In our last post we began to look at rosacea, a condition that causes flushed and red skin. It is a skin irritation that usually afflicts people from the age of 30 and up, and it occurs in about 10% of all adults. Women going through menopause are more prone to the condition as well as people with fairer skin. Apart from redness, people with rosacea also develop pimples and bumps on the affected area, along with a thickening of the skin around the nose.

The inflammation and redness is caused by enlarged or broken blood vessels under the surface of the skin. The condition can be triggered by a number of factors, from exposure to harsh weather conditions, to stress, alcohol and even exercise. There is no cure for rosacea but there are antibiotics, steroid medications and creams that can keep the symptoms under control.

Intense pulsed light or IPL cosmetic treatment of rosacea is becoming an increasingly popular option because it is able to produce results fast and does not require long term medication.

RosaceaWhat is IPL?

IPL makes use of pulsed beams of light to treat a number of skin conditions from pigmentation issues to wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and other symptoms associated with ageing. It is also used to treat thread veins and to remove unwanted hair on the face and body. IPL treatments are becoming increasingly popular because they are non-invasive, fairly simple and generally require no down time. Laser treatment of skin conditions can also produce results much faster that medications and topical ointments.

Basically, IPL works by exposing the skin to pulses of light; the light penetrates the skin without damaging the surface of the skin. In the case of pigmentation or age spots, the light is absorbed by the pigmentation causing melanin thus causing the melanin to break down. The body then naturally removes the broken down melanin from the skin, allowing for more even toned skin.

How can IPL treat rosacea?

IPL can treat a number of the symptoms of rosacea such as redness and swelling. The pulsed light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by the affected blood vessels and veins, thus damaging them. The body is then able to reabsorb the damaged veins and this reduces the appearance of redness and swelling.

Factors to consider before you get IPL

The first thing to keep in mind if you are considering IPL treatment for rosacea is that it is not a cure. While some see a dramatic reduction in their symptoms, there is no guarantee that the result will be permanent. There is always the possibility that you will need additional sessions of laser or light treatment in order to maintain clear skin. There have also been cases in which rosacea has worsened after IPL treatment.

Another factor that must be considered is whether or not you are a suitable candidate for the treatment. Generally people with insulin dependent diabetes, blood clotting disorders or those who are prone to developing keloids, are unsuited to IPL treatment as these conditions put you at risk of developing an infection or can disrupt the healing process.

What to expect

The success of IPL treatment will depend on a number of factors such as the nature and severity of your rosacea, the amount of sun damage to your skin as well as lifestyle factors like whether you take good care of your skin. It is important to go into treatment with realistic expectations of the outcome. Your doctor will be able to assess your condition and give you a clear idea of what to expect from IPL treatment. It is crucial that the person administering the IPL treatment be fully trained and experienced in the procedure as this will ensure the best possible results.

If you are considering IPL for rosacea, make sure you consider all these factors, speak to your doctor and contact us for advice about the best treatment option that is most suited to your skin condition and lifestyle.

[Photo by miss_rogue]