N-Lite Laser Acne Treatment
Nearly everyone gets acne at some point--the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) estimates 85 percent of Americans will suffer from the skin disorder during their lifetime. But while most cases of pimples are mild and clear with good skin care and treatment from over-the-counter skin products, some people suffer from severe and disfiguring inflammatory acne. For these patients, the N-Lite laser offers an effective treatment option.
Several interrelated factors cause acne. Hormone level fluctuations common in adolescence and early adulthood can overstimulate the body's sebaceous glands, which produce the sebum oil that lubricates the skin. The bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) flourishes in that oily atmosphere, and the body's natural defenses aren't able to keep it in check. This leads to pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and inflammation below the skin's surface. The N-Lite laser system targets the P. acnes bacteria.
The N-Lite is a laser that produces a yellow beam of light. This particular wavelength of light interacts with porphyrins, which are organic molecules found in the skin. When the N-Lite laser energy hits the porphyrins, the molecules release oxygen, which kills the P. acnes bacteria. The N-Lite energy also stimulates the body's repair mechanisms, which helps to diminish any scarring from acne.
Treatment with the N-Lite laser system is relatively painless, although patients may feel a stinging or warm sensation as the laser wand passes over their skin. Each treatment takes 30 minutes or less. For mild or moderate acne, one treatment may be all that's needed to keep acne at bay for up to three months, while severe acne may require multiple treatments. Some patients report experiencing temporary skin reddening or bruising after N-Lite laser treatments.
As of 2010, few studies exist to show whether the N-Lite laser system and other similar laser systems truly work long-term against acne, according to the AAD. In one study, performed in Egypt and reported in 2004 in the Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy, researchers concluded that this type of laser therapy works to fight inflammatory acne with few side effects. However, a report published in 2004 in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that more research was needed to determine if these laser systems truly work.
N-Lite laser therapy can be expensive, although costs vary depending on the number of treatments and skin area involved. And according to the AAD, insurance may not cover laser therapy for acne because it's still considered experimental. In any event, the AAD notes, most patients will need a combination of treatments, possibly including N-Lite laser therapy, to clear their acne permanently.
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