Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

StarLux for Acne

StarLux for Acne

Overview

People who have acne often feel they must resign themselves to applying messy creams or taking potent oral medications in order to rid themselves of their pimples. But since 2003, some dermatologists have offered an alternative to medications for acne treatment: light therapy with devices such as the StarLux system. StarLux light therapy can help clear acne regardless of whether the patient uses acne medications.

Causes

Acne results primarily from changes in your hormones that trigger your skin to produce too much oil for lubrication, according to the. Once you've got too much oil, clogged pores can develop and bacteria can grow unhindered behind those clogs. Pimples almost always appear on the face, shoulders, back and chest, where the skin's oil glands are tightly clustered.

StarLux Function

StarLux treats only one of acne's causes: acne-causing bacteria, according to the device's manufacturer, Palomar Medical Technologies Inc. StarLux laser and light machines generate beams of intense pulsed light, or IPL, to treat acne. The light pulses penetrate the skin's surface to reach the bacteria and overheat them, killing them in the process.

Treatment/Side Effects

Patients who choose StarLux to treat their acne likely will need two to four treatments, spaced one to two weeks apart, for the best results, according to Dr. Patrick Carter, who offers the procedures at Glow Aesthetic Medicine in Colorado Springs, Colo. During the procedure, the technician first will apply a cooling gel to the skin. Next, the technician will apply the StarLux device to one small section of skin at a time. Patients might feel a little zap sensation as the light energy penetrates their skin. Sessions last about 20 minutes, and the only common side effect is some short-term reddening of the skin. More rarely, skin might become darker or lighter after treatment, but this dissipates within a few days.

Research

Medical research shows that intense pulsed light devices such as StarLux provide short-term relief from acne, but not necessarily long-term relief. In a study led by Dr. Y.S. Choi and published in the July 2010 "Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology," researchers compared treatment with intense pulsed light to treatment with pulsed dye lasers for acne in 20 patients. The intense pulsed light treatment worked better than the pulsed dye laser treatment initially to clear pimples, but eight weeks after the fourth treatment, patients had acne again on the side of their faced treated with intense pulsed light.

Considerations

The American Academy of Dermatology notes that oral and topical medications still should be the first choice for physicians and patients treating acne. In addition, medical research hasn't proven long-term effectiveness of StarLux treatments and other laser and light treatments for acne. However, StarLux intense pulsed light acne treatment does offer an alternative for patients who can't tolerate medications.

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