IPL is Excellent for Rosacea

Written by on November 30, 2005 in IPL with 75 Comments

The first large scale, long term look at IPL that I’ve seen. The news is good, IPL is gaining more and more professional weight as a mainstream rosacea treatment. Also see the end of this article for links to more leading edge information on IPL.

Effective treatment of rosacea using intense pulsed light systems. Dermatologic Surgery. 2005 Oct;31(10):1285-9., Schroeter CA, Haaf-von Below S, Neumann HA., Department of Laser Therapy, Medical Centre Maastricht, Becanusstraat 17 A05, 6216 BX Maastricht, the Netherlands.

BACKGROUND: To date, a variety of lasers have been used for treating vascular skin lesions. Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a proven technology for vascular lesion management, such as rosacea.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of IPL in treating vascular facial lesions in rosacea patients.

METHODS: Sixty patients presenting with telangiectasia owing to facial rosacea were selected randomly from the patient population in the Department of Laser Therapy at the Medical Centre Maastricht, the Netherlands. Patients of various skin types (Fitzpatrick I-IV) were selected with an average age of 44.2 years. Five hundred eight sites were treated, with a mean of 4.1 treatments per site and an IPL spectrum ranging from 515 to 1,200 nm with different pulse durations between 4.3 and 6.5 milliseconds. The energy density varied from 25 to 35 J/cm2.

RESULTS: Patients were assessed clinically and photographically. A mean clearance of 77.8% was achieved and was maintained for a follow-up period averaging 51.6 months (range 12-99 months). No correlation was found between the clearance of rosacea and patient-related or technical data. For approximately 3 years post-treatment, lesion recurrence was noted in 4 of the 508 treated facial sites.

DISCUSSION: This study demonstrated that IPL treatment of facial rosacea is effective in obtaining clearance of 77.8%, with minimal side effects, and that treatment effects are maintained.

CONCLUSION: The IPL system, with its broad range of technical variables, is an effective tool in achieving meaningful and lasting rosacea clearance.

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Feedback: What has your experience been with IPL ? Would you recommend going through a series of treatments ? How did you find a good clinic ? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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75 Reader Comments

  1. Colleen says:

    Have discovered that L-Lysine is also very good for skin in general and rosacea. However I have a feeling it potentially can give you an upset stomach, cramps and diarrhoea. I started breaking my 1000mg pills of Solgar L-Lysine into thirds and taking one of those every few days. The difference it makes in your skin – all over the body – is pretty remarkable. Someone stopped me to ask if I’d had a facial! I was glowing. There may be a type or brand of Lysine (not sure what difference is between L-Lysine and Lysine) that doesn’t upset the stomach/bowel and has the same benefits. The garlic pills thing really does work too, I want to try it on rotation with the oregano oil, probiotics. Healthy clean bowel is still the only thing that guarantees my face is not red and not irritated, but that’s hard to keep constant.

  2. Pam says:

    I am 55 I have had roseca for about 5 years, I had acea problems all my life. This week I woke up huge red puffy and bimps. The only medince I had was metrogel which I used twice a day. Up until now I was experincing red face. I read a lot of the sights yesterday. Today I brought clinique syetem. May face stoped itching the reddness has lessened may be tempory but it helps.

  3. Miss Echo says:

    After trying every sort of skin cleansing system imaginable, I tried the new Cindy Crawford cleanser from Meaningful Beauty. Surprise — it worked better than any other one I’ve used. I use the cleanser, then splash with water, and finish with Nutrogena Alchohol free toner. Have had nearly no skin problems since beginning this regimen.
    Highly recommend it!

  4. Angela says:

    Hi everyone. I have been struggling with rosacea for several years now. I have had four IPL treatments in the past few months and although they seem to help tighten the skin slightly and lightened pigmentations like sunspots, I haven’t really noticed any difference in my skin. Maybe I should buy another round of them but I spent about $4000. I was disappointed because I expected better results. My skin continues to break out regularly and itch and sting. 🙁

  5. Colleen says:

    Honestly think IPL is a waste of money and may even age skin – I noticed I looked different in photos (not in a good way) after my treatment. My skin started to sag and my skin seemed thinner or something. Keep and good clean healthy bowel, eat raw vegetables, lots of olive oil and water with lemon. Chile once a week to clear you out and keep your facial skin nice and clear. Probiotics (a good brand) too. I use Liz Earle face cleanser, toner, moisturiser and weekly exfoliator and it works well. Good luck!

  6. Angela says:

    Thank you Colleen. I do have a somewhat irritable bowel so I will focus on cleaning house from the inside out. I also know I need to reduce my caffeine intake. I am not sure how to properly use probiotics but will do the research and give it a try. When you say Chile once a week, what do you mean? Thank you so much for sharing your information.

  7. Miss Echo says:

    Sag is right! I would not do IPL again. It caused major sagging changes in my skin–not good.

  8. Angela says:

    Miss Echo, how long have you been using the Cindy Crawford line?

  9. Miss Echo says:

    for a couple of months now–again I haven’t been using the Toner, instead substituting the Neutrogena, which is $6 instead of $25+ or whatever…it all works great for me. I also use the sun block.

  10. Colleen says:

    By chile I just mean dice up a chile and toss it in whatever you’re cooking. If I ate only what i was supposed to all the time + no alcohol, no caffeine, no gluten, etc I wouldn’t need to but I do consume all these aggrevators – even though I eat pretty healthily really. I found that when I ate chile regularly my skin was better (because of how it cleans you out) but obviously you don’t want to become addicted to this cycle. HOnestly I only have chile once a month or so but even then it helps. The bowel is the key to every skin issue I think. Probiotics are great for that too but I can never seem to keep consistent with them even though they do a world of good as far as restoring intestinal flora.

  11. Angela says:

    Thank you soooo much! I’m so glad I found this support group. I don’t know anyone else who has this so have no one to compare notes with. Stay well everyone!

  12. quinton says:

    Have had IPL facial treatment for rosacea at a dermatologist. Redness as well as telancgiestasia have reappeared after more or less one year. Left cheek did not respond well to IPL. Very little improvement was seen on this cheek even after three treatments. Capillaries on nose also diffecult to remove. What is a more succesful way forward?

  13. Dr Chris Kear says:

    Interesting article. However, the sudy carries very little weight, as far as Doctors are concerned, as it is not objective, there is no blinding, and treatments were not standardised, with a broad range of settings and wavelengths being used for the treatment.

    I have, however, found ipl very useful for my rosacea patients. It’s a pity that this dutch study didn’t standardise the treatment regime, use a control group as well as a treatment group, with patient and clinician blinding. This would have produced much more meaningful results.

  14. Demodex says:

    Interesting! I believe IPL to kill demodex mites in the short run, which may mean that continuous treatment using IPL may eradicate the habitat of the mites. I would love to see more research about this coming up.

  15. Chloe says:

    I work at a place that does IPL and laser hair removal so I have access to do IPL anytime I want. My rosacea has never been too bad but as I’m going into my mid twenties I see it creeping up the sides of my nose and one cheek is far more red than the other. I had one of the techs do a series of IPL treatments on my entire face and to be honest it hurt like hell and did nothing except make my freckles come off.

  16. Debra says:

    I have had rosacea for 10 years. The IPL was my dermo doctor’s idea. I spent 3K for 4 treaments, but I only did 3 due to severe bruising and red dots in the spaces where the laser went through my cheeks. I had never had the red dots before, but now instead of just a red flush during a trigger, I now have permanent red dots like Orphan Annie freckles! My doctor said it might get better, but it did not happen. I am always ready to try anything to see if it will help, but I have to admit that I have made my condition MUCH worse. Now my doctor is giving me a beta-blocker (propranolol) to help cut back on redness from anxiety. Some days I feel as though I have fallen down a hole of depression over this awful condition. I wish that I had not done the IPL. I heard good advice from other blogs before I decided to proceed, but this condition is VERY unpredictable. Best wishes to all of you. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Hi Debra. I’m very sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations with IPL. If your skin is still very red, and flushing a major issue, then you could talk to your skin specialist about brimonidine gel, which can help a lot with these issues.

      • Mike says:

        Mivaso is one of the worst medications in existence actually, definitely will exacerbate any redness. Like 40-70% of people have extremely bad reactions to it

      • sonofgod says:

        All what you write is wrong. I am prof of beauty and I can tell you honestly you don’t listen your clients. IPL is an old fashion bullshit only for hair removal. Just advice your client to take doxycycline 40mg or 50mg for 3 months and everything will be back to normal. Just don’t take it with milk or dairy products. 40-50 days to start see improvement. LOVE YOU

    • Elaine Sheppard Dodd says:

      The IPL treatment you received is unacceptable. Your Derm needs to take responsibility for the outcome. I suggest getting a professional Derm to assess the debilitating results of your treatment.
      At the very least, you should receive a full refund, Not another round of anything from the Derm who did your IPL.
      I know you must be devastated.
      Good Luck!

  17. On QVC some customers have called in when they are selling philosophy products (Purity made simple and microdelivery exfoliating wash) and said these have cured their rosacea. philosophy says they make no claim that this works – I use these products but I do not do a daily regimen but would like to know if anyone has heard of this working. I am pleased with these products and have been using them for a couple years.

  18. Still using Cindy Crawford cleanser and now toner, sunscreen,serum, still working great.

  19. Joy says:

    I have used IPL for years and it works great. You have to stay out of the sun for a couple of months or you will havr bruising. It feels like a rubber band snapping. Not much pain. It was worth it for me.

  20. Jenny says:

    I’ve had four IPLs over two years and they’ve worked great. Better than any cream. My only side affect is a swollen face for about four days. Oracea is a great daily low dose antibiotic that treats the small bumps associated with the rosacea. My redness is still there but much much less than before the IPLs. I highly recommend them. The pain isn’t bad if you get numbed first.

  21. Elaine Sheppard Dodd says:

    Soolantra, a recently patented Rosacea/Acne cream by Gluderma, is supposed to be a major breakthrough. It is 1% Ivermectin (a pesticide ) in a base of Cetaphyl (Gluderma).
    I have been using it for 6 months with no remarkable improvement.
    I believe Soolantra is directed toward Dermodex driven Rosacea. I have the smooth skin that gets red, as well as ocular Rosacea, which is terrible.
    It seems to me that no one knows about Rosacea-types, cause, treatment, etc., so we all run around like chickens with their heads cut off looking for remedies.
    Voila! My skin responds well to Vaseline!

  22. dedelee says:

    I am in the beauty business and have tried everything for my Rosacea even had IPL which did very little..I am 50. . .We are all different but the ONLY THING that worked for me was the Somaluxe redness Repair Moisturizer. It has certainly worked for me..i wish I had taken before and after pics..I use the Somaluxe Redness Repair after washing my face in the morning….

  23. Julie Peterson says:

    IPL (Sciton BBL performed by a dr.) was a complete horror for me. I was told it was minimal risk, no downtime, lunchtime procedure FDA-approved to improve redness and telangectasia. False on all counts. My face exploded – welts, dark red marks, blisters, acne/rosacea pustules, more broken caps, persistent redness and sensitivity, dents all over my face, worsened texture, more sebaceous hyperplasia that developed in heavily treated areas (doc did 2 passes), severe dehydration yet still oily, adverse pigmentation changes, oh, and tiny bits of a red liquid that looked like blood that seeped out of my skin in random treated spots for about a year and a half after, starting 9 days after the IPL. I consulted several derms, and the best they could come up w/ was: don’t ever do IPL again. In fact, don’t do electrocautery either. Total nightmare. I made an FDA report. The scariest thing was that nobody I consulted had any answers or any way to fix the damage. All they could do was tell me that hopefully time would help, and to avoid any future IPL txs. I think a major problem is that there is too much variation in settings, not enough safeguards, and inadequate ways to screen out patients who may not be good candidates.

    • Ethel says:

      Hi Julie,
      My daughter is considering the IPL as she has so much stinging and burning with the Rosacea. She uses Metrogel and is on Doxycycline and they do help the pustules mostly but not the stinging and burning. Her skin is soooooo oily as well. what is your take???.

    • finola fegan says:

      Hi Julie, i think you are absolutely right there – i think the skill of the operator is all important….i did not like the sound of ”doc did 2 passes’ at all….sounds like he/she should have done a lot less in one session and had a long look at the settings of the equipment before use on individual patients……

  24. Ruth Ann Loewen says:

    What about when you just have tiny veins on your cheeks. Not really any other redness. What can you do to get rid of them.

  25. finola fegan says:

    for tiny red veins just get diathemy needle therapy…sometimes just regular beauty therapists use them – but tell them only work for 10 mins on your face in any treatment….leave it for a week and then go back for another treatment – usually 2 treatments is enough…i have used it for small red veins that seem to add to the overall redness and it worked great….and its not too expensive – i paid 50 euro for it here in ireland although i know some charge 100 for one session…..theres before and after photos on http://www.rosacea.ie…hope this helps

  26. KayCee says:

    I have read too many horror stories associated with IPL it just seems to be a crapshoot, I would not engage. Nice and lucrative for the docs though. : (

    • Ioannis stavrou says:

      That’s correct!! But anecdotal stories trying to manipulate you to try it!!! It will not work!!! You will upset the endocrine system and Rosacea will flare more!!!

  27. Cynthia Kowalski says:

    I have been using Soolanta and going for IPL treatments for the past 4 months. I had a lot of mites on my skin and it was looking awful. Finally I found something that seems to be working for me. I use metrogel in the morning and Soolanta at night. I go for an IPL about every 3 months. I am now very happy with the way my treatments are working and I try to catch myself when I get hot and stressed…since this is what triggers my rosacea.

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