Rosacea is a common skin condition which affects around 16 million Americans. Both men and women can suffer from rosacea, and it is common for the first flare up to occur between the ages of 30 and 50.
Dermatologists have been making use of laser treatments to manage rosacea since the 1980s.
Today, there are two main kinds of rosacea treatment – the non-laser intense pulsed light treatment, and the traditional pulsed dye laser therapy.
How Laser Therapy Works
Laser therapy uses a pulsed dye laser to treat the thickening of the skin on your nose and cheeks, persistent redness, and dilated blood vessels.
It does this by targeting the red blood vessels in the skin, and effectively breaking them down, stopping blood from flowing to them. You may experience some temporary bruising and puffiness after the treatment, and your doctor may give you an ice pack and an antihistamine to ease the pain and swelling.
These side effects are temporary, and you should find that you enjoy clearer skin, and reduced flare ups for as long as eight years. It is difficult to completely cure rosacea, but laser therapy is very effective at reducing the symptoms and can be used in conjunction with lifestyle changes and topical therapies to manage the condition.
How IPL Therapy Works
IPL therapy works almost the same way as laser therapy, except that instead of using a laser it uses light of multiple wavelengths. IPL is effective at getting rid of both brown pigmentation in your skin, and broken blood vessels.
In most cases, IPL therapy is cheaper than laser therapy, and it is also less likely to cause unpleasant side effects.
With both IPL and laser therapy, there is some risk of burns, blisters and skin discoloration if the device is used improperly, but this risk is minimal.
For best results, seek out a qualified dermatologist to do the treatment for you. Do not go to a beauty salon or a spa. Laser and light therapy devices can be very dangerous if they are used by someone who is not properly trained.
Is Laser Treatment Covered By Insurance
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as to whether rosacea laser treatment will be covered by your medical insurance. Sadly, in most cases, rosacea laser treatment is not covered by medical insurance.
You can expect to have to pay between $300 and $600 per treatment depending on whether you opt for IPL therapy or laser treatments. There are some (rare) insurance policies that do cover rosacea treatments, however, so it is worth consulting your insurance provider to confirm whether or not you are covered.
To get the best results from laser therapy, you would usually need to have between one and three treatment sessions, with the sessions being one or two months apart. The number of IPL treatments required depends on the color of your skin and the severity of your rosacea. Some people respond to IPL treatment after just one session, while others require up to five sessions.
You can have treatments once every three weeks. Both IPL and laser treatments are long-lasting, but it is likely that you may need follow up therapy after a couple of years as the capillaries in your face start to regenerate.
There are new therapies being developed, but these new therapies will most likely not be covered under standard health insurance policies.
Rosacea is a frustrating condition and severe outbreaks can be painful, but it is only in rare cases that rosacea becomes disfiguring enough for treatment to be considered medically necessary.
There are more than 45 million rosacea sufferers worldwide. Many of these sufferers have relatively mild rosacea that can be managed using topical creams and by avoiding the most common rosacea triggers. If you cannot afford laser therapy, do not despair.
If you take good care of your skin and avoid common food, drink and environmental triggers your rosacea should stay manageable for many years.
Laser therapies are coming down in price and becoming more and more effective as the technology improves, so you may have the option of trying the treatment later in life if your condition does get worse.