Laser Treatment of Acne
Earlier this month I
discussed using a combination of over-the-counter and prescription topical solutions
for treatment of acne
. In patients with more severe cases of acne, oral
antibiotics and chemical peels may be
used in addition to other treatments. Laser or light therapy may provide
improvement in clearing acne when these other treatments have failed. I highly encourage continuing the use of
topical acne solutions while undergoing laser or light therapy.
It's difficult to predict how
patients will respond to these various treatments. Most see improvement, but
results cannot be guaranteed. Usually, a series of treatments are required. The
following technologies have been successful in our practice.
Acne Light (Omnilux Blue and Red Light)
Blue light is the
most commonly used. It targets P. acnes.
Red light can be
added in the regimen to help reduce the inflammation of acne.
Combining the two has been very
effective for most patients. There is no downtime using either light alone. One
20-minute session of each light per week for 4-8 weeks is recommended.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
A photosensitizing drug such
as ALA - aminolevulenic acid is applied to the skin and left to incubate for
period of 30-60 min. (incubation period may vary in other practices). During
this incubation period, ALA is absorbed by rapidly growing cells such as
precancerous cells and other cancer cells and has recently expanded with great
success in the treatment of acne.
After the incubation period,
the skin is exposed to a light or laser source that activates the chemical
absorbed to destroy P. acnes and will reduce the size and activity of the
sebaceous glands. Patients must be advised to avoid sun exposure for 3 days.
They will experience redness and exfoliation for 3-5 days but will result in
faster resolution of acne.
Coolbreeze/CoolTouch Laser - 1320 nm
PhotoRejuvention - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Spectra Acne Laser Toning - Q-switched Nd:YAG 1064
V-Beam Pulsed Dye Laser - 595nm
Thermage Monopolar Radiofrequency
Patients will experience
reduction of non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne lesions using one or a
combination of the laser and light technologies above combined with their
topical acne regimen. These laser and light treatments have unique qualities
depending on the wavelength and parameters used, but have overlapping benefits.
Most patients notice a marked
improvement in their general skin condition due to collagen stimulation. They
can experience pore size and sebum reduction as well as reduction of redness
and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) from acne inflammation. Using a series of one or a combination of
these laser and light technologies have improved our management of acne and
acne scarring without causing any surface damage.
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