Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes flushing and redness on the face and sometimes on the neck and chest also. As time passes and if the condition is left untreated, the redness can become darker and more chronic which can then progress to pimples/pustules/papules and visible dilated blood vessels in the centre of the face that can eventually affect the cheeks, forehead and chin.
Rosacea symptoms typically exhibit themselves after the age of 30 in most sufferers, and affects more women than men, although men tend to experience more intense symptoms. Fair-skinned people are affected more than darker skins. It is thought that approximately 1 in 10 people are impacted by the condition to varying degrees.
In very severe cases the skin, especially on the nose, can become bumpy, thicker and swollen and the eyes can also be affected.
There are different types of Rosacea and while the overall cause is still not very well understood, it is thought that the flushing/redness is caused by defective blood vessels that dilate too readily by being over responsive to both internal and external stimuli such as heat, stress, sun exposure, caffeine and alcohol.
There may be a genetic link as sufferers often have family members who are affected or go on to develop symptoms. Research also points to a possible link to a skin mite called demodex follicularum which has been found in greater numbers in those with the condition.
Many Rosacea sufferers report feelings of embarrassment and anxiety as a result of the symptoms experienced. Unfortunately, due to lack of awareness of the condition, the redness and unpredictable flushing is often mistaken for excessive intake of alcohol.
Although there is no known cure, flare-ups of rosacea can, to a degree, be minimised by avoiding triggers such as certain foods, alcohol and sun exposure. Antibiotic creams and tablets are also used by some clients.
Another quick, safe and effective way to reduce the redness, flushing, thread veins and pimples caused by rosacea is by treating the skin with our medical-grade Lynton Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser system.
The light energy delivered by the IPL system targets the haemoglobin in the blood vessels. The light beams pass through the skin and are absorbed by the red haemoglobin within the vessels which heats them and subsequently damages the vessel walls.
By creating this controlled injury we are stimulating the body’s natural repair mechanism – without affecting surrounding cells the damaged vessels are broken down and reabsorbed/destroyed by the body. This reduces overall redness and diminishes vascular over-response to both internal and external stimuli, thereby reducing flushing caused by rosacea.
Furthermore, the warming effect of the light energy also increases the production of collagen and has a tightening effect on the skin aiding skin elasticity and texture. Collagen remodelling also supports the smaller vessels to prevent them from worsening into more prominent thread veins.
Most people are suitable for treatment except for very dark skinned or tanned individuals. It is imperative that UV exposure (natural sunlight and sunbed use) is avoided as much as possible during a course of treatments as treatments are safer and more effective when treating fair and tan-free skin.
A sunscreen containing minimum SPF 30 should be applied daily throughout the entire treatment course. If any tan is present the treatment will be postponed until it has fully resolved.
Some medical conditions and medications can also contraindicate treatment which is why we take full medical history details to ensure suitability before starting any treatment.
Prior to treatment you must initially attend a consultation appointment during which the treatment process is explained in detail. As mentioned above, medical history details are obtained in order to determine suitability for treatment.
If we are able to proceed a consent form must then be signed before a patch test is performed, this must be carried out at least 48 hours prior to the first treatment.
The patch test allows us to foresee any potential complications, but it is also a good opportunity to experience the treatment sensation first-hand.
The treatment area is cleansed before a conductive gel is applied on the area(s) being treated. Protective eyewear is worn by both the client and the laser operator.
The light applicator is placed on the skin and a short pulse of light is released. The applicator is then moved to the neighbouring area and the process is repeated until the entire area has been treated.
The skin is then cleaned and cooled before aloe vera and SPF is applied. Treatments are very quick and efficient e.g. full face sessions usually last for 30 minutes.
Most clients liken the sensation to an elastic band flicking against the skin each time a pulse of light is delivered into the skin. A slight heat is often felt also but most clients describe the sensation as mild and tolerable, no anaesthesia is required.
The treated area may feel warm and sensitive for the first day or two post-treatment. The area will most likely appear even redder post-treatment as a result of the vessels having been heated but this effect usually subsides within a few hours.
Any redness and swelling is usually very short-lived and other potential effects such as blistering and pigment change are extremely rare making IPL a very safe treatment option for rosacea sufferers.
We use a high quality medical-grade IPL system by Lynton which also minimises any risks.
The length of each treatment will depend on the size of area being treated, but a typical session will take 15 to 30 minutes.
The number of treatments will depend on the severity of the rosacea and individual response. However, typically, we find that a course of between 4 and 6 sessions at 4-6 week intervals is optimum for significantly reducing rosacea symptoms such as redness and flushing. Improvements will continue to be seen after the course especially if triggers (alcohol, sunlight etc) can also be avoided.
Top-up sessions can be performed as and when any flare-ups occur to help clients maintain a clear and more even complexion. As mentioned previously, there is no known cure for rosacea and it is a relapsing condition where symptoms can reappear.
Whilst IPL cannot promise to prevent future symptoms, it does offer a safe and effective long-term solution for dramatically reducing and managing rosacea symptoms so sufferers can take back control of their lives and regain their confidence.
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