Patients with rosacea, particularly the erythrotelangiectatic form, are considered good candidates for treatment with lasers and light therapies, according to Mathew M Avram, MD, who spoke about laser and light therapies for rosacea.
Patients with rosacea that are expected to do best with laser therapy are those with telangiectasia. Laser therapy is also effective for background redness but will be less effective for people with the papules associated with rosacea and “almost not effective at all for preventing flushing,” Dr. Avram said in an interview at the meeting.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) is another modality for treating rosacea. As with lasers, the mode of action is heating of certain structures and chromophores, causing their destruction and resorption, but unlike lasers, IPL output is broad spectrum and can be modified using filters.
With IPL, “basically, the endpoint that you want to see is transient purpural change, just a fleeting period of some black and blue, or if you’re treating vessels, you want to see vessel clearance when you’re firing the laser or the intense pulsed light,” said Dr. Avram, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Dermatology Laser & Cosmetic Center, Boston.
On-screen settings of laser or IPL devices are essential, “but ultimately, if you want to have an effective treatment you really have to see what’s happening to your target … you need to pay attention to clinical endpoints, which is seeing that black and blue or that vessel clearance, not just paying attention to what’s on the screen.”
With IPL, too much pressure can compress vessels and blanch the skin, resulting in a less effective treatment, he added. He noted that tissue graying, whitening, or contraction indicates overly aggressive treatment, with the risk of scarring.
Certain factors can reduce the efficacy of IPL treatments of rosacea. Dr. Avram recommended against treating tanned skin and pointed out that anaemic patients may benefit less from this approach since less hemoglobin presents a less-absorptive target for the treatments. He also advised particular caution when treating darker skin phototypes. But the most common factor that may make these treatments less effective is when a patient is on any type of anticoagulant, including NSAIDs or warfarin (Coumadin), because the mechanism of action is immediate microvascular hemorrhage, thrombosis, and eventual resorption.
For best results, Dr. Avram advises “appropriate overlap with the laser” to get an even and uniform improvement in the redness, with about a 15% overlap. Spacing laser spots too far apart can result in “foot printing,” the appearance of clearance in the areas of the laser pulse, but not in areas immediately around it “so it looks almost polka dotted.” After treatments, all patients should avoid the sun, he added.
- Source mdedge.com/edermatologynews/