Acne can cause inflammation and swelling which is due in part to bacteria that builds up within the clogged sebaceous glands. A current acne treatment option includes laser treatment that kills this bacteria by exposing the skin to different types of light. The acne bacteria can also be killed with pulsed light and heat energy. These treatments help to shrink the sebaceous glands, which decreases oil production. The laser light is absorbed by water underneath the skin, shrinking oil glands and eliminating acne.
Patients who have acne that has not responded to other treatments such as topical ointments or prescription medications may be candidates for laser and light acne treatment. In some cases, laser treatment is more effective when combined with other acne treatment such as medicine applied to the skin.
Laser and light treatments for acne do not have the dangerous possible side effects that are associated with some of the strong prescription acne medications. In addition, these treatments do not irritate or dry the skin the way some topical acne medications may.
Different laser or light treatments may be used to treat acne. Depending on the patient and the severity of the acne, different methods may be used. Most forms of therapy require several different treatment sessions before results are visible.
Blue light therapy is a treatment used for mild to moderate acne. It is uses visible light to treat pimples but is not effective for blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, or nodules.
Infrared light therapy is used to treat mild to moderate, inflammatory acne, that may be be present on the back. It is only used to treats pimples but not any other forms of acne.
Photopneumatic therapy uses intense pulsed light or IPL, along with a vacuum device to remove excess oil, bacteria and dead skin cells from clogged pores. It is used to treat blackheads and whiteheads and other mild forms of acne.
After receiving laser or light acne treatment some patients may experience redness or swelling. This may last from a few hours or up to a few days. Discomfort may be relived by applying cold compresses to the skin.
Most patients who receive laser or light treatment experience some clearing of the acne on their skin, but results may vary depending on the method that is used and the severity of the acne.