Medical Breakthroughs: Lightening Rosacea

BACKGROUND: According to the National Rosacea Society, as many as 14 million Americans have the skin condition rosacea, but many do not know it. The condition is characterized by redness on the cheeks, nose and forehead, small, visible blood vessels in the face, an acne-like appearance, and watery or irritated eyes. In extreme cases there can be inflammation and pain.

The cause of the rosacea is unknown and there is currently no cure for the condition. Certain triggers are known to make it worse so patients are urged to avoid those triggers, which include the sun, spicy foods and caffeine.

According to Randy Coverman, M.D., a dermatologist in Orlando, Fla., rosacea results when the blood vessels of the face and neck, which usually dilate and contract with certain stimuli, stay dilated. He says, while there are creams that can help some people with the bumps, there has been no treatment that shows success of getting rid of the redness.

NO MORE REDNESS: Now, Dr. Coverman says a new treatment on the market can get rid of the redness, at least temporarily. The device is called EsteLux and it is an intense pulse light. A handheld "wand" emits pulsed light onto the red area. The light waves correspond to the color of the oxyhemoglobin, the red in the blood. This causes the blood vessel to heat up to the point that it shrinks until it disappears.

The procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes and the whole area can be treated at the same time. After treatment the skin may turn slightly darker red for a period of a few hours to about two weeks. After that, the redness is essentially gone.

"These were people who were embarrassed to go out. Their faces were always red and people would look at them. Now they can go about business and enjoy life," said Dr. Coverman.

Patients usually see an improvement after the first treatment but additional treatments may be needed depending on the severity of the condition. Also, Dr. Coverman says this is not a cure. With time, as patients are exposed to the triggers, the redness will likely return and additional treatments will be needed.

SIDE EFFECTS: Patients say the procedure feels like a slight sting or like a sunburn that goes away generally after a few hours. During the procedure, a cooling device is used to keep the skin cool.



Randall Coverman, M.D.
220 North Westmonte Dr.
Suite A
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
(407) 788-8900

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