Treating Rosacea with Photodynamic Therapy

Published on June 8, 2018

Are you constantly worried by red flushes on the face, rashes, and small pus-filled bumps that started appearing for no apparent reason? Does this skin condition wax and wane but never completely disappear? Does consumption of alcohol or spicy food, stress, and heat seem to cause flare-ups? If you’re experiencing these issues, chances are that you are suffering from rosacea.

What Is Rosacea?

Rosacea is an autoinflammatory skin disease that is unfortunately common in many adults across the world. It is characterized by outbreaks of redness and cysts on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin, fine red lines on the face, eye irritation, and a large bulbous nose. It is more common in fair-skinned adults above the age of thirty.

People tend to ignore this issue, mistaking it for acne or sensitive skin. But unlike teenage acne, rosacea is not a temporary condition that can be cured naturally as the years go by. On the contrary, if left untreated, it can worsen over time. For this reason, it is important to consult an experienced medical practitioner who can correctly identify the condition and start timely treatment.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) for the Treatment of Rosacea

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is one among the most effective treatments that have been developed to treat chronic skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. It is a targeted treatment that harnesses light energy to selectively destroy the diseased tissue. Being non-invasive and quick, PDT is a popular choice among dermatologists to bring the symptoms of rosacea under control.

The treatment progresses through three important steps:

• First, the target area of the skin affected by rosacea is coated with a photosensitizer drug. Occasionally, it may also be injected into the skin. Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) or methyl aminolevulinate (MAL) is generally the active ingredient in this solution. The photosensitizing molecules present in it make the area of skin where it is administered very sensitive to light. In this way, targeted light treatment can be delivered.

• Next is the incubation period where the solution is given the time to penetrate into the skin. As ALA is a chemical that is naturally present in the body, it can be easily absorbed. Based on the type of drug used and the severity of the rosacea, the waiting period can vary.

• The unabsorbed solution is cleaned and the skin is exposed to a special type of light radiation for a predetermined amount of time. The light activates the photosensitizing molecules absorbed by the target area. It triggers the release of oxygen radicals which in turn destroy the acne affected cells, leaving the healthy cells unharmed. PDT is not very painful; the patients describe the experience similar to snapping a rubber band on the skin.

For the best results, all the instructions given by the PDT practitioner should be carefully followed. Excessive sun exposure should be avoided at all costs after the treatment for at least two days.

In addition to treating rosacea, PDT can also help rejuvenate the skin’s tone and texture. The treatment can help reduce the effects of sun damage and rejuvenate your youthful appearance.

Contact Our Office

Photodynamic therapy is a great way to treat rosacea. If you’re interested in learning more about the treatment and the benefits it can provide, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. John Rachel.

American Board of Cosmetic Surgery FACS American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Alpha Omega Alpha Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care American Board of Otolaryngology Phi Beta Kappa American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery