Beauty Clinic: Could a laser help my redness?
Q. I am in my early 20s and have chronic intractable redness on my face, which doctors think is probably rosacea. It hasn't responded to any treatment or diet so far. Would laser treatment help? A. Rosacea is a skin disease that causes redness and swelling on the face. It may begin as a tendency to flush or blush easily and progress to persistent redness in the centre of the face that gradually spreads over the cheeks, forehead and even the eyes, according to consultant dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe of the Cranley Clinic in London. He has written about this distressing condition on his website, www.drnicklowe.com; look under ‘Skincare Advice’ on the home page.
As the disease progresses, small dilated blood vessels (telangiectasia) and tiny pimples appear on the reddened area but – unlike acne – there are no blackheads or whiteheads. The red areas can be painful or itchy, and sometimes feel as if the red area is burning, which can be particularly painful over the nose.
Dr Lowe advises that the optimum way to treat the condition when it is at this stage is a combination of individually prescribed medication, topicals including his Redness Relief Calming Cream and sunscreens, and laser treatment. (See below for natural ways to approach it at an earlier stage.)
There are several different forms of laser therapy, which all use pulses of light to destroy the little blood vessels that cause the redness. Dr Lowe now uses the high-powered Nd:Yag 1064-nm laser (Cynosure Elite), which employs a ‘brush technique to go over and over the red areas and bring a nice reduction in redness, with less flushing’. Other laser treatments can be patchy, he says, or cause unwanted purpura, red or purple discolourations of the skin produced by bleeding of some small blood vessels near the surface. He says that two to three sessions are usually enough.
However, other dermatologists such as Dr Tapan Patel at the new Phi Clinic (www.phiclinic.com) finds that the older Vbeam pulsed dye laser is ‘very effective to cauterise the veins and coagulate the blood to prevent and reduce redness in the skin’.
There is an extensive feature on natural ways to treat rosacea in our new book The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible, (Kyle Books, £19.99 hardback) and other recent features about this distressing condition on our website, www.beautybible.com - just put ‘rosacea’ in the Search box.