What is Rosacea?

Skin Problems RosaceaThere has been little definitive evidence that can pin-point what exactly causes Rosacea.  Dermatologists and researchers are continually debating the root sources of Rosacea, and how best to manage the symptoms associated with Rosacea.  In short, Rosacea is a skin condition where redness, flushing, and dilation of facial vessels are found, typically, on the central face, nose, chin, and forehead.  In some patients, the eyes can be effected as well.

Most people who have Rosacea experience increased flushing or redness as a result of lifestyle and/or environmental triggers.  For example, such triggers can include the types food one eats — the ingestion of spicy foods and beverages containing alcohol; climate factors where there are fluctuations in the temperatures on the skin (cold weather, hot weather); increased blood flow to the face caused by vigorous exercise or stress; chemical exposures to the skin such as perfumes or fragrances; hot showers; and extended periods of sun and/or wind exposure.

In more acute stages of Rosacea, papules or pimples, and thickening of the skin can also be associated with the flushing and redness in the skin.

Carolinas Dermatology of Columbia SC and Florence SC offer the Lumenis VersaPulse Laser therapy to treat and manage Rosacea.

According to the National Rosacea Society, an estimated 16 million Americans suffer from Rosacea.  Rosacea is a skin condition that currently has no cure.  However, there are treatment options that your dermatologist can prescribe that will help you manage the symptoms associated with rosacea.  There are topical and oral medications that may be used, but at Carolinas Dermatology, we offer one of the most therapeutic treatments available to manage Rosacea, The VersaPulse laser.

Carolinas Dermatology of Columbia SC and Florence SC have one of the most experienced laser technicians in South Carolina, Jonathan Gardner, who is considered an expert in the management of Rosacea with the Lumenis VersaPulse Laser.

Jonathan Gardner is a laser technician with over 14 years of clinical experience using the VersaPulse laser’s 532nm wavelength of light to treat the vascular components of Rosacea.  Jonathan works directly under the supervision of Carolinas Dermatology’s Board Certified Dermatologists (Dr. Lynn and Dr. Ervin in the Columbia office, and Dr. McCown and Dr. Burch in the Florence office) to design a treatment regimen that incorporates a series of VersaPulse laser treatments that will dramatically reduce the flushing, background redness, and visible broken capillaries that are commonly associated with Rosacea.  To find out if the VersaPulse laser is an appropriate treatment option for you, click here to contact us and schedule a consultation with one of Carolianas Dermatology’s Physicians or Physicians Assistants.

The Lumenis VersaPulse Laser safely utilizes a green spectrum of light, 532nm, that targets the redness, vessels in the skin.

The VersaPulse laser is designed to treat facial vessels commonly called facial telangectasia.  Because Rosacea is a skin condition that predominately presents dilated capillaries on the face, this specific wavelength of light (532nm) emitted by the the VersaPulse laser precisely targets these vessels with light-based heat or energy (this process is called Selective Photothermalysis). The targeted red cells inside the visibly broken capillaries absorb the laser’s energy and are heated up, coagulated, or closed down.  As a result of this light-based energy exchange between the laser and capillary, many patients experience immediate clearance of some of the telangectasias (cappilaries) on the face, nose, chin, and forehead.  In addition, the thermal effect of the VersaPulse laser on the skin causes the body’s immune response to send scavenger cells, macrophages, to the treatment site.  Therefore, over a period of 3 to 6 weeks, these macrophages work to absorb the treated capillaries thus reducing the redness associated with Rosacea.  Depending on the severity of the Rosacea, a series of 2 to 4 VersaPulse treatment-sessions are recommended.

Am I a good candidiate for the Carolinas Dermatology Lumenis VersaPulse Laser?

At Carolinas Dermatology, a consultation with one of our board certified practitioners is the first step towards managing your Rosacea skin condition.  Typically, a medical treatment plan will be encouraged that may include the utilization of the VersaPulse laser.  If the VersaPulse laser is recommended, a separate appointment will be scheduled on a “laser clinic day,” either in the Columbia, SC, or Florence, SC, office with Carolinas Dermatology’s VersaPulse laser technician, Jonathan Gardner.

At Carolinas Dermatology of Columbia SC and Florence SC,  the VersaPulse Laser appointments are scheduled for either a 10 minute  or  20 minute appointment.

which amount of laser time a patient will need is determined during the initial consultation with a Carolinas Dermatology licensed practitioner.  The fee for the VersaPulse laser is based on which amount of time (10 minutes or 20 minutes) a patient  and practitoner decides is appropriate.

The VersaPulse Laser is relatively painless, but some discomfort can be expected.

Prior to a VersaPulse laser treatment, a patient will be  required to consent to treatment, and photographs will be taken for baseline and post operative evaluations.  The patient will then be provided with special laser safety shields to protect the eyes during treatment.

During the treatment, the VersaPulse laser utilizes a patented  Chill-tip technology where the skin is continuously cooled to 4 to 8 degrees celsius during the procedure   As a result, this Chill-tip makes the treatment safe and highly therapeutic because more energy can be delivered to the targeted capillaries without damaging the surrounding skin cells. The chill-tip also makes the VersaPulse laser treatment much more comfortable.

Most patients associate the discomfort from the VersaPulse laser as a rubber-band snap, a tiny pin prick, and/or slight stinging sensation.  In general, the more severe the redness, the larger a red vessel, the more a patient will feel the “selective photothermalysis” occurring during treatment.  Most patients experience less discomfort with each consecutive VersaPulse treatment because there are, typically, less red capillaries,  less  red targets in the skin as a result of the previous VersaPulse treatment’s effect on the red conditions of Rosacea.

What are the side effects of a Lumenis VersaPulse laser treatment for Rosacea?

Redness and Swelling: It is very common and should be expected that redness (erythema) and swelling (edema) will occur directly following a VersaPulse laser treatment for Rosacea.  The length or duration of erythema and edama varies for each patient, but it can last from several hours to several days following the VersaPulse Laser treatment.  Your Carolinas Dermatology practioner or nursing staff will advise you how to manage these symptoms.  Common therapies to manage erythema and edema are the use of localized cold compresses, topical creams, and oral anti-histamines.  In rare cases, oral steroids are prescribed.

Scabbing and blistering:  The VersaPulse laser is heating up targeted sites underneath the skin.  Therefore, there is a chance some scabbing or blistering may occur, though usually very rare. The VersaPulse is designed to have variable settings along with the patented chill-tip technology that drastically reduces the chances of scabbing and/or blistering.  In rare cases, if a scab or blister occurs, anti-biotic ointment such as Bacitracin, Polysporin, or the use of non-medicated ointments such as Vaseline, Vanicream, or Auqaphor are used to keep the area moist.

Hypo-pigmentation and/or hyper-pigmentation: Hypo-pigmentation is where the skin’s melanin is affected by the heat of the laser and there is a reduction in the melanocytes present in the skin.  This causes the skin to appear splotchy with areas of lightened tissue. Hyper-pigmentation is where the skin’s melanin is also affected by the heat from the laser, but with the opposite reaction —  the melanocytes are stimulated and the skin becomes splotchy with deposited dark pigment.  Both conditions are usually preventable with proper laser setting protocols and strict, post-operative patient compliance regarding sun exposure and proper wound care.

Avoid the sun: Following any type of laser procedure, especially a VersaPulse laser treatment for Rosacea, strict sun avoidance is mandated.  It is very important to use sun blocks several weeks prior to and after ALL VersaPulse laser treatments.  Not all sunblocks are created equal, so please ask your practitioner at Carolinas Dermatology which sun block to use.  Prolonged periods of sun exposure on areas where a laser’s energy has been transmitted onto the skin can create hypo- or hyper-pigmentation.  This lightening are darkening of the skin can be greatly minimized if proper sun protection is used daily for several weeks following the VersaPulse treatment.

Sensitive skin: Patents with Rosacea often have very sensitive skin even without extraneous factors such as heat from a VersaPulse laser treatment.  In short, one can and should expect the skin to be very sensitive for several days to a week following laser treatments to the affected areas.

Itching: Itching has been reported following VersaPulse treatments for Rosacea. Topical anti-itch creams can be used, but consult your provider regarding any concerns for itching.