Rosacea is one of the most stubborn skin conditions because there’s no cure and it involves a lot of trial and error to find the right products and treatments to manage it. But because it affects nearly 14 million people in the U.S. alone, dermatologists are always looking for possible cures and answers to get rid of rosacea once and for all.
Typical in-office treatments for rosacea include lasers and light-based procedures, but as Refinery29 reports, neuromodulators (think Botox Cosmetic, Dysport and Xeomin) are now being added to the list of options for reducing frustrating flare-ups (off-label). Tiny amounts of the neuromodulators can be injected into superficial layers of skin, which may help hinder the blood vessels’ ability to dilate (a cause of redness and inflammation).
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“There is some evidence collected over the years that neuromodulators injected into the skin more superficially, can have a dramatic effect on the redness associated with rosacea,” explains Nashville, TN, dermatologist Michael Gold, MD. “It is not a permanent effect, but many have seen and shown effects that can last several weeks or even a month or two.”
“I do think this treatment works for rosacea, but only the burning, stinging types,” says Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD. “This is because the burning is histamine-induced (histamine is what surges when an insect bites you). When blood vessels dilate (like in rosacea), that is histamine as well, and the neuromodulators mitigate the effects.”
If you do consider opting for this treatment, Dr. Gold says it’s important to seek a skilled injector who is board-certified. “Care must be given when doing these injections. If the neuromodulator is injected deeper than what is needed to address the redness, the patient may experience a droop or loss of use of that treated area. It’s not permanent, but it’s not something you don’t want to happen.”
Dr. Gold says that although this treatment isn’t really common right now, hopefully we will see some good clinical trials that can support the claim moving forward. “There are numerous uses for neuromodulators that we still have yet to explore. These are some of the most exciting molecules that have crossed into our specialty, and with care and proper guidance, they can have profound effects on our patients—all for the positive.”