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The Most Common Signs of Rosacea by Pulse Light Clinic London

What is Rosacea:

Rosacea is a condition often misdiagnosed and the causes of this condition are poorly understood. It manifests on the face, especially the cheeks, chin, nose and mid forehead. Although it is not a life threatening condition, it can cause enormous social and psychological problems.

Although it is considered incurable, the use of appropriate treatments can give a person control over this debilitating condition.

Rosacea symptoms consist of telangiectasia, erythema papules and pustules, and in some situations it can involve the eyes (ocular rosacea).

The condition develops gradually. Mild episodes of facial blushing or flushing can lead to a permanent red face. Individuals with fair skin, particularly those of Scottish, Irish or Celtic descent, are more predisposed to Rosacea.

This condition is commonly known as “The Curse of the Celts”, although people with darker skins also suffer from Rosacea.

Rosacea is more common in women than men, and women often develop it earlier in life. However, the condition is generally more severe in men where changes to the texture of the skin, skin thickening and a bulbus enlarged nose may occur (Rhinophyma).

Different types of Rosacea

The 4 main types of rosacea:
Subtype 1: Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea
This is mainly characterised by facial erythema (flushing and redness of the skin). The person usually experiences a burning feeling and often has flaking and changes to the texture of the skin.

Subtype 2: Papulopustular Rosacea
Accompanied by the redness, the skin can produce papules or pustules or both usually in the middle of the face. However they may also occur round the nose and mouth. It may be hard to identify this subtype as the papules or pustules may be hidden by the erythema.

Subtype 3: Phymatous Rosacea
In this subtype, there is skin thickening and skin irregularities. One of the most common features is rhinophyma which is often misidentified as “whisky nose”. Ironically, people who have Rhinophyma are often non-drinkers.

Subtype 4: Ocular Rosacea
The person presenting with Ocular Rosacea will have symptoms caused by telangiectasia of the conjunctiva and around the eyelids and margins of the eye. The condition may occur even before there are any symptoms on the skin.

What causes it:

The causes of rosacea are not clearly understood; there are several possibilities but all are unproven. There appears to be genetic and environmental factors involved in Rosacea. Frequently, there is a history of family members having this condition. Some of the proposed possibilities are vascular irregularities, facial mites & bacteria, the use of steroids and other environmental factors.

Hormonal imbalances in perimenopausal women may be a causative factor in vascular instability.

Studies in 1999- 2000 suggested a link between Helicobacter Pylori infection and rosacea. Another theory proposed was the existence of Demodex Folliculorum (facial mites) as a possible cause. The mite colonizes enlarged Sebaceous follicles that are found in rosacea sufferers.

There are numerous triggers for rosacea flare ups; these can be caused by certain foods, environmental factors such as excessive heat, common medications or other medical conditions.

At the Pulse Light Clinic our approach to treatment of rosacea has evolved over the past 10 years and includes state of the art IPL technology, nutritional and environmental controls.

A Rosacea sufferer will approach a consultation with great trepidation. They will most likely have already seen various doctors and have had numerous treatments recommended by their GP or dermatologist, all to no avail.

IPL becomes the last resort, so by the time the client approaches us they have usually adopted a negative mind-set regarding rosacea treatments. Therefore it is important to address the emotional distress that the person is feeling. Our duty of care in the first instance is to reassure them that they can be helped.

Pulse Light Clinic do this by providing them with up to date information on all aspects of rosacea treatments. We then conduct a full assessment of their condition and needs based on the knowledge and experience we have gained over the past decade.

Before doing an IPL patch test, the client is given detailed information on how IPL works in relation to rosacea. They are shown the different wavelengths used and how many passes on the face will be done on each treatment. A package of normally 6 treatments is suggested, spaced 3-4 weeks apart.

An area of the face, normally the jaw line is selected for a patch test. More then one wavelength is used in the patch test.

All safety precautions are observed prior to the patch test, which takes approximately 5 minutes.

The client is made familiar with the entire IPL procedure, which lasts on average 40 minutes per treatment.

The success of IPL is heavily dependent on the skill of the practitioner, her knowledge of the physiology of rosacea and her technical expertise in the delivery of IPL.

At the Pulse Light Clinic, we have evolved a successful IPL technique using different wavelengths of light to address various aspects of the condition ranging from the vascular components to facial mites. We have seen dramatic results in as little as 3 treatments where clients have reported stinging and burning of the face has disappeared.

The worse the rosacea, the more treatments are needed for optimal results. Sometimes 6-8 treatments are required to achieve maximum clearance of blood vessels and redness.

Clients may come for top up treatments as a preventive measure, usually once a year but, on occasion, we have clients who have returned after 5 years with very little symptoms. This type of long term results was a combination of IPL and nutritional therapy.

Facial redness reduces quite quickly with IPL. A client reported in the early stages of IPL that during a dinner with a friend that she experienced a “ trigger” effect, namely a feeling of heat and blood rushing to the face, where she was convinced she had gone bright red and asked her friend if she was red. Her friend said no. Not believing this, she ran to the bathroom to check for herself and to her astonishment her face was pale. Once she embarked on her nutritional program, she no longer experienced this feeling of extreme heat on her face.

When the Pulse Light Clinic first began using IPL for rosacea treatment back in 2001, the client would be advised to allow as much as 4 days downtime due to swelling and redness of the face. Sometimes these side effects wwere accompanied by slight bruising, which would take longer to disappear.

As the technology improved over the years, these after effects became less and less common so that today they have almost completely disappeared. Today, any redness will be gone within 20 minutes following treatment.

At the Pulse Light Clinic, we use the most advanced IPL technology available. The Lumenis M22 IPL machine is capable of producing spectacular results without any downtime, after effects or complications that was once associated with IPL.


The combination of nutritional therapy and intense pulsed light technology is a safe highly versatile and effective method for the treatment of Rosacea.

The appropriate use of the wavelengths involved in this technology coupled with the technical ability and experience of the practitioner is vital to achieving optimum results.

A mere cosmetic approach to this condition will not suffice, rather years of research, training, expertise and commitment to obtaining long term results is what is required and is the benchmark standard of the Pulse Light Clinic.

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