Treating Acne with Laser Therapy
If you have acne, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects about 50 million Americans each year, making it the most common skin ailment around.
But just because a large segment of the population has to deal with acne, too, doesn’t make it any less of a concern for you. In many cases, acne can make someone feel worse about their appearance, affecting their social lives, career, and overall mental health. More severe cases of acne can even be physically painful and lead to infection and scarring.
Whether you suffer from the occasional pimple or more serious chronic acne, you want the best acne treatment available to clear up your skin and boost your confidence. The twenty-first century has seen a number of breakthroughs in skin treatments and technology, including laser therapies. But what is laser treatment for acne? How does it work, if it works at all? And is it right for you?
What is Laser Therapy for Acne?
Leon Goldman is considered the founder of dermatological laser therapy. In 1963, Goldman explored the potential of laser treatments for tattoo removal and skin lesion photo-excision. In the following years and decades, Goldman, along with a number of other researchers, scientists, and dermatologists went on to discover even more possibilities for light and lasers on skin imperfections and pigmentations. Eventually, it was found that certain wavelengths of light, when properly and safely directed by a laser, could be used for a number of skin treatments, including acne treatment.
How Does Laser Therapy Work?
Laser, now a household word, was originally a definitive acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” A laser emits, amplifies, and directs light coherently, which simply means the light comes out like a small focused beam of a single color (or narrow wavelength spectrum) as opposed to a dispersed aura like you see when turning on a lamp. If you’ve ever had a teacher use a laser pointer in class, this explanation conveys how the device can emit such a small, well-defined dot from a long distance.
Light is energy, and different wavelengths of light carry different amounts of energy. The focused beam of light emitted by a laser, then, gives off a specific amount of energy depending on the given wavelength. It turns out that different levels of energy via lasers can be used on skin in a number of ways. For instance, a 2940 nm infrared laser can help treat and clear up skin spots, discoloration, acne scars and more. Simply put, some lasers with blue or red light can target and destroy specific molecules and bacteria which may be causing acne, as well as reduce the appearance of scars left over from acne.
Is Laser Therapy Effective for Treating Acne?
Laser therapy, light therapy, or phototherapy can work toward clearing up acne, but their effectiveness is still mostly limited to mild or moderate cases. In cases of severe acne, some dermatologists might recommend laser therapy in combination with other treatments, such as oral medications, hormonal treatments, retinoids, exfoliants, or antibiotics.
While the future looks bright for phototherapy’s applications for acne removal, today, laser therapy is still the most effective for treating acne scars. Much like acne itself, leftover scars can also lower one’s confidence and lead to mental health problems. In this way, then, laser therapy for acne is an important medical and cosmetic breakthrough.
Consult a Dermatology Expert
No matter how common acne may be across the population, your skin and your case of acne are unique. Your acne treatment regimen should reflect your individual needs and concerns. Laser therapy might be right for you in the end, but you won’t know until you consult a medical professional. Your dermatologist can fill you in on various acne treatment options, as well as their side effects and cost.
At Premier Dermatology Partners, we know how much you care about your skin’s health and appearance. Once we get to know you and your concerns, our team of dermatology experts will put together an individualized skin care plan to help you live a healthier, happier, more confident life. To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us.