Information on Lasers for Acne
Acne occurs when the skin's pores become clogged with oil, dirt, bacteria or other matter that plugs the pore---and creates a reddened blemish. Many acne treatments exist, but topical and even oral medications may take time to be effective. For this reason, laser therapy has emerged as an option for quickly treating acne blemishes.
While lasers use a variety of wavelengths in order to penetrate the skin, lasers are able to penetrate the skin and then kill the P. acnes bacteria that contribute to inflammatory acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other lasers may affect the sebaceous glands, reducing the amount of pore-clogging oil they produce.
Lasers used to treat acne include blue light therapy, which destroys acne-causing bacteria and may require several sessions in order to prove most effective, according to the Mayo Clinic. A combination of pulsed light and heat energy is used to kill the bacteria and reduce the size of the oil glands. Diode laser therapy penetrates to the middle layer of skin, helping to destroy sebaceous oil glands that can overproduce oil and cause acne.
The type of laser therapy used on your acne may depend upon a number of considerations. These include how dark your skin is---some lasers have been shown to disturb pigmentation in those with darker skin, according to The Acne Resource Guide. Because bacteria does not cause non-inflammatory acne lesions, lasers that kill only the bacteria without shrinking the sebaceous glands may not be effective for those with blackheads and whiteheads.
Often, a skin-numbing cream is applied to numb the skin and reduce pain with laser application, according to Fox News. However, laser treatments are associated with some side effects, including swelling, peeling and moderate levels of pain following treatment. In some cases, patients have experienced darkening of the skin or inflammation of acne blemishes known as folliculitis, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Results for laser acne treatments vary based on the type of laser used, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. For example, acne patients whose skin was treated with a diode laser experienced an 83 percent reduction in acne lesions after three treatments. Participants treated with blue light therapy experienced a 39 percent reduction in acne lesions over a period of four weeks while acne sufferers treated with the anti-acne medication clindamycin experienced only a 22.25 percent reduction in acne lesions.
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