Laser acne treatment has become one of the therapeutic options for those with recalcitrant acne which do not respond appreciably well to traditional treatment options over some time under adequate medical supervision.Dermatologists have also included the use of laser to cover other skin conditions like post traumatic or hypertrophic scars,wrinkles,hyperkeratotic skin,fibrotic skin lesions and birthmark removal.Laser acne treatment has been used for chronic acne breakouts,chronic antibacterial-resistant acne,acne scars,inflammatory/cystic acne,severe acne vulgaris and skin lesions which healed by secondary intention characterized by copious fibroblasts deposits.

Controlling Acne:

There are various acne treatment options like creams/topical ointments,washes and oral medications which can be intolerable to many with unpleasant effects like dryness and skin allergies,resistance to antibiotics and gastrointestinal irritation.Laser treatment for acne and acne scars becomes a viable alternative for this class of people with limited choices.

The armamentarium of options for acne scarring now includes Laser acne treatment which as a relatively safe and effective treatment option improves skin appearance by remodeling the collagen layers.This is an improvement over previous modalities used to treat acne scars like chemical peels,cryosurgery,dermal fillers,excision,punch grafting and subcision.

Types of Laser and Light Therapy:

These therapies improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of acne scars in people with both active acne and acne scars by reaching deep into the dermis without harming the layers.This targeted approach is effective because some laser therapies are thought to damage the sebaceous glands causing less oil skin while other laser and light therapies target the causative bacterium responsible for acne inflammation;Propionibacterium acnes.

  • Pulsed-Dye Laser Acne Treatment:

A randomized double-blinded controlled trial tested the pulsed-dye laser which revealed its relative safety in acne reduction after a single treatment without significant side effects excepts redness and minimal swelling.Certain skin substances called chromophores and water absorb brief pulses of high-energy light sent out by laser which is changed into heat energy eventually destroying thin sections of skin layer by layer through vaporisation.Pulses of green light and heat have proved to effective in the treatment of mild to moderate acne even more cost effective when combined with a topical medication called 5-aminolevulinic acid or ALA which increases skin`s sensitivity to light thereby potentiating the treatment.

Diode Laser Therapy:
Destruction of the sebaceous glands in the dermis and the thick middle layer of the skin can be effectively carried out by diode laser without harming the superficial layer of the skin.This type of acne treatment for laser can be painful but stops oil production and has long lasting results.Possible Side effects include skin irritation,redness,soreness and swelling.
Blue Light Acne Treatment:
Low intensity blue light possess different colours and wavelengths which potentially destroys certain products produced by P.acnes eventually rendering the bacteria impotent thereby improving the acne condition.Effective acne treatment is further enhanced by combination with topical acne medication.The procedure is painless but may require repeated sessions because Propionibacterium acnes multiplies rapidly.Furthermore,the therapy is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Photodynamic Therapy (blue light plus):
In this technique,the skin is first treated with microdermabrasion then a cream which facilitates enhanced acne laser treatment because the acne areas absorb most of the cream like a photosensitizer.

Possible Indications of Laser Acne Treatment:

  • reduction of unwanted hair coexisting with acneiform lesions
  • induction of oxygenation on the bacteria which kills them
  • amelioration of active acne and acne scars
  • hyperpigmented skin with wrinkles

The long-term benefits of laser acne treatment are still being clinically studied to clearly elucidate who will be the most like beneficiaries and for how long.This is a decision you must take with your dermatologist.For more information :
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Dr Andrew Okpetu

A resource guide to enable informed health decisions on skin beauty in collaboration with your Doctor. Acne Treatment is further detailed in the next article.