FAQ’s – Rosacea Treatment with IPL


Patients that should not be treated include:

– those who are sunburned or have irritated skin in the sites to be treated

– those who are exhibiting unidentified skin conditions in the sites to be treated

– those who have healed poorly after other types of laser treatments

– patients prone to skin discoloration

– patients who are taking photosensitizing medication, such as Accutane, should discontinue the medication 6 months before treatment

– patients who are taking topical Retin-A, patients should wait 2 weeks before treatment

– don’t apply laser energy to any raised lesions, aside from purely red ones i.e. angiomas; other lesions should first be checked by a dermatologist

Patients who are sunburned should wait until the burn subsides. Herpes Simplex Labialis (fever blisters) can be activated by laser treatment, especially on the upper lip, and patients with a tendency for fever blistering can be started on antiviral medication before treatment.

Setting expectations:

Some patients or lesions may not respond as well as others. Rosacea lesions tend to subside after the first or subsequent treatments. Regardless of the treatment response, recurrence is common and can be caused by a number of lifestyle factors. It is important to understand that rosacea is a chronic condition that can only be controlled rather than cured.

How many treatment sessions are required?

Individual results will vary, but can depend on the body surface that is affected. While some patients may see relief in just one treatment, other patients may need a number of treatments to achieve their desired result.

Do I need to use topical anesthesia? What about gels?

Yes. Anesthetics and cooling gels may be needed. However, some buildup of heat will be experienced, especially using higher fluences.

Is it painful?

There is a mild sensation of heat that is very tolerable. 

What causes rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic disorder that is characterized by facial flushing and with time the gradual development of persistent facial redness and spider-like blood vessels. It is often punctuated by episodes of inflammatory papules (bumps), pustules (pimples), and swelling. Management for many people often includes avoidance of popular foods and alcohol as well as cosmetic camouflage, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

How does lPL therapy work for rosacea?

The intense pulse light destroys visible blood vessels or reduces extensive redness. IPL emits pulses of light that target tiny blood vessels just under the skin. Heat from the IPL energy builds in the vessels, causing them to disintegrate.

Is it permanent, or will rosacea come back?

Rosacea is typically characterized by having up and down periods where the symptoms heighten and lessen. While rosacea is not curable, it can be controlled with laser light so that the redness will decrease. While rosacea may improve with treatment and even be gone for a number of months, it may never completely go away.

Is it ok to do multiple passes or pulse over the same area?

Typically, a number of passes should be performed to maximize the efficacy of the treatment.

Can it be used on dark skin?

Patients with skin types IV-VI should be treated very cautiously, especially in the facial region, as they pose a higher risk of having hyper and/or hypo-pigmentations.

What happens after treatment?

Immediately after treatment there may be some transient erythema or purpura, in or adjacent to the treated area, which is more common in older patients or those who are taking blood-thinning medications and should resolve within a few days. The redness and vasculature may not immediately disappear and may take up to several months to full improve and clear.. Typically, maintenance sessions will need to be scheduled for continued improvement of flare ups occur.