Acne is one of those eternal skincare frustrations. Yes, most of us tend to have the most issues with it when we’re in our teens, but it is also highly common for acne to manifest alongside hormonal fluctuations as well. This means many women and others with a cycle have to deal with acne on a fairly regular basis. The same is true for anyone with acne prone skin. There are a few standard responses to acne that we all learn. Properly cleaning our skin helps as well as ensuring that we’re utilizing products that help control oil production as well as killing bacteria on our skin. These all generally help reduce all but the most severe acne cases. There are other options though. Laser treatments are an increasingly popular way to give your skin more chances at fighting back against acne. These outpatient procedures as quick and have a high success rate. It makes them ideal for anyone fighting a particularly stubborn case of acne or anyone who wants a highly effective treatment for a lesser form of acne.
Blue Light Therapy
The laser isn’t necessarily the key to this treatment, but it is an integral part. Blue light therapy is a collective term for a treatment utilizing a particular combination of devices and compounds to achieve the desired effect. The technician or other professional responsible for the treatment applies one of several compounds to the face that reacts when struck by the appropriate wavelength of light. Once the appropriate areas are covered with the compound, the device emitting the laser will be turned on and targeted. The treatment begins when the compound reacts to the light. The resulting chemical reaction creates a compound that kills bacteria on the skin and within pores. As a result, blue light therapy can be highly effective when utilized properly. Multiple treatments are necessary to get the full effect, but at the end of the treatment, there should be relatively little unwelcome bacteria left on the skin. Most people will get good results within four to five treatments and experience less inflammation over the course of the treatment.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
This form of laser treatment for acne isn’t necessarily as effective as standard blue light therapy because it typically lacks the use of a photoreactive compound. IPL therapy focuses directly on the use of a strong, pulsed laser that is focused directly on the inflamed areas. The laser is pulsed to avoid causing any damage to the healthy skin from the heat of the beam. However, darker areas of the skin, such as those inflamed by acne, capture more of the heat and as a result, the unwelcome boost in temperature can help kill bacteria to a certain degree. It also leads to pores constricting to a degree. This reduces the amount of oil secreted by the skin and in turn, makes the skin less hospitable to the bacteria typically responsible for acne. Some specialists are beginning to use IPL therapy in conjunction with the compounds from blue light therapy create even more effective treatments that combine both sets of benefits. On its own though, even a series of treatments with just the lasers of IPL therapy isn’t as effective as its counterpart.
What It All Means
Antibiotics tend to have been the go-to treatment for resilient forms of acne. They targeted the problem directly by removing the unwelcome bacteria. These days there are more dermatologists and other specialists utilizing some form of laser therapy or another. Treatments utilizing lasers require up to four treatment typically, but the results tend to be slightly quicker than with antibiotics. There is also no need to constantly wonder if you’ve remembered to apply a medication that day. Laser therapies for acne are still in their comparative infancy though. We know lasers are highly effective skincare tools, yes, but working out how to make them as effective as possible for each form of treatment is an ongoing process. Blue light therapy and IPL therapy utilizing photoreactive compounds are both considered “photodynamic” therapies and are likely the direction future treatment for resistant strains of acne will take. How this process will be refined over the coming years remains to be seen though.
Laser treatments for acne exist and can be highly effective when used properly. Not all of the treatments available are equally effective though. Photodynamic therapies utilizing photoreactive compounds are the most effective available that the moment with those utilizing only laser light coming up behind them. These treatments are useful alternative to antibiotic treatments for resistant acne and may, in fact, replace them in the future. You can expect to see more of these treatments in the future as the techniques behind them are further refined.