Red Light Therapy for Rosacea: Does It Help?

Red Light Therapy for Rosacea: Does It Help?

Blushing or reddening skin is one of the most common skin conditions. Rosacea affects many people, whether they experience occasional skin redness or more severe symptoms. These side effects include swelling, acne or blister-style breakouts, bumps, thickening of the skin, and irritation. You can see the effects of rosacea on your forehead, cheeks, chin, neck, ears, chest, and back, from mild to moderate or severe.

One of the first treatment plans you may consider for rosacea from your dermatologist or specialist may include medication, skin care, and topical creams to reduce its impact. It's a condition that tends to worsen with age, especially when there's no treatment plan in place. Fortunately, rosacea can be successfully treated to reduce or eliminate unwanted symptoms.

Red light therapy and laser therapy are also effective and have been known to yield excellent results in decreasing or eliminating permanent redness, visible blood vessels, and skin thickening. You can easily use this therapy with other treatments, or on its own, based on your skin condition.

Implementing Red Light Therapy Into Your Skin Care Treatment Plan

What type of skincare plan is best for treating rosacea, and how does red light therapy play an essential role in this treatment? The amount of redness, the severity of symptoms, and other factors impact how well red light therapy works, from successfully eliminating mild to moderate flare-ups to temporary relief from more long-term effects.

For this reason, a personalized treatment plan from your dermatologist is essential, so you can determine how to use red light therapy.

The degree of success in treating rosacea flare-ups depends on many factors, including:

  • How often and severe the flare-ups occur, and if any conditions may trigger them.
  • The degree of redness and whether it causes thickness, a change in texture, swelling, acne, and other symptoms.
  • Whether your condition is temporary or permanent, the degree of redness and how long it lasts

How Effective Is Red Light Therapy for Rosacea?

So, what happens when you use red light therapy to treat rosacea? If you suffer from visible blood vessels during flare-ups, you'll see a noticeable improvement after two or three treatments scheduled every three or four weeks.

The reduction can range from fifty percent to complete elimination. Once treated, blood vessels are healed. Fortunately, they won't return, though there may be new visible blood vessels in two or three years. Overall, red light therapy is highly effective in treating this specific symptom. 

If you experience skin thickening, this may not be resolved entirely with laser or red light therapy. Sometimes, when this texture is reduced, it may return later once treatment is completed. You may quickly notice that results tend to vary individually. In some situations, additional treatments from your dermatologist can alleviate this problem.

Woman with rosacea


Different Types of Rosacea

Most people think of skin redness and mild irritation when rosacea comes to mind, though there are many other signs you may experience based on the variation of this condition. While some people may only experience mild symptoms of redness as a slight inconvenience, it might escalate to severe rashes, clusters of acne, swelling, and skin irritation that may spread over the body.

Phymatous Rosacea

This type of rosacea is known for causing the skin to thicken, harden, or become bumpy. Phymatous rosacea is most common in mature adults, where areas of the face, often the skin on and around the nose, thicken over time.

Papulopustular Rosacea

You'll experience severe redness, acne breakouts, and swelling during flare-ups. The duration of these effects may be short-term, or linger, based on the severity of this specific rosacea condition. 

Ocular Rosacea

This form of rosacea affects the skin and areas around the eyes, resulting in swelling of the eyelids, irritation, and reddening. A sty or similar infection may occur with ocular rosacea. Other symptoms experienced with this condition include watery, bloodshot eyes and a burning sensation.

Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea

This type of rosacea produces visible blood vessels, redness, and sudden flushes. During these episodes, the skin becomes visibly irritated and inflamed.

Over time, even the most temporary reddening may become more prevalent and permanent if left untreated or not treated consistently, leading to more invasive symptoms.

Are There Side Effects to Using Red Light Therapy?

You'll find that light therapy, particularly red light therapy, is one of the safest treatments for skin conditions, including rosacea. When considering light therapy in your skin care plan, weighing the potential risks is essential.

Skin diseases affect many people with different skin types. One person may respond differently to red light therapy than the next, especially if specific skin textures are sensitive or easily irritated.

What side effects will likely occur when you apply red light therapy as part of your rosacea treatment plan? You'll need to review the following before you begin:

  • While red light therapy panels are safe and effective, if you choose laser treatment, take medication, or use other therapies, it's best to check with a dermatologist to ensure there won't be any adverse effects.
  • Get familiar with your skin type and how rosacea impacts skin health before using red light therapy.
  • Medical history, previous injuries, and other skin conditions are important to consider, as they can alter the results of any treatment.
  • Ensure that you consult with an experienced medical professional to determine which treatments are best for your specific case.
  • If your skin is susceptible and prone to irritation, you may notice blotchiness and additional redness or swelling initially when you begin treatment.

The side effects of red light therapy tend to be minimal, at best, and temporary. So, suppose you notice a few dark red spots or a blotchy complexion following your first or second treatments.

In that case, they usually subside quickly and disappear once your skin becomes accustomed to red light therapy. Maintaining consistent treatments ensures you get the most out of red light therapy. 

The Long-Term Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Fortunately, the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term discomfort by significantly reducing or eliminating visible blood vessels, thickened skin, and frequent flare-ups.

After treatment, you may want to take extra precautions to increase sun protection, especially if you have susceptible skin, to prevent irritation or scarring. Suppose there is a family history of moderate to severe skin disorders or previous exposure to harmful chemicals or other substances that impact your skin or health. In that case, this may also impact the outcome of red light therapy. 

During a rosacea flare-up, the mitochondria cannot function correctly, as they become damaged and cannot use oxygen properly. Red light therapy not only provides relief from the effects of rosacea, it also promotes healthier cell rejuvenation, which prevents fibroblasts. These contribute to the growth of visible blood vessels, which can be reduced with routine red light treatments.


Red light therapy offers great relief from rosacea's painful and unwanted effects and related skin diseases. While the initial side effects may vary based on your specific treatment plan or condition, ongoing studies support red light treatment.

Despite minimal exposure, red light therapy can relieve and reduce the pain and discomfort that rosacea causes, greatly improving your quality of life and your skin's appearance.

It's a straightforward, non-invasive approach to treating one of the most common skin conditions, offering a new way to treat, reduce, and sometimes eliminate the effects of flare-ups for months or years at a time.

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