What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory ailment of the skin which affects about 3-5% of people in the world, occurring most frequently in fair-skinned individuals. Documented cases typically begin to experience symptoms between 30 to 50 years old. Rosacea usually begins as a mild red flush around the nose and cheeks in the early stages, which can be easily overlooked. In the later stages however, symptoms can spread around the face to the forehead, eyes, chin and even the neck areas, and visible spiderweb-like veins (telangiectasia) can develop. In severe cases, it may even cause acne outbreaks.
Rosacea is more common in women, but the few men who are affected tend to suffer from more severe symptoms. Despite being a relatively common skin ailment, the root cause of rosacea is largely a mystery in the dermatology community. Although some has attributed rosacea with bacterial infections by Helicobacter pylori and Demodex folliculorum, recent studies have found little evidence supporting these claims.
Is there a cure?
Unfortunately, there is currently no way to completely cure rosacea, as the root causes are unknown. There are however, effective ways to prevent and alleviate the symptoms, and allow afflicted individuals to lead largely normal lives.
Rosacea symptoms in an individual can be prevented by avoiding common triggers such as sun/radiation stress, hot weather, spicy food, alcohol and other forms of skin irritants. Associated acne outbreaks can usually be treated with common topical and oral antibiotics meant for treating regular acne. However, there are no effective drugs to treat the redness and vascular symptoms. these will have to be dealt with using technology: Pulsed-dye Laser treatments.
Vbeam: the gold standard of Pulsed-dye lasers.
Pulsed-dyed laser treatment has been the go-to treatment for the vascular symptoms of rosacea since the 1980s, and has remained the gold standard treatment for these symptoms. Despite the effectiveness, rosacea treatment using pulsed-dye lasers has one major drawback that deterred many: the long downtime post-treatment caused by an eruption of reddish-purple spots on the skin (purpura), formed when the laser collapses the vascular tissue causing rosacea symptoms. These spots last up to 2 weeks or more, are very conspicuous, and hard to conceal with cosmetic products. It was common for patients to look worse for several days after receiving treatment before effects of the treatment starts to show. The prospect of having extensive, prominent blemishes on the face, even only temporarily, was too much for many patients, and they decided that it was not worth it.
Vbeam laser however, manages to solve this problem, providing a purpura-free laser rosacea treatment with minimal downtime for patients. This is achieved by increasing the length of the pulses and carefully controlling the fluence of the laser beam (fluency is a metric similar to the strength of the laser beam) such that effectiveness is maximised without inducing purpura.
Clinical evidence of Vbeam
Clinical evidence suggests that the most common setting used is the 10ms pulse duration, with 10mm spot size and about 6 to 7.5 J/cm2 when attempting purpura-free rosacea treatment. Patients with more redness were treatment with lower fluence to reduce the chances of purpura. In one such study, all patients treated with Vbeam laser saw at 80% improvement of their rosacea symptoms over an average of 3 treatments in 18 weeks, with the best effects showing in patients with only minor telangiectasia or milder symptoms. Some patients experienced mild redness and swelling, all of which subsided in a few hours. However, none of the patients experienced any major adverse side effects.
The effectiveness of Vbeam
The advent of pulsed-dye lasers in dermatology was indeed a breakthrough, and Vbeam has built its foundation on this discovery to achieve and maintain its position at the frontier of rosacea treatment, even up till today. Despite having limited effectiveness for more severe vascular blemishes, the purpura-free laser treatment for Vbeam remains a fantastic choice for rosacea patients with mild to moderate symptoms. The lack of side effects of using Vbeam laser treatment has opened up an highly appealing option for these patients, and can certainly benefit many in their lives dramatically.