Laser Skin Treatment for Acne Care
Acne can be more than just a nuisance. In some people, mostly those in their teens and early 20s, it can be severe enough to cause pain, inflammation and even scarring. Fortunately, laser treatments prescribed by your dermatologist can help.
Acne, or acne vulgaris, is caused by four factors: inflammation deep in the skin; the bacteria acnes Propionibacterium, also called P. acnes; too much oil produced by the skin; and pores that become clogged. In its milder form, it causes redness, blackheads and the occasional pimple. But in a severe case of acne, the inflammation reaches deeper, and the lesions that erupt are bigger. Severe acne also can cause scarring.
Laser therapy is designed to reach the deeper pockets of inflammation in the skin without harming the surface of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. In some cases, laser therapy shrinks the sebaceous glands that produce the skin's oil, leading to less oil production. In other cases, the laser targets P. acnes and lessens the infection from the bacteria, calming the skin's inflammation, the Mayo Clinic says.
Modern laser skin treatment for acne generally causes few side effects--mainly temporary swelling and redness. Many types of lasers are painless, and although the more powerful types may cause some pain during treatment, this pain generally can be controlled using analgesics, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Medical studies have shown that laser skin treatment for acne care is effective and long-lasting. For example, a study published in 2009 in the Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy compared treatment with one type of laser therapy with two other standard treatments, and found the laser therapy was most effective in eliminating lesions and in keeping them at bay, with few side effects.
It's still not clear if there are any long-term risks or effects from laser skin treatment for acne care, and medical studies haven't yet narrowed in on the group of patients that might benefit most from the laser skin treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic. And, many insurance companies decline to pay for laser skin treatment for acne care, so the out-of-pocket expense might be considerable. The American Academy of Dermatologists urges potential patients to discuss the pros and cons of the various acne care options, including laser skin treatment, with their physician.
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