t’s the last thing you need; you have a list a mile long of things you have to do and nowhere near enough time to do them all and then you feel that dreaded flushing feeling. A quick check in the mirror and yes, there it is, those telltale pink patches that means rosacea is about to, once again, inflict itself on your usually lovely pale skin.
There is much more to Rosacea and other capillary complications* than just a little flushing or redness. Rosacea occurs when small surface blood vessels, or capillaries, on the face becoming enlarged. It tends to make its first appearance between the ages of 30 and 50; affects men and women, including those who have not previously experienced skin problems; and there is no permanent cure. (Source: betterhealth.vic.gov.au) Varying in severity, rosacea symptoms can range from pink patches – which can look like flushing – across the nose and cheeks through to a sporadic and angry red rash with yellow-headed pustules (unlike the acne that it can resemble, rosacea does not scar). Severe rosacea can result in enlarged, reddened noses of the sort that a few generations ago were attributed to drinking too much.
Another common capillary complaint is the truly tongue-twisting Telangiectasia, characterised typically by a grouping of red lines on the skin surface resulting from permanently enlarged capillaries. Also known as spider veins, telangiectasias are most common on the face and legs. From rashes and flushes, to spider veins, red skin spots, stretch marks, birthmarks and purple/blue growths, the blood delivery system to our skin can cause a whole range of issues. They range in severity from irritating and mildly embarrassing, to so severe sufferers avoid going into public during an occurrence. The painful truth about vascular skin conditions is that they are very rarely curable. You just have to walk down the aisle of any sizeable chemist to see the array of creams and ointments that offer some form of relief, but all too often the results aren’t what sufferers are hoping for.
Laser treatments have been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of vascular skin conditions, but just as all men are not created equal (but don’t tell them that), all laser treatments are not the same. The Vbeam Vascular Laser is a pulsed dye laser operating at 595nm, the wavelength that has the strongest absorption for treating vascular conditions. The laser is attracted to the dilated capillaries and collapses them. As the vessels break down over time, the redness associated with vascular skin conditions is reduced.
The Vbeam – officially the Vbeam Perfecta Laser by CandelaTM - is the ants’ pants, the bees’ knees and the Rolls Royce of vascular laser. It really does what it says it does, it reduces the redness associated with vascular skin conditions and scarring and has proven to be a welcome relief for patients who have been there, tried it all, and found nothing really helped.
However, it can’t be said too often or too adamantly, there is no one size fits all model when it comes to vascular skin conditions, and they have to be treated on an individual basis. ‘How many treatments will I need and what will the results be?’ The simple answer is, it varies. It varies as much as the conditions themselves vary. The Vbeam isn’t a painful procedure, with an inbuilt cooling spray mitigating the heat of the laser, but again, everyone experiences sensations on their skin differently. What most would feel as slight warmth and tingling, and a sensation of mild sunburn after treatment may be uncomfortable for others. Discussing this with a qualified and experienced dermal clinician is a must before treatment. And other factors will impact on how many treatments are needed, or how deep the laser has to go, including things like age, skin colour, and type and location of the lesion. As with all light-based treatments, some antibiotics and medications may impact on the laser treatment and these should be discussed when you make an appointment.
Typically, Vbeam treatments are run as a course of three to six treatments, four weeks apart. Some people only need a few treatments to resolve the symptoms, while others may need a touch-up every six or twelve months … it varies!
Post-treatment, redness can be covered up with mineral makeup or BB cream straight away, and, always, absolutely, use a good quality zinc-based sunscreen after laser treatment – preferably one with a 50+ rating. There may not be a cure for those frustrating flushing symptoms, or confidence-crushing capillary conditions, but there is hope in banishing the blushes. Just remember, when it comes to laser treatments, all laser treatments are definitely not equal.