iClear & Acne
If you have acne, you might wish for an alternative to twice-daily applications of messy, occasionally smelly medications to eradicate your pimples. Although the American Academy of Dermatology says nothing works as well as medication to clear acne, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved blue LED light therapy to treat the skin condition. iClear, a blue light system, represents one option for acne treatment.
Acne appears when your skin gets too oily, something that's extremely common in teens but also can occur in adulthood, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The extra oil produced by the sebaceous glands under the skin can produce whiteheads and blackheads when it clogs your pores, and excess oil also encourages bacteria to grow too fast. Bacterial infection in acne causes the worst pimples and lesions.
iClear fights the bacterial infection in acne, according to the device's manufacturer, CureLight. The light produced by the iClear system penetrates below the skin's surface to selectively target the bacteria that cause inflammation and infection in acne. iClear does not use ultraviolet light, which had been the mainstay of older light therapy devices in acne. Instead, it uses specific wavebands of light in the blue and violet ranges.
In a typical iClear treatment session, you'll sit or lie down while the device applies the blue light to your skin, according to CureLight. Treatments, which are painless, take about 30 minutes. Side effects generally are mild, and can include temporary skin color changes such as reddening, along with dryness. Most patients need eight sessions over about a month's time to get the best results.
Blue light therapies such as iClear therapy for acne can clear up mild to moderate acne, at least temporarily, medical researchers report. In a study published in the "Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology" in 2008, Dr. S. Ammad and colleagues treated 21 acne patients with blue light twice a week for four weeks. They found that all patients had significant improvement in their acne at the end of the treatment sessions. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that patients should expect their acne lesions to drop by about 55 percent, but many patients see their pimples return eight weeks after their blue light treatments end.
iClear and other blue light therapies appear to work best for patients with only mild to moderate acne, and may not be suitable for patients with nodulocystic acne, a severe form of the skin disease that often resists treatments, according to the AAD. Medical research also hasn't determined what long-term effects, if any, blue light treatment for acne might cause, the AAD says. In addition, the AAD believes that topical and oral acne medications can treat acne best, although light therapies may work well in patients that cannot use medications.
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