What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects over 15 million Americans. It starts mostly between the ages of 30-50. It is characterized by a persistent redness on the face, with the cheeks and nose most frequently affected, followed by the forehead and chin. Some people will experience a prolonged flushing due to various stimuli, such as emotional stress, hot drinks, alcohol, spicy foods, exercise, or cold or hot weather. The skin may have a roughness or scaling and can become easily irritated. Additional features commonly include telangiectasias (dilated blood vessels), acne bumps and pustules.

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but genetics and sun exposure likely play a significant role. Sunscreens are an essential component of treatment for all patients. They should be applied each morning and re-applied every 2-3 hours. The sunscreen should have at least a SPF of 30 or higher and contain a physical blocker, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Avoidance of irritants, such as astringents, peeling agents and exfoliants is generally recommended. The acne component of rosacea is typically managed with prescription creams or oral medications.

The redness and blood vessels of rosacea are treated with laser and light therapy. Pulsed dye laser (PDL) has been used as the treatment for rosacea since the early 1990s and remains the gold-standard of treatment. The physicians at Physicians Laser and Dermatology Institute helped develop the PDL system and continue to use it for rosacea. Additionally, they may use an additional 3 laser and light devices to customize each patient’s treatment to best fit their needs. The lasers emit a light at a specific wavelength that is absorbed by the aberrant blood vessels in the skin, shrinking them down to improve the appearance of the overlying skin. The procedure takes a few minutes, is well-tolerated and patients can return to work the same or next day. If you think you might benefit from a laser treatment for rosacea, please schedule a consultation today with one of our board-certified dermatologists.