Laser treatment for rosacea


Lasers and lights: How well do they treat rosacea?

Rosacea patient before and after 2 laser treatments: After treatment (right), the many tiny blood vessels on this patient’s cheek cleared. If you have rosacea, laser or light therapy may be a part of your treatment plan. It’s unlikely to be your only treatment, though.

Different treatments for different signs of rosacea

When dermatologists create a treatment plan for rosacea, the plan often consists of medication, a rosacea friendly skin care plan, and tips to help you avoid flare-ups. Sometimes, a treatment plan also includes a procedure, such as laser therapy.

Your treatment plan is most likely to include a laser or light therapy if rosacea has caused:

  • Visible blood vessels

  • Thickening skin

A laser or light treatment can reduce (or get rid of) the blood vessels. To remove thickening skin, dermatologists may use laser resurfacing.

Laser treatment can also reduce redness. In a few small studies, lasers were used to treat permanent redness on the face or the redness surrounding acne-like blemishes. Some patients saw a considerable reduction in redness. Most patients, however, had about a 20% reduction in redness.

Because different lasers and exposure times were used in these studies, more research is needed to know how well lasers can treat the redness.

If you have permanent redness on your face, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this medication can reduce (or clear) the redness for up to 12 hours. After 12 hours, the redness tends to return.

Use sun protection

To prevent side effects after laser or light treatment, stay out of the sun and protect your skin when you must be outdoors.

What results are typical with laser or light therapy?

When used to treat visible blood vessels, most patients see a 50% to 75% reduction in visible blood vessels after 1 to 3 treatments. Some people see a 100% reduction.

Treatments are usually spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart.

If you have thickening skin, a skilled cosmetic dermatologist can give you very good results with in-office surgery and laser resurfacing. Patients who treat their thickening skin early tend to see the best results.

How long do results from lasers and lights last?

When used to treat blood vessels, the results tend to last 3 to 5 years. Treated blood vessels don’t reappear, but new ones can form.

Thickening skin tends to return after treatment. To prevent this and help you maintain results, your dermatologist can prescribe medication. You may also need follow-up laser therapy in the future.

What are the possible side effects from lasers and light treatments?

If you are considering a laser or light treatment, it’s important to know that your results depend largely on the person performing your treatment.

When you see a dermatologist, you’ll be in the care of a doctor who has the most experience treating the skin and skin diseases. Dermatologists:

  • Know the skin and treats rosacea often

  • Consider your medical history before creating a treatment plan

  • Can tell you whether laser therapy or light device can effectively treat your rosacea

If a laser or light treatment is right for you, you may have some temporary side effects after a dermatologist treats you. After treatment, it’s common to see some redness. This usually fades within 2 weeks.

You may also see a rash of purple or red spots. These, too, tend to clear in 1 to 2 weeks.

During treatment, some patients experience skin tightening, itch, or pain.

Scarring is rare in skilled hands.

To help you get the best results, you should receive instructions that explain how to care for your treated skin. Follow these instructions carefully.

While the instructions about sun protection may seem unnecessary, sun protection is really important. Staying out of the sun and protecting your skin from the sun’s rays help prevent permanent scars.

What to tell your dermatologist

To get the best results, communication is essential. If a laser or light treatment may be an option for you, it’s important for your dermatologist to know:

  • Which medications you take, including warfarin, isotretinoin, and aspirin

  • What other medical conditions you have, such as getting cold sores from time to time

  • If you are sensitive to light or bruise easily

  • What results you expect

Insurance warning

Although the FDA has approved some lasers and lights for treating rosacea and patients get good results, health insurance rarely covers the cost.

More research needed

Researchers continue to study how lasers and light treatments can treat rosacea. As we learn more, these devices may play a bigger role in treating rosacea.

If you’re interested in this treatment, a board-certified dermatologist can tell you whether a laser or light treatment may help treat your rosacea. You’ll know a dermatologist is board certified if you see the letters “FAAD” after the doctor’s name.

Related AAD resources

  • How to prevent rosacea flare-ups

  • Rosacea: How to treat the redness

  • Rosacea: Diagnosis and treatment

I Tried Laser Treatment To Help With My Rosacea & I Was Amazed With The Results — PHOTOS

If you’ve ever dealt with the skin condition called rosacea, you know that the hard-to-cover skin condition can be slightly embarrassing and sometimes painful. As someone who suffers from mild rosacea, I’m always looking for new treatments for this condition. So when I heard about using laser treatments for rosacea, it piqued my interest. And when I had the opportunity to visit Shafer Plastic Surgery to try out a Vbeam laser treatment, I jumped at it.

Before my treatment, I assumed that laser procedures were going to be part of my beauty regimen way down the line, not when I’m in my early 20s. But according to Graceanne Svendsen, the aesthetician who performed my procedure, lasers are becoming increasingly popular with women in their 20s, particularly those who deal with skin conditions such as rosacea or general unevenness.

The treatment I tried out was the Vbeam Perfecta, a pulsed-dye laser that can be used to treat anything from rosacea to acne scars. Using a series of light pulses that target red, swollen blood vessels, they help get rid of the red spots that are a trademark of rosacea.

My rosacea isn’t too severe, but as soon as Svendsen saw my makeup-free skin, she said I was a perfect candidate for the Vbeam laser.

With my rosacea, slight unevenness, and fair, freckled skin, I had a number of issues that the Vbeam could easily treat in one fell swoop. And the best part? There would be basically no downtime after my treatment. Shafer Plastic Surgery carries Oxygenetix, a foundation initially developed for doctors at the UCLA Hospital Burn and Dermatology Ward for use after burn treatment and injuries. Its healing formula contains aloe vera and ceravitae, which help stop post-laser treatment skin from becoming red and inflamed. At the same time, the foundation helps cover any residual redness from the treatment, which means you can go about your day normally after your procedure is over.

Oxygenetix Foundation, (Available at select medical spas and dermatologists)

With the knowledge that my skin would likely be just fine after my treatment, I was game to try out the Vbeam on a Friday right before a weekend packed with activities. Svendsen started out the treatment by cleansing my skin of any makeup, then she had me put on a pair of protective eye goggles. I was slightly nervous about the pain of the treatment, but it was way better than I expected. Every time the laser pulsed on my skin, there was a flash of light and a pulse of cool air, but very little pain. I’ve read that laser treatments feel a little like a rubber band snapping on your skin, and that’s a pretty good comparison. Honestly, the flash of light was the most unsettling part, particularly when Svendsen put the laser closer to my eyes (Vbeam can also help with under eye circles).

The entire process took less than 10 minutes from start to finish, and Svendsen followed it up by applying the Oxygenetix foundation to half of my face. You can see in this image how much more even and clear my face looked with the foundation, but it didn’t feel heavy at all — the light coverage was perfect for my post-treatment face, and the aloe in the formula provided some much-needed coolness.

My face felt perfectly fine with an hour or so of my treatment, and I was treated to smoother, clearer skin in the weeks that came. And the stubborn rosacea from my cheeks? It was reduced and less likely to flare up when I was too hot, too cold or had a glass of red wine (one of the quickest ways for my rosacea to flare). In the weeks that followed, I also experienced less hormonal pimples than normal, which I’m prone to getting on my chin.

Laser treatment does its best work if you’re consistent about getting treatments, but even one experience proved to me that laser treatment is a legit solution for rosacea.

Images: Unsplash/; Jessica Thomas (2); Courtesy of Oxygenetix

Is Rosacea Laser Treatment Right for You?

Anyone who has rosacea knows it’s hard to get rid of the red — topical therapies are only effective to a point. However, there is an option to erase the damage done and give you an even complexion: laser treatment for rosacea. Rosacea laser treatment uses heat from wavelengths of light to disintegrate the visible, tiny red blood vessels just underneath the skin.

Laser treatment for rosacea is effective for people who have small red lines on their face and for people who tend to have a red face all the time, says John E. Wolf, Jr., MD, professor and chairman of the department of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

People who flush bright red at certain times but tend not to have a constant red face can also be treated with laser treatments, but this is the most difficult form of rosacea to treat, Dr. Wolf says.

Laser Treatment Procedures for Rosacea

There are a few types of laser treatments or light therapies — which are sometimes lumped in with laser treatments, but are technically non-laser therapies — your dermatologist may use to clear up your rosacea.

  • Pulsed dye laser (PDL). This laser works specifically on the broken blood vessels under the skin because it pinpoints the color red in the skin, says Jessie Cheung, MD, associate director of cosmetic dermatology and assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.
  • CO2 laser. This is one of the most powerful lasers and the latest technology available, Cheung says. In addition to treating wrinkles and acne scars, the CO2 laser helps when people have thickening skin — usually on the nose or cheeks — from rosacea. The CO2 laser can help shave down those bumps, Cheung says.
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL). IPL isn’t actually a laser, Dr. Cheung says. It’s light of multiple wavelengths, but it works well at getting rid of broken blood vessels and brown pigmentation in the skin. It’s also less expensive than laser treatment.

PDL and IPL treatments will cause some pinkness and puffiness afterward, Cheung says. Your doctor may give you an ice pack to use after the procedure, and these side effects should subside in 10 or 15 minutes. Some people may need an antihistamine to help with the swelling, Cheung says.

The Pros of Laser Treatment for Rosacea:

There are good reasons to choose a rosacea laser treatment:

  • The results are long-lasting. You’ll get a better outcome when you get laser or light treatment compared to using a topical medicated cream alone, Cheung says. Once your treatments are completed, you’ll see benefits for quite a while; some people have reported having clearer skin for up to eight years. You can also help to maintain your clear skin after the treatment with topical therapies, Cheung adds.
  • Risks and side effects are low. When done in a dermatologist’s office and by trained professionals, the risks and side effects of laser treatments are very low, Cheung says.

The Cons of Laser Treatment for Rosacea:

Laser and light treatments are effective options, but come with these caveats:

  • The cost is high. Most of the time, insurance companies don’t cover laser treatments, so you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for the procedure. It could get costly — you may pay as much as $500 to $600 per session. Most people need one to five sessions to see the most benefit, Wolf says, and the results, while long-lasting, are not permanent.
  • If the lasers are used improperly, there are serious risks. Laser and light therapies can cause burns, blisters, scars, and skin discoloration if they’re not used the right way, Cheung says. That’s why she recommends having these treatments at a dermatologist’s office where the staff is trained to use the devices correctly and the risks are very low, rather than at a salon or spa where the staff may not be properly trained.

Complete Guide to Rosacea: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

How can I tell if I have acne or rosacea?

Although acne is considered a problem for adolescents and rosacea is associated with adults, this stereotype doesn’t always hold true. Teenagers with acne may be told by their doctor that they also have rosacea, or appear to be at special risk of acquiring rosacea later in life, and as such should take precautions now. Adults with rosacea may sometimes have acne as well.

As the two conditions have different causes and necessitate different treatments, you’ll definitely need a doctor’s diagnosis to be certain of which disease is afflicting you.

Other skin conditions sometimes confused with rosacea include eczema, which can arise from an allergic reaction, and cutaneous lupus.

What are the visible symptoms of rosacea?

Rosacea is quite a common skin condition — almost 10% of American adults are believed to suffer from it.

It is most easily observed on people with white skin. Darker skin can mask the condition’s presence, causing it to be under-reported. Women more commonly get the periodic intense reddening, while men are more apt to see changes in their skin texture. It may affect people of any age but is most common among the middle-aged (40-60). Symptoms include:

  • Facial redness

The most common symptom is a red glow to the face (cheeks, forehead, nose or chin). From time to time, this rosy hue can flare up into a more intense red. When appearing around the eyelids, it is sometimes confused with adult blepharitis or allergic conjunctivitis. Occasional flushing of the face need not indicate rosacea, but recurring episodes are common in many clinical cases.

  • Spider veins (telangiectasias)

Small connections between the arteries (which carry blood away from the heart) and veins (which bring blood back to the heart) can become malformed and visible as a series of small red dots on the surface of the skin. Other symptoms may mask the spider veins so they only become noticeable after these other symptoms have been successfully treated.

  • Hard pimples (papules)

The appearance of pimples on the face can lead people to think they’ve somehow developed acne, even though they’re well out of their teens and may never have experienced acne when they were teenagers.

Although adults can have acne, the pimples associated with rosacea are different from acne pimples. Acne is caused by dead skin cells and oils that build up and clog the pores. Classical acne treatments (topical rubs placed on the skin) can actually make rosacea-based pimples more irritating.

  • Softer pimples containing pus (pustules)

These pimples may only be tiny pinpoints but the quantity of pus produced can be alarming. Pimples and pustules may be accompanied by a burning or stinging sensation.

  • Dry skin

Almost half of all rosacea patients are believed to have dry skin. Rosacea patients with dry skin should be especially vigilant about applying moisturizer every day. Other skin conditions (e.g., dandruff, oily skin) may also occur with rosacea.

  • Strawberry nose (rhinophyma)

Thickening skin with nodules (phymatous) is another primary symptom of rosacea and often found on the nose. The thickened skin may also appear on the chin, forehead, ears, or eyelids. This condition is often a late development of uncontrolled rosacea with pimples or pustules.

  • Sensitivity to facial makeup

Rosacea can make the skin more sensitive, causing it to react strongly to facial makeup such as foundation.

  • Red and watery eyes

The eyes may become dry, irritated, and watery. Other issues that can arise with the eyes may include frequent styes or infections, redness, and sensitivity to light (photophobia). Sometimes the eyes may feel as though they have grit or another foreign body in them.

It is especially critical to see a doctor if the rosacea affects your eyes. Persistent rosacea can eventually damage the cornea and even lead to blindness.

Rosacea can also lead to an inflammation of the inner edge of the eyelid (posterior blepharitis). This condition causes irritated, itchy eyes and should be treated by a doctor.

  • Demodex

One of the normally beneficial life forms living on the epidermis is a tiny, nearly invisible mite called demodex.

Normally, demodex is no cause for alarm, but some studies have found that these microorganisms are unusually plentiful during rosacea flare-ups. They may be especially important in producing pimples and pustules that often accompany rosacea, and some treatments are expressly designed to reduce the presence of demodex.

  • Damaged blood vessels

Some of the secondary symptoms associated with rosacea (e.g., spider veins) are known to arise from damage to the vascular system (blood circulation). These symptoms are not always present in rosacea, and may only be contributing factors in certain clinical cases rather than primary causes of the disorder. Blood vessels may swell, making the red visible through the skin.

What causes rosacea?

Rosacea is a symptom of skin damage, although the cause of that damage is uncertain. Reassuringly, rosacea is not contagious. If you have rosacea, there is no need for friends or acquaintances to worry that they might catch it from you.

It’s possible that due to the range of symptoms and the differences in treatment success, rosacea has more than one cause. Despite the uncertainty, there are a few known triggers:

  • UV light

Ultraviolet light from the sun can penetrate through clouds. Even on an overcast day, this light reaches your skin. It is known to cause skin damage, and some medical authorities postulate that the damage brings capillaries in the hypodermis closer to the skin’s surface, or even close to the bottom of the epidermis. This change would explain both the reddened skin and a secondary symptom, small red dots sometimes called spider veins.

  • Immune system disorders

One popular belief is that a hypervigilant immune system may cause rosacea flare-ups. Normally, the immune system kills and removes alien invaders, but sometimes it overreacts and damages the body it is supposed to protect. In this case, the skin itself may be attacked.

This account would explain the red coloring in the skin as part of an inflammatory response to halt a non-existent invasion. It might also explain why, even after rosacea has been successfully treated, there are periodic flare-ups. An overactive immune response might trigger a reaction.

One particularly relevant part of the immune system is the mast cell, a type of white blood cell. Studies of rosacea patients indicate that they have more than the normal amount of mast cells. This could indicate, however, that mast cells resist rosacea rather than cause it.

One interesting study discovered that if mice with mast cells are injected with material from a patient with rosacea, they begin showing symptoms of rosacea. If the mice do not have mast cells, an injection with the same material does not produce any symptoms. With further study, it’s hoped the mechanisms that provoke rosacea will be better understood and a target for treatment identified.

  • Genetics

There is some evidence that supports the premise that rosacea runs in families, although no gene or combination of genes has been identified as making the disorder more likely.

A genetic effect is often indirect. For example, a hereditary predisposition might make a person more susceptible to skin disorders caused by ultraviolet light. In that case, the rosacea would not be directly inherited, but a greater susceptibility to the disorder would be passed down through the generations.

  • Alcohol

The three causes outlined above are all possible explanations for the reddish color of the skin. However, no concrete hypothesis has yet emerged to explain the excess tissue (phymatous) that constitutes the second primary symptom of rosacea. There is, however, a popular folk explanation: long-term alcoholism.

The logic is simple: sometimes alcohol causes a person’s face to redden, and eventually the drinker’s face might remain in a permanent flush. Alcohol can indeed be one of the triggers of a rosacea flare-up, except many alcoholics never get the excess tissue, while non-drinkers occasionally do.

As a general rule, refraining from alcohol or drinking in moderation is the most prudent guideline to follow, even if phymatous is not a sign of excessive drinking.

Common rosacea triggers

While the causes of rosacea remain uncertain, the triggers that lead to flare-ups of the condition are understood. Triggers bring blood to the face; drinking wine represents one such example. Rosacea flare-ups can also accompany menopause, or be a symptom of caffeine withdrawal.

The National Rosacea Society has surveyed over 1,000 patients and found a long list of triggers. Most of them were reported by a minority of patients, but the following five were common to more than half of the patients surveyed.

The best technique to avoid triggers is to keep a record of your flare-ups, noting the weather, your emotional state, any recent activities and the foods you’ve eaten. If a pattern emerges, you’ll know which triggers to avoid.

  • Weather conditions

Exposure to the sun is the most commonly reported trigger. It’s recommended patients wear broad-brimmed hats and apply sunscreen regularly. Strong winds and hot weather in general will trigger flare-ups in many cases.

  • Emotional state

Another trigger almost as widely reported as sun exposure is emotional stress. This trigger can be especially upsetting to patients at work where the rosacea flare-up can even increase the stress. It can also complicate an already embarrassing social situation when the rosacea suddenly reddens a face, signalling to everyone just how upset the person is.

  • Lifestyle factors

While not as common as the sun or stress factors, lifestyle can also trigger flare-ups. Exercise, alcohol and hot baths can actually intensify rosacea.

Of course, people who find that exercise triggers intense rosacea shouldn’t stop exercising. Instead, they only need to change their exercise programs so they become less intense. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and when the workout is finished be sure to cover your head with a cool, wet cloth.

  • Foods

Many people report how certain foods can trigger a flare-up. While trigger foods varied among sufferers, spicy foods were found to be the most common dietary trigger.

  • Medications

Rosacea flare-ups can sometimes be a side effect of certain medications. If that happens, don’t stop taking the drug, but speak with your doctor and see if a substitute medication is available.

Can rosacea be cured?

There is no cure for rosacea, but its symptoms can be minimized and in some cases, even permanently eliminated. Once the condition is treated, patients will need to adjust their habits and lifestyle to keep flare-ups to a minimum.

Treatment depends on the symptoms displayed. If a patient displays pimples or pustules, these should be treated first. They can spread and also tend to cause many people the most concern about how they look. Problems with the eye are also an area of concern and call for prompt treatment. If there are changes to the skin — thick, nodules on a rosy skin — those should be examined promptly as well.

The Internet is rife with information devoted to home and herbal remedies for rosacea. Most of them have not been scientifically tested nor approved by the FDA and as such, are not listed here. Your doctor, however, may know from clinical experience if a particular natural remedy may be beneficial for you and as such recommend it.

“Six New Rosacea Treatments That Will Help End The Redness” – Denise Mann, MS

  • Share
  • (January 09, 2018)

There are many ways to treat pimples and other symptoms of rosacea, but the same couldn’t be said about the redness until now. From laser and lights to new prescription creams and calming over-the-counter skin care products, dermatologists share proven strategies for extinguishing the redness of rosacea for good. Lasers are the gold standard for getting rid of the redness of rosacea, said Gary Goldenberg, MD, assistant professor of dermatology and pathology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and director of the dermatology faculty practice at the Mount Sinai Hospital. His two go-tos for rosacea treatment are Syneron-Candela’s V-beam and Cutera’s Excel V. Both apply laser energy to get rid of the spider-like vessels that cause redness. “These laser treatments get rid of the blood vessels, but they don’t prevent new ones from forming,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “It’s similar to dyeing your hair in that maintenance treatments will be needed every six to 12 months to keep redness away.” Sun exposure is among the most common rosacea triggers, but the judicious use of sunscreen can help minimize the redness of rosacea, Dr. Goldenberg added.

– Gary Goldenberg, MD, Assistant Professor, Dermatology, Pathology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Dermatology Faculty Practice, The Mount Sinai Hospital

Learn more


Facial Flushing and Facial Redness

Rosacea is an inflammatory condition mainly affecting the face. It is marked by episodic flushing of the skin, often lasting for several hours. Some people will periodically develop multiple spots in the affected areas which often become pustular and are a special form of acne requiring different treatment from regular acne.

It is an under-diagnosed condition which may affect up to 10% of the population. There are two peak incidences of rosacea, one in the 20s and one in the 50s, although people of any age may develop the condition.

Faces of Rosacea – National Rosacea Society

Treatment for rosacea is different than for acne, and it is important that you consult a physician to determine whether you are suffering from acne vulgaris or rosacea.

Source: Palomar Medical
Photo courtesy of Maurice Adatto, MD
Treatment: Intense Pulsed Light*
Patient results may vary

Symptoms of Rosacea Include:

  • Rashes
  • Erythema (red areas on the face)
  • Discrete areas or the entire face
  • A tendency to flush, blush easily
  • Increased vascularity (telangiectasis) of the face
  • A red, sometimes bulbous nose
  • Acne-like skin eruptions (macules, nodules, pustules, may ooze or crust)
  • A burning or stinging sensation of the face


Rosacea can be hereditary, but there is no known cause. The flushing attacks may be triggered by a number of different factors. Often these trigger factors will vary considerably from individual to individual.

No exclusion list exists that is suitable for everyone. There are, however, many common triggers, including:

  • Hot temperature
  • Dairy products food and drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Spicy foods
  • Stress
  • Temperature changes
  • Sun
  • Wind
  • Embarrassment

Rosacea Progression and Treatments

After a period of intermittent flushing, the skin becomes persistently red with the development of multiple telangiectasia (tiny broken veins) over the affected area. Experiencing these flushing attacks can be extremely uncomfortable. Attacks can vary from burning to intense pain.

Rosacea also causes considerable embarrassment itself. For example, 70% of a 400 patient group with rosacea say they suffer from embarrassment from their condition*. (Source: National Rosacea Society.)

Many people believe their facial redness is purely a cosmetic problem and do not seek advice about it. However, it is important to treat this condition early to prevent long term side effects which include: telangiectasia; coarsening of the skin, rhinophyma (enlargement of the nose); persistent swelling of the face or eye problems.

Treatment should start with identifying possible trigger factors. It could be helpful to keep a diary over a few weeks to help to identify foods which might make the flushing worse. In mild rosacea, topical antibiotics are commonly used. In general, metronidazole is used and needs to be applied sparingly to the whole affected area.

Source: Palomar Medical
Photo courtesy of David Vasily, MD
Treatment: LuxG Pulsed Light*
Patient results may vary

Treatments which Dr. Sedgh may consider using for your rosacea may include PhotoDynamic Therapy or IPL. These laser and light treatments are designed to vastly improve the persistent redness and the intensity of flushing episodes by reducing the size and number of the involved capillaries and tiny spider veins that are part of the rosacea problem.

In those who fail to respond to topical antibiotics, or those with a more severe disease, systemic antibiotics can be used. Systemic antibiotics tend to have their major impact on the inflammatory lesions, with the flushing tending to respond less quickly. Oracea is a newer prescription medication used for inflammatory rosacea acne and is deemed to be a better long-term antibiotic without the high risk of antibiotic resistance.

Rosacea can be confused with acne or seborrheic dermatitis, although some people have both rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. Therefore it is important that the condition is diagnosed correctly, so that the most appropriate treatment is administered.

Rosacea which has progressed to the stage of rhinophyma may require the use of resurfacing lasers such as the fractional resurfacing laser. The key to managing rosacea is to implement the necessary treatments and learn to recognize and avoid your triggers.

For more information about rosacea treatments and a full consultation with Dr. John Sedgh, please call Beverly Hills Laser Institute, Inc. at 888-333-2515 today.

* Individual Results May Vary

What to Expect With Laser Treatment for Rosacea


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There are many medications available today to treat rosacea. But medication doesn’t work for all symptoms—especially redness and flushing, as well as skin thickening around the nose. If you’ve been struggling with these symptoms, laser treatment may be an option. It’s provided dramatic results for some people who have these two difficult-to-treat rosacea symptoms.

How Lasers Calm the Redness

Although different types of lasers can be used to treat a red rosacea complexion, one of the most common and effective is the pulsed dye laser (PDL). This laser is absorbed by red blood cells and destroys the lining of inflamed and visible blood vessels.

“Targeting these visible blood vessels can greatly reduce redness and flushing,” explains Sanusi Umar, M.D., who heads up FineTouch Dermatology, a practice with locations in Redondo Beach and Beverly Hills, California. “Laser treatment isn’t a cure for rosacea, but many patients see results for months or even years after treatment.”

What to Expect

Typically, laser therapy requires a series of treatments to see results. You may need anywhere from two to eight treatments, which are spaced about six weeks apart.

“Depending on severity of symptoms, skin type, and other factors, people respond to laser treatment differently. Some need only a few treatments. Others may require more,” says Dr. Umar. “It’s important to find a dermatologist who is experienced and skilled in laser surgery and can tailor treatment to your specific condition and needs.”

How Effective Is It?

Most patients report that laser treatment helps reduce visible blood vessels, flushing, and redness. In fact, a recent study found that people with rosacea undergoing laser therapy saw a 40 to 60 percent improvement in these symptoms after the second treatment.

“Just remember that laser treatment is not a cure for the disease. It permanently targets the symptoms that are visible at the time of treatment,” says Dr. Umar. “However, it’s not uncommon for some new blood vessels to appear down the line, which may require follow-up care.”

Giving New Shape to the Nose

Lasers used to treat excess or thickened skin on or around the nose are different from those used to treat redness. Many dermatologists use a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser, which contours the nose by eliminating excess tissue. The laser works by targeting water in the excess tissue.

Most patients need at least two or three treatment sessions, which are performed four to eight weeks apart. And the results can be significant, smoothing the skin by safely removing excess tissue. However, if you’re experiencing this rosacea symptom, don’t postpone talking with a dermatologist. Those who seek treatment soon after noticing symptoms have the best results. The more advanced the problem, the more difficult it is to treat.

The Side Effects of Laser Treatment

Side effects from both types of laser treatments are typically minimal. You may find that you’re red, swollen, and sore the day after treatment. Some people may have temporary bruising for a week or two. In some cases, crusting, discoloration, or scarring can occur.

Are You a Candidate?

It’s important to talk with an experienced dermatologist to see if you’re a candidate for laser treatment. Laser treatment should not be used if you have a tan or are dark skinned. It’s also not right for those who easily scar, have a blood-clotting disorder, or have insulin-dependent diabetes. Pregnant women should also avoid laser treatment.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Laser treatment can be expensive. Typically, medical insurance doesn’t cover the treatments, which can cost around $300 to $600 a session. But it may be worth it.

“Although there is no guarantee how it will work for you, laser treatment provides welcome relief for many,” says Dr. Umar. “Although the treatment doesn’t change the course of the disease, it can help people look better and, more important, feel better about themselves.”

How Much Will My Laser Treatment for Rosacea Cost?

Overview | Treatment | Before and After Pictures

We understand that cost is important for you when deciding on how to treat your Rosacea. There are lots of treatments out there to help keep it in check. Topical creams, gels and washes and oral medications are commonly used, and some may even be covered by your medical insurance.

Clearly, using something like this at home may be the cheaper and more convenient option. But, what if they’re not working? Or what if they help, but you’d like more redness reduction? Then laser treatment of Rosacea may be worth looking into for you. There’s really no comparison of medications for Rosacea and laser treatment; none of them can do what the laser can. They are apples and oranges.

So if you’re ready to have laser treatment, understand that there are a few different options that can be used. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and pulsed-dye lasers are the two most commonly used devices out there. At Celibre, we use only pulsed-dye lasers like the Candela V-beam and Cynosure V-star to reduce the facial redness of Rosacea.

In the Los Angeles area, we’ve found that the price for laser treatment of Rosacea ranges from $250-$500. Why the large range? Several things factor into the cost. The experience of the laser practitioner, the severity of your rosacea and the time needed to treat you may all be factors. Sometimes, an RN, NP or PA may charge less than a physician, simply because all of these practitioners have different values for their time spent in treatment. Regardless of the credentials, you want to make sure that whomever treats you is highly trained and has lots of experience with laser treatment of Rosacea. Some practices will also use a protocol known as “bruising” to treat Rosacea with lasers. These treatments usually take more time, so they may cost a bit more. Make sure you feel comfortable with your practitioner and know what kind of laser treatment you’re getting and why.

We would love the opportunity to help you manage your Rosacea with one of our state-of-the-art lasers. A consultation is absolutely free to you. We make your education our priority and will walk you through our laser treatment of Rosacea step-by-step. We’ve helped lots of people with Rosacea — check out our before and after picture gallery. We can help you too. Please give us a call today!

Visit our rosacea laser treatment before and after pictures

Contact Celibre today for your rosacea laser treatment!

Lasers Used to Treat Rosacea

I’ve had rosacea my whole life, and while it’s certainly not severe, it’s definitely annoying. Every time my totally bare skin makes an appearance, be it on vacation or a beach day, I’ll inevitably hear, “Wow, looks like you got some color outside today!”

I’d love to stop defending my skin care routine all the time — yes, I promise I wear sunscreen — but even more importantly, I’d love to wear less makeup.

I need to apply a decently thick layer of foundation (I use Estée Lauder Double Wear, which is exceptional) every day to conceal my redness, plus a layer of powder on top to set everything so it doesn’t budge. If having an inflammatory skin disease wasn’t enough, my naturally sensitive skin is also prone to acne, so heaping tons of concealer on every day triggered a vicious cycle of breaking out and covering up. After years of this routine, I wanted out.

Not a sunburn. Courtesy of the author

After trying every variation of green-tinted color corrector, I decided to look for more permanent options. Frenzied Googling of “help fix red face skin rosacea please” led me to broadband light treatments — also called a photofacial — which corrects brown spots and sun damage, as well as stimulating collagen production, eliminating broken capillaries, and reducing facial redness.

Here’s how the treatment works: Photofacials use intense pulsed light (IPL) to minimize redness and hyperpigmentation on a targeted area. That light shoots out of a handheld device which is connected to a larger machine. Various filters on the machine’s control pad help adjust the wavelength of the light, so you’d use a different filter to fix brown spots than you would redness. The controls also allow the doctor to determine how much light is needed for the spot they’re correcting. The procedure delivers quick, hot pulses of light, which even out your skin tone by breaking up the uneven patches of melanin. The body then reads them as foreign and absorbs them, resulting in a more even skin tone. Magic! (Well, not completely, because you typically need at least three sessions, scheduled two to four weeks apart, to see results, but in the end your discoloration disappears, so it’s still pretty magical.)

It seemed legit, so I decided to call up Dr. Dara Liotta, a board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon and Chief Medical Director at City Aesthetics in Manhattan. She also happens to be the only person I trust with my face, since she once bravely gave me live lip injections in front of a quarter of a million Facebook viewers.

At a consult with Dr. Liotta, she explained that I was a great candidate for broadband light, and we decided to move forward and book my first session.

Ready for this jelly. Ruben Chamorro

When I arrived at the office a few days later, I sat down and removed all my makeup — I was wearing a lot more than I’d like to admit. I put on protective eye goggles (so glam!) and Dr. Liotta’s technicians smeared ultrasound jelly across my face. This, I later discovered, is to help distribute the heat and light energy evenly so it’s uniformly delivered to the skin. I felt like a science experiment in a petri dish, but kept picturing myself with perfect skin in order to keep calm.

Then came the zapping. Dr. Liotta told me that the IPL would feel like a hot rubber band snapping against my skin. And while I’m the one who gets paid to write words for a living and she gets paid to fix faces, I couldn’t have described it any better myself. I knew exactly what she meant as soon as she started moving the device around my face and the pulsating light show began. You flinch a little with each zap, but if you’re someone whose pain threshold can tolerate a bikini wax, you can do this. She continued to zap each of my problem areas, swapping out the unit’s head for a smaller one to get to harder-to-reach places when necessary.

Zap zap. Ruben Chamorro

The session lasted about fifteen minutes from start to finish (a typical time frame, she told me). She also mentioned that I’d look a bit more red immediately following the treatment, but the upside is that there’s literally no down-time for this procedure. I could reapply my makeup and return to work or whatever with no one the wiser. I signed up to repeat this exact process three times, with sessions spaced three weeks apart.

Yay, zapping is done! Ruben Chamorro

After each treatment, I gradually saw my redness fading away, and by my third visit, I was definitely wearing less makeup. Dr. Liotta says this is fairly common among her patients. “It’s the kind of thing where people come back for their third treatment and I say, ‘Ok, let’s take off your makeup,’ and they say ‘Oh I’m not wearing any makeup!’” she explained. I want to go to there, I thought.

Even luckier, there’s also a plethora of other benefits photofacials have to offer besides minimizing rosacea. For example: They can help reduce acne because the heat of the laser’s light kills the bacteria on your skin. They can even remove body hair by “burning” off the follicles. And perhaps most intriguingly, a photofacial can actually increase collagen production to give your skin a more youthful appearance. Essentially the light pulses cause “injure” your skin, so your body responds by producing collagen to heal it. Sounds terrifying, but beauty is a little pain, right?

No concealer! Ruben Chamorro

Interested in trying out a photofacial for yourself? The good news is that most people are great candidates. Dr. Liotta told me that she often sees brides opting for this treatment before their weddings, since the results are reliable and predictable. Another time she sees appointments spike? Before fashion week. Shocker!

So, who isn’t a candidate? You shouldn’t get broadband light or IPL procedures if you notice a pigmented lesion on your skin, or a mark that’s changing color or size, as this could be a sign of skin cancer, Dr. Liotta explained to me. Otherwise, do your research thoroughly before selecting an expert to administer the treatment — laws about who can work with IPL vary from state to state. You can schedule a consultation to further talk about your compatibility with the laser.

Because of the variation in experts who are licensed for these treatments, you’ll also notice that prices can vary widely. While a facial plastic surgeon might charge $1,600 for a package of three sessions, you can search around on deal sites like Groupon and find packages as low as $300 for three appointments. Dr. Liotta cautions that you often get what you pay for though in these scenarios. Is it really a bargain if you burn your skin? Not so much.

As for me and my results? It’s been a few weeks since my final session and I’m actually thrilled. I no longer look sunburned when I’m not wearing foundation, and my skin looks clearer than ever. Do I still flush pink after running a few miles at the gym? Sure. Broadband light or IPL are not cures for rosacea, and you’ll need to come back for a touch-up once a year. But the treatments definitely gave me a noticeable improvement and a serious dose of confidence in my complexion — especially when I’m out and about foundation-free.

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Ali Drucker Ali Drucker is’s Senior Sex & Relationships editor.

Rosacea Laser Treatments

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a very common skin problem characterized by blotchy redness across the face. Pimple-like bumps may also appear, but they are usually red. Rosacea can be short term or long term and may be mistaken for an allergic reaction.

How is Rosacea caused?

The underlying causes of rosacea are not known. The most likely contributing factors are either environmental or hereditary. Each individual’s rosacea may be exacerbated by various elements. Potential triggers include certain skin products and cosmetics, emotions, hot drinks, spicy food, and sun exposure.

How can Rosacea be treated?

A combination of good skin care and either medication or therapy are used to treat rosacea. Some medicines, applied to the skin, can help reduce redness. There are also a few types of oral antibiotics that may help reduce rosacea. Laser therapy can also help reduce the appearance of enlarged blood vessels.

What are the benefits of treatment by lasers?

Laser therapy for rosacea is a safe, painless treatment. Laser therapy is also potentially more effective than topical treatments, especially when the rosacea is particularly severe. Additionally, the results of laser therapy are long-lasting and there are very few risks.

Who is a good candidate for Treatment?

Anyone can get rosacea, but fair-skinned women are much more likely to develop the condition. Rosacea is also likely to be more severe in women with lighter skin, so they are the most likely candidates for laser treatment. Patients who have not been able to resolve their rosacea via other methods are also good candidates for laser therapy.

What is the average cost of Rosacea Treatment?

Laser therapy for rosacea can cost upwards of $500-$600 per session. Insurance does not usually cover this procedure as it is considered cosmetic. Depending upon the amount of sessions needed, the cost can get quite high.

How many treatments will I need?

Most patients will need multiple sessions in order to fully resolve the rosacea. The exact amount of treatments depends upon the severity of the rosacea. Most patients typically need at least three sessions.

How long will each treatment take?

Each session will last approximately thirty minutes. A licensed professional will work with you to determine if a shorter or longer session is necessary.

How far apart are treatments?

Treatments are typically three to six weeks apart in order to allow the skin to heal. In between treatments, it is important to avoid the sun as much as possible. Always use sunscreen and wear a large-brimmed hat if going outside.

What should I expect after treatment?

You may see some increased redness after treatment. This redness should fade over time, in no more than two weeks. Occasionally patients also develop red or purple spots, which should clear within the same timeframe. There may also be some itching. Sun protection is always important, but especially so after treatment. Always use sunscreen and large hats to protect your face from the sun.

How can I prepare for treatment?

Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor, including questions about treatment options and skin care. Avoid taking any medications or supplements that are classified as blood thinners at least two weeks before having laser therapy.

How permanent is the treatment?

After the rosacea has been cleared, most patients can expect the treatment to last for three to five years. The treated blood vessels should not reappear, but new ones may appear at any time.

Where can I go to find a treatment?

Laser therapy for rosacea is offered at most cosmetic clinics. Dermatology clinics occasionally offer the service as well.

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