Acne treatment has taken many forms over the years. Today, intense beams of light can reduce acne blemishes, papules, pustules, nodules, cysts, and scars. Safe and effective, laser treatment for acne has become more commonplace. Its suitability for various types of breakouts and pigmentation issues has contributed to this popularity.
How Do Lasers Treat Acne?
A concentrated beam of monochromatic light, a laser can take a few forms. The most common is an Intense Pulsed Light laser. An intense beam penetrates the skin to even out skin pigmentation and break down the bacteria responsible for breakouts and skin inflammation. A substance called porphyrin is found in these bacteria; when activated by laser light, porphyrin then destroys the bacteria it resides in.
Chronic acne can damage the skin, causing scarring. Intense Pulsed Light and fractional laser resurfacing can be used in combination to treat breakouts and stimulate skin repair and collagen production. Carbon dioxide and other types of lasers are sometimes used, while visible light therapy can include red, blue, or blue/red light lasers.
However visible light won’t treat acne cysts or nodules. Nor is it effective for eliminating blackheads and whiteheads. Infrared light is often used to treat pimples. Photodynamic therapy, suited for a wide range of acne treatments, involves applying a solution to the skin that makes it more sensitive to the laser/light subsequently used.
While some U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved LED devices are available for home use, they are far less powerful and effective than lasers used by a dermatologist.
What Can I Expect?
The lasers used in dermatology are quite simple, but do require a medical consultation. Your skin care professional will discuss the advantages and risks. Also, check with your primary care physician regarding any medications that might cause complications. Avoid sun exposure, chemical peels, or retinol products in the weeks leading up to laser acne treatment.
Treatment should not cause much pain or discomfort. You might feel the warmth of the laser. The most common after-effects include skin peeling and inflammation. Topical treatments may be prescribed; it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice on these.
It’s also important to know that:
- Laser and light treatments are effective, but rarely 100%.
- You must stay out of the sun for 48 hours after treatment.
- Skin clarity and texture improvements vary from person to person.
- Multiple treatments are often required for optimal results.
- It can take weeks to months to see full results.
- Redness, swelling, pain, and other side effects may occur.
- Rare side effects include pain, blisters, and burns.
- Follow up treatments may be required down the road.
Laser Treatment for Acne Looks Promising
Improvements in technology and treatments, and observed results, mean the future of lasers for acne care is promising. Even people with severe acne have had clearer skin for years after laser therapy.
The Laser Dermatology Institute of California specializes in laser treatment for a variety of skin problems, ranging from acne to freckles, moles, sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles. Skin rejuvenation services are available at LDI of Angeles, LDI of Covina, and LDI of Newport Beach. Our team is led by Dr. Jacob Rispler, a member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, who has developed some of the best ways to get rid of acne scars, dark pigmentation, and brown and red spots.
Schedule a consultation with our dermatologist in Covina today to learn how our personalized skin care treatment can work for you.