CoolTouch Laser for Acne
CoolTouch lasers, manufactured by Roseville, Calif.-based CoolTouch Inc. and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003 to treat acne, target the sebaceous glands where acne lesions occur, without affecting the skin's surface. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that laser treatment is an effective alternative to other acne remedies.
Acne generally is caused by a combination of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) and inflammation of the hair follicle and its associated sebaceous gland, which produces oil. Many common acne therapies, such as the prescription medicine Accutane or over-the-counter topical products, target bacterial symptoms only. CoolTouch laser therapy works because the laser energy penetrates deep enough in the skin to shrink oil glands and decrease their capacity to produce acne without affecting the oils necessary for healthy skin.
In a treatment session, the physician applies CoolTouch laser energy in pulses over the treatment area. At the same time, a cryogen spray prevents the top layer of skin from overheating. According to Yale University School of Medicine dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Dover, CoolTouch lasers can be used on patients with any skin color, and the cryogen spray protects the epidermis and minimizes the risk of hyperpigmentation, which sometimes results from laser treatment.
Side effects of CoolTouch laser treatment generally are mild, Dr. Dover says. Patients normally feel a slight tingling sensation during treatment with the CoolTouch laser and may experience mild redness in the treated area for a short period of time following the procedure. Dr. Dover recommends the treatment for three patient groups: young people who fail to respond to traditional acne treatments, patients who simply don't want to take pills and those who demand active therapy with a device.
At least two clinical studies have shown CoolTouch laser therapy to be an effective treatment for acne lesions. In the first, published in 2002 in "Lasers in Surgery and Medicine," investigators treated acne on patients' backs and found a statistically significant reduction in lesion count on the treated side, with few side effects. In the second study, conducted by Dr. Dover and reported by CoolTouch Inc., 60 male and female patients of all skin types underwent a series of six CoolTouch treatments at monthly intervals. Patients found treatment to be "virtually pain-free," and all but two expressed high satisfaction with their results, according to the company.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a patient needs a series of three to five laser treatments at monthly intervals to achieve the desired results. A noticeable reduction in acne lesions often occurs within two to three CoolTouch laser treatment sessions, and a series of treatments should result in acne clearance for more than six months. Some patients report that their acne returns after six or more months, and they would require additional CoolTouch laser treatments. Cost can vary significantly depending on the treatment area and how many sessions are required.
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