How to Laser treat Rosacea?

Will laser(s) work for treating rosacea on cheeks and nose?

Doctor Answers 5

Yes, if the subtype of rosacea is associated with telangiectasia and redness

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There are 4 main subtypes of rosacea:

1. Persistent central facial redness (erythema) and broken blood vessels (telangiectasia)

2. Red bumps that look like "pimples"

3. Ocular rosacea where the lower eyelid margin is inflamed, red, itchy.

4. Skin thickening of the nose (rhinophyma), or chin (mentaphyma)

These subtypes are not mutually exclusive. Also, if you have one subtype it does not imply you will develop another.

So to answer your question, if you have subtype 1 or 4 (above), then lasers can significantly help.

For subtype 1, there are lasers that target the blood vessels and can erase telangiectasias, improve baseline redness as well as your threshold to flushing.

For subtype 4, resurfacing lasers can remove the thickened skin.

Long Island Dermatologist

Rosacea and Spider veins Can be Treated with Lasers

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Many people, especially fair-skinned people in sunny climates (like North Carolina), will develop areas of the face as they age where superficial veins and capillaries in the skin become enlarged and highly visible. Because of their typically irregular and spidery appearance, these superficial cutaneous vessels are commonly referred to as 'spider veins'.

The medical term for this phenomenon is 'telangiectasia', which is essentially Greek for 'the stretching out of the very end of a blood vessel'. And that's essentially what 'spider veins' are. They occur most frequently in the central face, particularly on the anterior cheeks and at the base of the nose. Some people develop very prominent spider veins on the dorsum and tip of the nose, where they are difficult to conceal.

Rosacea is a condition of the facial skin where the central face (nose, cheeks, chin, central forehead) gradually turns red and develops numerous fine telangiectasias. These areas easily become flushed, particularly after physical exertion, eating spicy food, or having a glass of wine. Rosacea has traditionally been treated with topical agents and oral antibiotics, however most patients experience improvement only when the medications are in use, with return of rosacea once the treatment is stopped. For many patients, rosacea is fairly resistant to topical and oral medications.

The cause of spider veins and rosacea is not completely understood, and appears to be multi-factorial. Contributing factors may be a genetic predisposition, the chronic use of topical steroid agents, and solar damage to the facial skin that gradually builds up over many years. Rosacea occurs most commonly in warm climates where people get a great deal of year-round sun exposure.

These conditions can perhaps be prevented (in part) by the avoidance of excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation (the sun, that tanning bed), the avoidance of chronic topical steroid use, and by the daily use of a high-SPF facial sunblock. In some cases, telangiectasias are associated with a systemic autoimmune disorder, such as scleroderma. Once a person develops facial telangiectasias and/or rosacea, these conditions in general do not spontaneously disappear.

So how do I get rid of rosacea, or my facial spider veins, or both?

The ideal treatment for 'spider veins' and rosacea should be easily administered, safe for the patient, reliably effective, should not require an excessive number of treatments, should be non-invasive, and should not have a prolonged recovery period.

Here's the good news: such a vein treatment does exist. The V-Beam Laser, a pulsed-dye laser developed specifically for the treatment of cutaneous vascular disorders, can completely eliminate most facial 'spider veins', usually in two to three treatments (large areas of long-standing spider veins may require more treatments), and can reverse the cutaneous manifestations of rosacea as well. In addition, the laser energy pulse delivered by the V-beam has been modified to limit the development of post-treatment bruising (purpura), a problem associated with older pulsed-dye lasers.

The V-Beam laser uses light energy of a wavelength that is specifically absorbed by structures which are reddish or purple in color, i.e. capillaries and small arteries and veins. The V-beam incorporates a Dynamic Cooling Device which sprays the skin with a cooling agent immediately before every laser pulse. This advanced technology both protects the skin from thermal energy and reduces the discomfort previously associated with pulsed-dye laser treatment. The laser pulses are generally described by patients as feeling like 'a rubber band snapping against the skin'. No anesthesia (topical or otherwise) is required.

While pulsed-dye laser technology has been available for decades, pulsed-dye laser treatment of rosacea and facial telangiectasia was not frequently performed as the laser energy tended to explode superficial blood vessels, producing facial bruising that may persist for several weeks. The V-Beam Laser modulates both the peak energy and the duration of the laser pulse in order to coagulate rather than explode dermal blood vessels, which allows treatments to be performed that produce little or no bruising. This advanced technology makes it possible to achieve significant clearance and even complete elimination of facial redness and spider veins with no 'downtime'.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Several lasers can effectively treat rosacea

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

In people with rosacea, laser treatments are most helpful with the redness and broken blood vessels (telangiectasias).  The pulse dye laser (PDL) is the most effective treatment against these symptoms.  Intense pulse light (IPL) devices are also effective, but the optimal device is the PDL. People will undergo anywhere from 1-5 treatments over several months to calm symptoms.  The energy from the laser will close off the unnecessary tiny blood vessels that make us red and cause the symptoms of rosacea.  The number of treatments varies depending the severity of the condition and the type of redness. The pulse dye laser our practice uses is the Candela V-beam.

Best of luck. 


Richie L. Lin, MD
Summit Dermatologic Surgeon

You might also like...

Re: Laser For Rosacea

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Every laser uses a very specific wavelength to perform a specialized job.

The V-beam laser, which is ideally suited for Rosacea uses the 595nm wavelength. The hemoglobin in the blood cells within these vessels will easily absorb the 595nm wavelength. The laser energy will then seal off these blood vessels. At this point, they are recognized by the body as waste tissue. And this is then eliminated from your system.

It can be used for the cheeks and nose.  This patient received excellent results using the V-beam for the Rosacea on his chest.



Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Yes there is a laser for rosacea

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Yes, pulsed dye lasers and intense pulsed light work well for the redness and flushing of rosacea. There are many different brands of these.  The Vbeam and Photofacial are the ones I use in my office and are very common.  These modalities can also help with pimples, but there are other ways to treat pimples that are less expensive. 

Rebecca Baxt, MD
Paramus Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.