- Rosacea is characterized by flushing and redness of the face, typically across the cheeks, nose and forehead.
- Dermatologists often recommend the use of IPL for rosacea symptoms, thanks to its effective results and minimal side effects.
- On average, it takes three to five rosacea treatment sessions to achieve the best results.
- Professional IPL treatments cost an average of $391 per session.
Rosacea is a common skin condition, characterized by deep redness and flushing of the face. It is caused by dilated and broken blood vessels under the skin and is often inherited. Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) is a cosmetic treatment that can be used to target the symptoms of rosacea, using broad bandwidths of light to constrict the blood vessels in your skin.
What is IPL?
IPL is a non-invasive laser treatment used to combat a range of skin conditions. Intense light waves are pulsed through the skin using a handheld flashgun device. The energy produced by the light waves helps to break down damaged tissues and pigmented skin cells, as well as reducing hair growth and constricting blood vessels.
Traditional lasers use a single wavelength of light to produce results. IPL uses a broad spectrum of wavelengths, allowing it to target multiple areas and skin complaints.
How Does IPL Work to Treat Rosacea?
IPL is an effective treatment for rosacea. The strong bursts of light wavelengths from IPL therapy cause your blood vessels to constrict and shrink. This helps to combat the telltale flushed appearance caused by rosacea. It also reduces the appearance of broken vessels, by raising the temperature of oxyhemoglobin in the blood. This causes the destruction of damaged capillaries near the surface of the skin.
How does it feel?
During the treatment, a handheld device is passed over the entirety of your face, delivering short pulses of the laser. This is repeated to ensure full coverage is achieved. It’s normal to experience discomfort as the laser is pulsed onto your face; this is often described as a stinging sensation, comparable to the flicking of a rubber band on the skin.
The entire session should take no longer than 30 minutes. You will experience some initial facial redness, although this will subside over the course of the day.
How long does it take to work?
It’s likely you will notice improvement just a few days after the first dermatology treatment. However, repeat visits are recommended. Typically, 3–5 monthly sessions are advised to achieve the best results. Studies have shown that IPL can reduce erythema for up to six months.
Is there a recovery period?
There is a very short recovery period. After the treatment, increased redness is common, and your skin may feel slightly tender. This usually fades over the course of the day but can last over three days for certain individuals.
It’s safe to use skin care products immediately after receiving IPL. To prevent any potential irritation, avoid using harsh exfoliants for a few days. To soothe your skin, apply a nourishing moisturizer with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal or chamomile. It’s also best practice to regularly apply a high SPF sunscreen throughout the day.
Using IPL for Rosacea at Home
At-home devices are primarily developed for hair removal from the face and body, and therefore may be ineffective for treating rosacea. While they seem a more cost-effective option in comparison to professional treatments, they are less powerful and carry more risk. Improper or over-use of these devices can lead to painful burns and blisters.
Cost of IPL for Rosacea
On average, the cost for a single treatment is around $391. With three to five sessions recommended for optimal results, an entire course of IPL is likely to cost between $1,173– $1,955 in total.
At-home machines can cost anywhere between $100–$800, depending on the brand and model of your device. As a one-time purchase, these devices are significantly more cost-effective. However, you are unlikely to achieve the same results as those performed by trained professionals.
IPL is an effective and non-invasive treatment for rosacea. By delivering pulses of light energy to your skin, it helps to constrict blood vessels while also removing visible, broken capillaries. This leads to an overall reduction in the appearance of rosacea.
IPL is considered to be a safe for rosacea, with minimal downtime or side effects. You may, however, experience a low level of discomfort during the procedure.
3–5 individual sessions are recommended to achieve the best results, with average costs of $391 per visit. While at-home IPL machines are a cost-effective option, it is best to opt for professional treatments to ensure that it is performed effectively and safely.
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