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The Safety of Using Lasers as a Treatment for Rosacea

Dermatology | | Return|

By: Dustin Portela DO, FAAD

Rosacea is a very common inflammatory disorder of the skin. Often, people’s faces will flush, and papules and pustules can form, looking similar to acne. While there are a few different paths for treatment – including topical creams, oral antibiotics, and lasers – the most effective results come from a combination of treatments, including managing one’s triggers, such as changes in temperature, drinking alcohol or caffeine, eating chocolate, or using an aggressive skin care regimen.

Treatment for rosacea generally begins with creams, like generics metronidazole and ivermectin, that can decrease the formation of papules or pustules. Next, oral antibiotics of the tetracycline group, most often doxycycline, are prescribed at a very low dosage. At 50mg or less, the antibiotic won’t reach high enough levels in the body’s tissues, avoiding concerns of long-term antibiotic usage. At this low-level dosage, patients will only experience the antibiotic’s anti-inflammatory effects. One of the last, and most effective options, is for doctors to prescribe pulsed dye lasers (PDL) or intense pulsed light (IPL). Such treatment uses targeted wavelengths of light to eliminate the visible redness of the skin.

While laser treatment is extremely effective in eliminating residual redness, some doctors hesitate to use lasers in combination with antibiotics. One of the adverse effects of taking doxycycline can be photosensitivity, so there’s some concern with combining this medication with lasers because, in the most extreme cases, patients could experience skin burns.

However, in “Safety of Combination Laser or Intense Pulsed Light Therapies and Doxycycline for the Treatment of Rosacea,” Shilling et al. prove that a combination of antibiotics and laser treatment is safe. Out of 36 patients who took tetracycline antibiotics, like doxycycline, 0 experienced any negative side effects to laser therapy. 0 patients experienced burns. All 36 patients experienced an improvement in their rosacea symptoms.

At Treasure Valley Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, we use the V Beam by Candela laser to treat rosacea. It is one of the most effective laser devices in eliminating facial redness, and can also be used for acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. If you want relief from symptoms of rosacea, schedule an appointment for diagnosis and treatment today.

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