Mar 22 2014

Reduce Facial Redness

rosacea red face laser treatments stonington ct

What is rosacea

Dr. Duke in Stonington CT says: Rosacea is a form of chronic skin inflammation which can be treated with lasers. Rosacea causes oil gland overgrowth, redness, flushing, inflammation, and pimple/pustule type breakouts. The skin can become hot, irritated, and burn. We do not know what causes rosacea, why some people have it and others do not, and why different patients have different "triggers" (see below). Sometimes, rosacea skin will be relatively quiet and calm; other times, the skin will become very hot and inflamed and begin to breakout and get very red and burn. 

Anyone can get rosacea. It is more common in women than men, though both can have rosacea. Most common age groups affected are ages 30-50. 

We are unsure what exactly causes rosacea. It tends to run in families (genetics and more fair skin type). Researchers have found that rosacea skin may be reacting to a natural bacteria on the skin (called bacillus oleronius). This reaction initiates the cascade of inflammation leading to a rosacea flare. Rosacea skin may be more sensitive to a mite on all of our skin (called demodex), which may lead to the inflammation causing rosacea. A particular protein in the skin (called cathelicidin) may as well be related to the physiology of rosacea. 

Types of rosacea

Rosacea is classified into four categories:

  • Facial redness, flushing, visible blood vessels: swollen, sensitive, dryness, irritable, sting/burn
  • Acne-like breakouts: pimples, pustules, oily, larger pores and glands, inflamed skin
  • Thickening of the skin: bumpy texture, enlargement and thickening of the nose skin
  • Ocular (eye) involvement: watery, gritty, red, irritated, burning, dry

A given individual may experience all of the above, or just some of the above. Also, like any skin or medical issue, there is a spectrum of expression of the symptoms. Someone may have very mild signs and symptoms; others more severe. The signs and symptoms may change and fluctuate in a given individual over time. More unusual is for young people to have rosacea, or for someone to have rosacea on non-facial areas -- though both of these can occur. 

Triggers of rosacea

A trigger is defined as an exposure, either internal or external, that causes your rosacea to get worse, flare, become more active. Everyone has different triggers. Some more common triggers include:

  • hot (temperature) foods
  • hot (spicy)  foods
  • sun/heat exposure
  • wind/cold exposure
  • stress
  • alcohol (particularly wine) intake

Avoiding a known trigger may help decrease the activity of your rosacea or prevention as many flares.

Creams and gels to treat rosacea

There are both topical and oral medications that have been documented to decrease the different aspects of rosacea:

Creams and gels:

  • anti redness serums: several physician strength and over the counter options
  • prescription topical antibiotics: metronidazole or clindamycin
  • prescription azeleic acid (Finacea)
  • prescription anti-inflammatory (Aczone)

Oral medication:

  • antibiotics: tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline

Sunscreen is an an important component of rosacea prevent as sun and heat are common triggers.

Laser treatments to reduce facial redness and blood vessels

There are several laser and light based devices that have been documented to decrease both diffuse facial redness and the visible blood vessels.

  • Vascular laser: Lasers are one wavelength of light, targeted at the blood vessel only, to remove the visible blood vessel without harming the other elements of the skin.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): IPL is multiple wavelengths of light which focus on the diffuse facial redness rather than the individual blood vessels. A series of no downtime IPL treatments effectively reduces diffuse facial redness
  • Red LED light (Omni Lux): LED light is a low dose light source which decreases the complicated cascade of rosacea inflammation. The treatments are easy, quick, no downtime and most effective over a series of treatments.

We are located in Mystic, CT (a section of Stonington, CT), accessible from Groton CT, Norwich CT, New London CT, and Westerly RI. Call our office at 860-245-0000 if you have any questions about your skin, or send us an email through our "contact us" page

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Coastal Dermatology: Daniella Duke, MD

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