Enlarged dilated blood vessels (telangiectasias) are a hallmark of progressive rosacea and cannot be eliminated by topical rosacea treatments. Telangiectasias are found primarily on the cheeks and nose and flush easily with the slightest amount of stress or sun exposure.
These telangiectasias are often the reason that with rosacea, there always will be some form of what I call “residual redness“, a redness that is always there even with a successful (topical) rosacea treatment.
In recent years, a cosmetic treatment called IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) has gained popularity, in particular among rosacea sufferers. IPL has been used for a variety of cosmetic procedures including hair removal and the removal of acne scars and sunspots.
IPL is different from laser treatment: it covers a broad range of wavelengths versus just one wavelength with a laser. The light travels through the skin and its energy is absorbed by either the blood (for treating vascular lesions) or by melanin, for treating pigmented lesions and hair removal.
The energy released by IPL equipment is much less than that released by a laser and therefore there is less chance of damaging the skin. This also means that for hair removal for example, IPL causes a “reduction” in hair versus more permanent hair removal with a laser treatment.
Based on scientific studies, a majority of rosacea patients who underwent IPL treatment (1 to 4 treatments, depending on severity of symptoms) reported a positive change in their facial skin appearance. IPL can reduce the number of capillaries and therefore improve the appearance of rosacea skin.
If you are considering IPL treatment for rosacea, have your IPL treatment done by a dermatologist you can trust and ask for references. There are certain risks involved with IPL treatment and for that reason it is better to go with a dermatologist than with a spa.
For your particular situation, the dermatologist may suggest the use of a different type of equipment, such as the Vbeam laser.
When searching the Internet for IPL, it becomes clear that people are divided about the effectiveness of IPL treatments. This is perhaps dependent on what the treatment was for, sun damage vs. rosacea for example, but it seems that overall about 50% of all IPL customers are happy with the results of their IPL treatment.
Other Interesting Posts about IPL for rosacea:
- photo rejuvenation with IPL • Rosacea Support Group – This paper is showing that two IPL wavelength ranges (555-950 nm and 530-750 nm) are effective for facial rejuvenation treatments. Although these results are not directly related to treating facial rosacea, it is good to see preliminary …
- treating rosacea with intense pulsed light (IPL) • Rosacea Support … – A good placeholder article that gives a nice introduction into the applicability of IPL to treating rosacea. Over time more papers are being published that show that for many, IPL is a good option for rosacea.