Redness of the face is caused by growth of many small blood vessels in the face. This can be caused by either sun damage or by a condition called rosacea, which causes flushing, blushing, dilated blood vessels and pimples. Rosacea also is usually accompanied with very sensitive skin, not only to fragrance and irritants but also to heat, sun and alcoholic beverages, causing flushing episodes accompanied by burning stinging and itching.
Fortunately, many lasers and light sources are available to treat redness. Vascular lasers, referring to lasers that are effective for treating blood vessels, are used. At Advanced Dermatology we have 3 different lasers that can achieve this. The VBeam, also known as pulsed dye laser, was the original laser used to treat redness of the skin (originally developed to treat port wine stains or vascular birthmarks). Advanced Dermatology has the newest model of the VBeam which allows us to gently and effectively treat blood vessels and redness without purpura (brusing) and with minimal if any downtime. Another laser we typically use for rosacea is the elight with the SRA handpiece (SRA= skin rejuvenation advanced). This not only treats redness but also brown pigment from sun damage. Dr Taub published a paper when that technology was new on its effectiveness for rosacea treatment, not only for the redness but also to reduce the blushing, discomfort and even breakouts of rosacea. Finally, we also have the Vantage/Genesis laser, a 1064 nanometer wavelength that is good for background redness as well as larger blood vessels.
Although most people will benefit from any of these lasers, some seem to do better with one versus another, or we combine them to get the best of each one. In this way we can effectively treat each individuals’ case of rosacea or vessels.
In addition to laser treatment there are topical gels, creams, lotions and serums both prescription and cosmeceutical that can aid our treatments of rosacea. For instance we have found that whereas the oral medication doxycycline as well as the topical agents Finacea and Metrogel are excellent for the acne component of rosacea, we also recommend treatment with cosmeceutical agents (SkinCeuticals Redness Neutralizer, Vital Tea Ultra Serum) that reduce redness. The topical and oral therapy are an important component in the treatment of rosaces since it is a chronic condition and without treatment it will come back. We also recommend maintenance treatments (either once a year or every 6 months) with the lasers to maintain a low level of redness and activity of rosacea.