Red, Red, Go Away: How to Treat Rosacea’s Effects

Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33% for the topical treatment of the facial redness of rosacea in adults 18 years of age or older. Applied once daily, Mirvaso reduces redness for up to 12 hours by constricting the blood vessels dilated by rosacea.

If patients want a longer lasting improvement in the diffuse redness and dilated blood vessels caused by rosacea, we have two light- based therapies that are very effective. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and the Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) have been around for years and produce results that can last years.

We start with the IPL treatments, which are easy. Each session lasts about a half an hour, and there is no downtime. You can have an IPL treatment on your lunch hour and be back to work for the afternoon. The IPL is targeted to red and brown skin discolorations. Three or four treatments are recommended for optimal results.

For tougher dilated blood vessels, the PDL is the way to go. Developed to treat port wine stains and similar red lesions, the PDL is powerful. It works by delivering the laser energy to the hemoglobin in blood vessels and sealing the vessel without damaging the overlying skin. It can leave some bruising or flushing that lasts for a few days, but it really gets the job done.

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