Acne treatment Acne treatment

Photofacials for Acne

Photofacials for Acne Photofacials for Acne Photofacials for Acne

Laser light can be used to treat acne. Any light-based therapy is considered a photofacial. The three main photofacial types for treating acne are intense pulsed laser, or IPL, color light therapy and diode therapy. The laser light penetrates the surface of the skin, targeting the deeper layers without impacting the surface skin. The light targets the bacteria that cause acne and smooths the skin surface. Laser stimulates collagen production, plumping up the skin and promoting cell production, which helps reduce scar tissue.


Intense pulsed light photofacials combine light and heat to destroy propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes. It also shrinks the sebaceous glands to stop overproduction of oils that cause acne. Laser light is pulsed on the skin in rapid pulses over the entire surface of the face. The eyes are shielded with special goggles for protection. This treatment can be painful. The heat from the laser works beneath the skin. Numbing creams can be applied before the treatment to reduce the intensity of the pain. The number of IPL photofacials needed will vary depending on the severity of the acne.

Diode Laser

The diode laser has a successful track record for treating acne on the back and mild to moderate inflammatory acne on the face, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In a study by the Department of Dermatology at Charite University Medicine Berlin in Berlin, Germany, researchers concluded that the diode laser improved refractory acne. The diode laser is also sometimes painful. A topical pain medication is applied to the skin before treatment. The laser destroys the sebaceous glands in the middle layer of the skin but leaves the surface layer untouched, according to the Mayo Clinic. The side effects are redness and temporary swelling.

Color Light Therapy

Color light therapy comprises blue, red and green laser light. Low-intensity blue light therapy is the most common treatment of the three. It destroys P. acnes, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and is considered the most successful light therapy for treating acne. Blue light therapy does not contain ultraviolet light and does not damage the skin. Blue light therapy is done over several sessions---usually eight sessions are needed. The treatment is two 15-minute sessions per week. An improvement of about 55 percent is the average rate of success.

Other color therapy uses blue and red light to treat acne and may be more effective, according to the Mayo Clinic. The New Zealand Dermatological Society states that green light therapy is an effective acne treatment, as it kills P. acnes; reduces sebum excretion rate, or SER, by 28.1 percent; and reduces acne lesions by 35.9 percent.

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