IPL Laser Treatment for Rosacea

Updated April 17, 2017

Rosacea is a common skin condition affecting many people. Symptoms of Rosacea are redness on the cheeks, nose or forehead; small visible blood vessels, red bumps or pimples on the face. This condition usually affects fair skinned people, and more women than men. You may have unique triggers like stress, spicy food, hot baths or alcohol that cause flare-ups. There is no cure for this condition but it can be controlled. Intense pulsed light (IPL) laser for treatment of Rosacea received approval from the FDA in 1995. This laser is approved for treatment of fine dilated blood vessels on the face. Consult with your dermatologist to see if IPL is right for you.

What is Intense Pulsed Light

Intense pulsed light is a non invasive, non ablative light treatment using high pulses of visible light to treat Rosacea. This treatment is very predictable and very safe. If you are considering IPL treatment consult with a doctor experienced in performing IPL treatments. IPL stimulates the skin to form new collagen. Intense pulsed light is similar to the flash of a camera and is administered in a series of treatments. Intense pulsed light is not a traditional laser light. Lasers emit one wavelength of intense light and the IPL emits light in a wide spectrum.

How Does IPL Treatment Help Rosacea

Intense pulsed light treatments can reduce redness. This process is called photo rejuvenation which will gives you a much clearer complexion. The IPL targets vascular lesions under the skin especially on the cheeks, nose and forehead. IPL treatment delivers different wavelengths to the lower layers of the skin targeting affected blood vessels without causing the surface damage of an ablative laser.

What Can I Expect From My Treatment

Meet with your doctor to discuss your expectations from IPL treatment. Every treatment has limitations, you should be clear about your expectations before you proceed. Sometimes a topical gel is applied and you will wear protective eye wear for your treatment. The procedure consists of passing the IPL hand piece over the affected area. The hand piece has several different filters so your doctor can control the amount and intensity of the light. The light passes through the affected vascular tissue, the diseased tissue is sloughed off by the bodies own natural process and new collagen is formed. You will need three to four treatments and each treatment will more aggressively treat your Rosacea.

Recovery Time

There is little to no down time after an intense pulsed light treatment. Since IPL is not ablative technology you will not experience the pain or severe burnt look to the skin as with traditional laser therapies. Follow your doctors advice and return for follow up treatment.

What Happens After Treatment

You will need to protect the treatment area from sun exposure. You might notice swelling but this should go away in a few days. Keep your skin moisturised with recommended skin care products and wash with cool water. Do not exfoliate the skin or use vitamin C, retin-A or alpha hydroxy products. Wear sunscreen to protect your skin.

IPL Research Results

In a recent study by the Department of Laser Therapy, Medical Center Maastricht University in the Netherlands, of sixty people, 77.8 per cent reported decreased facial redness. Reduced flushing, burning, itching, dryness, swelling and sensitivity was also reported. The study was published in Dermatologic Surgery 2005, Oct 31 (10):1285-9. The first intense pulsed light product was approved by the FDA in 1995 for treatment of fine vascular lesions on the face. Since that approval research has shown that IPL treatment is effective for Rosacea and has become the most widely used therapy for this skin condition.

Are You a Candidate for IPL Treatment

If you are considering intense pulsed light treatment for your Rosacea there are a few things to remember. Rosacea is not curable, you can experience great results from this therapy, however you will still need to see your dermatologist regularly and avoid the things that trigger your Rosacea breakouts. You need more than one treatment, IPL is always done in a series. Research has found that lighter skinned people who avoid the sun have better long term results. IPL treatments cost from £520 up to £3,900 depending on the amount of area treated.

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About the Author

Greta Chapin-McGill has been a writer and beauty professional for more than 15 years. Her articles have appeared in "Nails Magazine" and "les Nouvelles Esthetiques." Chapin-McGill attended Howard University and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., studying painting and art history. She is now a features writer for