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Treating Rosacea With Intense Pulsed Light

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Rosacea is a frustrating skin condition that many people deal with every day. For some, it is permanent. For others, it comes and goes. Oftentimes, skin creams and lotions aren’t effective at clearing rosacea, so patients turn to other sources – like intense pulsed light treatment.

What Is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment?

Intense pulsed light treatment (also known as IPL) is a medical technology used by doctors to treat various skin problems. With this therapy, many different wavelengths of light penetrate the skin, where they are converted to heat energy.

Through the use of filters, this heat energy targets specific chromophores (skin components that are responsible for color), which are then reabsorbed by the body. The process usually significantly reduces the appearance of a skin problem like rosacea, sometimes resolving the issue completely.

Which Conditions Can IPL Help?

Intense pulsed light technology is used for a range of conditions, including laser hair removal and even eye problems, such as dry eye. However, it’s perhaps most commonly used by dermatologists to treat various skin issues. IPL can help to reduce or remove the following:

  • Age spots
  • Facial flushing
  • Redness
  • Rosacea
  • Freckles
  • Other skin issues that affect appearance

Why Is IPL So Helpful in Treating Rosacea?

Doctors often recommend intense pulsed light therapy to rosacea patients because it’s been proven to be especially effective for this particular skin condition, with one study concluding that it’s the “optimal therapy for the treatment of rosacea.” The light energy targets oxyhemoglobin in the blood, which creates the heat that causes the body to break down capillaries and reabsorb them. This process, over the course of a few weeks, gradually reduces the appearance of the rosacea. Rosacea patients who have telangiectasia respond best, though others usually see noticeable results, too.

Many doctors also recommend IPL because it’s noninvasive, and patients can generally resume normal activities immediately after each treatment. Treatments generally take about 20 minutes each, and most patients need between three and six treatments to experience optimum results. Afterwards, the patients need to use sunscreen with a high SPF to protect their skin.