Improving the Appearance of rosacea using Intense Pulsed Light Therapy

Improving the Appearance of rosacea using Intense Pulsed Therapy

10% of all adults suffer from rosacea, the common, yet often misunderstood long-term skin condition, that causes redness of the face, as well as burning or stinging sensations.

As many people who suffer with rosacea will know, treating the conditions redness and flushing can be hard, particularly more so than the papules and pustules that can also come hand-in-hand. A doctor may prescribe topical ointments, creams and medication, but another way to improve the appearance of these pesky red marks that ruin self-confidence is using non-surgical cosmetic treatments.


The reddened appearance and visible blood vessels that are key characteristics of rosacea is known as telangiectasia in the medical community.

This can be treated in a number of ways; one such way is using intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments.

Intense pulsed light treatments are usually not available on the NHS, so it is likely you will have to pay for these privately. However, many people have seen great results after two to four sessions and would recommend the treatment to other sufferers.


A trained practitioner will first provide you with a pair of goggles to protect your eyes from the light. They will then aim a small machine at the visible redness or blood vessel and shine a narrow beam of light onto the skin. The intense pulsed light will create heat, which is absorbed by and damages the dilated veins, causing them to shrink and no longer be visible.

This heat will also warm and stimulate the collagen fibres in the skin which will support small blood vessels and help to prevent more thread veins from appearing in the future.

It is important to note that a course between four to six treatments, around three to four weeks apart will be recommended to achieve best results.

IPL helps to improve the reddened appearance caused by rosacea, however it is not a cure.

In order to maintain your improved appearance, you may also want to see a doctor for inflammatory medication.


IPL is usually pain-free (although an anaesthetic option should be available at all treatments). It will cause minimal scarring and should not cause damage to skin in the surrounding area.


Side effects are usually mild and minimal, lasting no more than a few days. Some people report to have:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Crusting of skin

In very rare circumstances blisters and an infection may occur.


It’s always important to arrange an initial consultation beforehand where you can discuss with a trained professional whether this is the best treatment option for you or not.


I’ve been told so many times that this is the best option to tackle my rosacea. My pain threshold is very low though, and I’ve heard some people liken the sensation to elastic bands gently flicked against the skin. I’m still not sure, I want to gear myself to start treatment in 2017 – it could be a life changer.

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