Q&A with Sarah L. Taylor, MD, MPH

Dr Taylor

Sarah L. Taylor, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor of dermatology with the department of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.


Dr Taylor received her medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2002 and Master of Public Health from the University of Iowa in 2005. She completed her residency in dermatology at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC in 2012. Prior to this, she completed a residency in family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2005.

Q. How did you become interested in rosacea as a specialty? 

A. I like helping patients with different skin conditions, but rosacea has become one of my top interests. It requires a multidimensional treatment regimen to effectively treat symptoms, which necessitates quite a bit of effort from the patient and physician.

Q. What is your current first-line therapy for rosacea? 

A. It really depends on the patient. I customize my treatment for patients based on the type(s) of rosacea they have and how conservative or aggressive the patient wants to be with treatment. I always talk with them about their treatment options, as usually there are several triggers for patients that can cause their rosacea to flare up. I encourage them to be mindful of their personal triggers and to minimize these as much as they can.

Q. What recent rosacea advances are you most excited about? 

A. I am interested in the possible connection between the cutaneous microbiome and disease presence and severity of rosacea. This is an area of current research that is exciting and involves the Demodex mite, as well as other potential microorganisms, such as bacteria that are superimposed on the mite that then initiate an inflammatory response. 

Q. What are some areas or therapies that are most promising for your patients with rosacea? 

A. Some areas or therapies that are most promising for patients with rosacea include cutaneous microbiome therapies and laser therapies. There is also some interesting research on both topical and oral nicotinamide (form of vitamin B3) that is promising. 

Q. What are you currently working on?

A. Right now, I just finished writing a book chapter with Steve Feldman, MD, PhD. I also have just submitted a review article about new advances in rosacea and am waiting on publication. I will also be giving a talk on rosacea at the annual meeting of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association of North Carolina in Raleigh, which I am looking forward to. 

Q. Do you treat patients with intense pulsed light (IPL)?  

A. I do not use IPL, which is one of several energy-based treatments for rosacea. Instead, I treat my patients with a 1064 nm Nd:YAG.  The Nd:YAG tends to be better tolerated, is not as painful, and does not produce posttreatment purpura or bruising. If patients have telangiectasias, they are good candidates for Nd:YAG laser therapy. 

Q. What advice do you have for your fellow dermatologists treating rosacea? 

A. The patient must be involved and on board with the regimen. Encouraging patients to pay attention to their own particular triggers for rosacea flare-ups is really important and then trying hard to minimize or altogether avoid them. Given the variety of topical and systemic medications, working with patients’ personal preferences and adjusting their treatment to make it something that they will follow is key for achieving success.