What Is Rosacea And How Can LED Light Therapy Help?

• 09 April 2024

Rosacea is a common but often misunderstood skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterised by facial redness, visible blood vessels and sometimes even acne-like bumps across the cheeks, nose and chin, rosacea can be mentally (and physically) distressing. Here’s everything you need to know about the causes, possible symptoms and effective rosacea treatments.


What causes rosacea?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “The cause of rosacea is unknown, but an overactive immune system, genetics and environmental factors can contribute.” Flare-ups can even be triggered by consuming alcohol, hot drinks or spicy foods. Prolonged UVB (ultraviolet) exposure can also stimulate angiogenesis—the accelerated growth of new blood vessels, making them enlarge, spread roots and ultimately result in rosacea.


Does LED red light therapy help rosacea?

The benefits of LED (light emitting diode) red light therapy include lowering inflammation, accelerating the natural 'wound healing' process and strengthening the skin barrier—all of which are crucial for reducing the symptoms of rosacea. And while rosacea can't be cured; it can be controlled. Here's everything you need to know about red light therapy for rosacea.


rosacea before and after


Light is a powerful energy and when applied correctly, it stimulates a natural cellular response similar to that of photosynthesis (with plants). Wavelength selection is crucial to the success of LED red light therapy—the more precise, the more effectively they become absorbed by the target skin cells.

Blue (415nm) is the most proven wavelength to destroy acne-causing bacteria on the skin's surface, while reducing redness and inflammation. Red (633nm) supercharges cell energy, accelerating cell repair and renewal along with increased skin hydration.

Near-infrared (830nm) targets deeper cells to stimulate the wound healing process, calming redness, irritation and scarring. When combined with green (532nm), it accelerates the reduction of hyperpigmentation from scarring and acne scarring. Combined with yellow (590nm), near-infrared accelerates facial redness on the cheeks, nose and chin.


rosacea before and after


The subtypes of rosacea

To effectively treat the symptoms of rosacea, you must first identify which subtype you have. Board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Shah and Dr. Maxfield, discuss the four subtypes of rosacea to their 2M YouTube following: “They all behave differently. It’s highly individualised.” Dr. Maxfield also mentions that, “rosacea is a trial and error type of condition.” So it's important to give yourself the time and patience to find the best possible at home treatment for your rosacea.

To make this journey easier, we've paired a clinically proven at home LED red light therapy device best suited to each subtype.


Subtype 1: ETR (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea




“The key thing here is it starts with transient flushing. If you’re the type of person that gets flushed for a prolonged period, such as 30 minutes—eventually, that redness becomes persistent. The dilated blood vessels come on over a period of years and then stay.” 

Avoid using beauty products containing fragrance, drying (isopropyl) alcohol, witch hazel, eucalyptus and peppermint oils, as well as mechanical scrubs.

Instead, opt for anti-inflammatory licorice, soothing niacinamide and barrier-strengthening ceramides. “Treat your skin as if it’s sensitive. You want to avoid anything that somebody with eczema or atopic dermatitis wouldn’t use.” It’s also important to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF20 or higher every day. 

The CurrentBody Skin LED Light Therapy Face Mask uses precise red (633nm) and near-infrared (830nm) LED wavelengths to specifically target inflammation, reverse sun damage and increase cellular ‘wound healing.’ All it takes is 10 minutes of wearing the mask 3 to 5 times per week to see (and feel) the benefits.


Subtype 2: Papulopustular rosacea




Similar to acne, but with a different distribution—this form of rosacea presents as small, red pus-filled bumps most often across the central face. This type of rosacea has a baseline of inflammation that may be triggered by genetics or an increase of Demodex mites on the skin’s surface.

Avoid using any form of vitamin A such as retinol, retinoids or retinals. “Some acne ingredients, such as retinol, can make this type of rosacea worse. It’s so important to get the correct diagnosis on this one.” 

Treat this form of rosacea with skincare ingredients such as azelaic acid— “very very effective for dark spots”—as well as sulphur, something that Dr. Shah and Dr. Maxfield both agree is “probably one of the most underrated skincare ingredients that exists.” Papulopustular rosacea also responds well to oral antibiotics. 

The Dermalux Flex MD is a clinically proven at-home medical device designed to reduce inflammation, redness, acne and the symptoms of psoriasis, while accelerating cellular renewal for healing and scar reduction. Precise clinic-grade LED (light emitting diode) wavelengths get absorbed by the cells, ensuring a comfortable and completely gentle at home rosacea treatment. It’s ideal for targeting acne and papulopustular rosacea.

Here's a verified customer review of the Dermalux Flex MD: 

"I suffer with papulopustular rosacea, which began about 5 years ago. This displays, at best, as persistent redness and, at its worst, also includes large clusters of very painful spots, with a fiery itchy sensation. I started with the blue and infrared settings 2-3 times a week and have experienced great results in the healing of the painful spots, a reduction in their reoccurrence and even some reduction in the redness. I don't want to constantly take medication so, in addition to understanding and identifying my triggers, along with finding a skincare range that really helps, I am finding that the Dermalux Flex completes my skincare routine and greatly helps with the management of my symptoms." — AJ, UK Verified Buyer


Subtype 3: Phymatous rosacea




This form of rosacea presents as continuously growing oil glands, oily looking skin and eventually, thickened skin tissue. “You can get individually enlarged oil glands throughout the face and an overall greasy complexion.” 

Dr. Shah recommends niacinamide to help reduce pores and decrease oil production, but cautions the need for getting this type of rosacea under control with your healthcare professional before it gets too disfiguring. 

The CurrentBody Skin 4-in-1 LED Zone Facial Mapping Mask uses 4 clinically proven wavelengths to control oil production, soothe inflammation and reduce redness. There’s no downtime required, and every hands free session lasts 10 minutes. You can even choose your treatment programme based on your specific symptoms with a matching wavelength. 


Subtype 4: Ocular rosacea




“Severe cases can actually lead to difficulty seeing and can cause real damage to the eye.” Dr. Maxfield explains, “A lot of times, people don’t even realise that it’s a part of rosacea, and they take a long time to seek care.” Symptoms include recurrent styes on the eyelid margin; they can appear as crustiness where the eyelashes meet the waterline, or even as a ‘gritty’ sensation as if there’s sand in your eye.  

The CurrentBody Skin LED Eye Perfector can help ease inflammation specifically around the eye area to support professional treatment. We recommend 3-minute daily sessions, but speak with your dermatologist or ophthalmologist for how to treat rosacea at home.


Consult your dermatologist

If you suffer with redness or rosacea, it can be difficult to find products and treatments that don’t aggravate your skin. And while LED red light therapy can help with the symptoms of rosacea, it's still important to consult a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and at home rosacea treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. 

Vinona Baines Beauty Editor
Professional makeup artist and copywriter, Vinona has over 12 years of experience in the beauty industry. She's worked for MAC Cosmetics, 456 Skin and backstage at London Fashion Week. Her expertise ranges from skincare and makeup to beauty gadgets.
Prev Post Gareth Bromell On The Best Skin Prep Before Makeup
Next Post At Home Radio Frequency Facials Explained

Related Posts