and redness and thickening of skin close to the nose. Laser therapy has evolved as one of the most effective treatments to control the difficult symptoms and signs of rosacea. It is important to understand that rosacea can vary significantly from patient to patient. This means that a physician needs to customize the treatment for each individual patient.

Pulsed-Dye Laser Treatment for Rosacea

One of the most-advanced laser solutions for rosacea is pulsed-dye laser treatment. This treatment utilizes organic dye; some examples include rhodamine, coumarin, fluorescein, stilbene, tetracene, malachite green, and umbelliferone. Some solvents (used for mixing the dyes) include methanol, ethanol, glycol, water, hexane, and cyclohexane.

When utilized for dermatological purposes, the pulsed-dye laser operates on the selective thermolysis principle. This means that the targeted structure, or chromophore, absorbs the selected laser light wavelength to a significant degree in comparison to the surrounding tissue. The energy’s pulse duration is shorter compared to the thermal relaxation period of the targeted structure. This helps in ensuring that the affect of the thermal energy remains restricted to the targeted structure only (with no impact on the tissues surrounding the structure). As the pulsed-dye laser comes into contact with the skin, it gets reflected, transferred, or absorbed. The energy that gets absorbed has maximum clinical effect, since it gets converted into heat energy by the chromophores and kills diseased cells.

The majority of rosacea patients claim that laser treatment is helpful in reducing visible redness, flushing, and blood vessels. Also, recent studies reveal that those undergoing laser treatment for rosacea notice 40% to 60% improvement in symptoms in just two treatments.

Preparation and Care

For a pulsed-dye laser treatment, the physician will place a handpiece on the skin’s surface and activate the laser. Some patients claim that each laser pulse feels like a rubber band snapping against their skin. A topical anesthetic might be used, but it is generally not necessary.

After the laser treatment, patients must protect the treated area from exposure to the sun, as this poses a post-inflammatory pigmentation risk. It is best to also wear loose clothing to prevent rubbing. Avoid contact sports, swimming, and saunas until proper healing has taken place.

Arrange Your Appointment

Interested in getting your rosacea under control? Dr. David Dellinger, a double-board-certified plastic surgeon, will be happy to tell you more about pulse-dye laser treatment for rosacea. Contact us today and set up your consultation.