ClearLight Laser Acne Treatment
Acne is extremely common, and nearly nine in every 10 teenagers gets at least a handful of pimples at some point, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). However, some cases of acne are severe and disfiguring and can cause deep scars. Studies show that ClearLight acne blue light treatment can help clear skin in stubborn acne cases.
In many cases of acne, the strain of bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) proliferates, causing acne blemishes and inflammation beneath the skin's surface. P. acnes, which lives constantly in the skin but is kept in check by the body's immune system, thrives in an oily environment. If the glands underneath the surface of the skin produce too much oil, the immune system can lose control of P. acnes. The ClearLight system targets and kills P. acnes.
The ClearLight system, which is not really a laser but instead is a light therapy system that uses specific wavelengths of blue and violet light, penetrates the surface of the skin to kill P. acnes bacteria. ClearLight also stimulates the natural antibacterial defenses within the skin, which helps the body fight bacterial proliferation on its own.
During a ClearLight treatment, the patient dons protective goggles for the eyes and then lies still under the blue treatment lights for up to 25 minutes. Side effects of the treatment generally are mild, according to the AAD, and include temporary changes in skin color, dry skin and swelling of treated areas. Dermatologists using the ClearLight recommend up to 10 treatments given twice a week; in this time frame, many patients will see partial clearing of their acne lesions.
Studies show blue light therapy in the wavelengths used by the ClearLight system can be an effective treatment for acne, although not all types of acne respond. A study reported in 2003 in the Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy looked at 46 patients and found a two-thirds improvement in the number of acne blemishes after eight treatments of eight to 15 minutes each. And another report, this one from the Journal of Dermatological Science, noted 64 percent improvement in patients after up to five weeks of twice-weekly blue light treatments.
The AAD cautions that blue light therapies like the ClearLight system should not be used in cases of nodulocystic acne lesions, because studies have shown the lights seem to make that condition worse. In addition, the ClearLight system or other blue light systems likely will form only one part of an overall treatment strategy for acne that also includes either oral or topical medications, the AAD says.
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