Are you tired of applying messy lotions and remembering to take medications as prescribed for your acne? If so, you may be wondering if a laser or light therapy is right for you. To shed some light on laser acne removal therapies, this article explains what research studies show and why lasers and light therapies still are not routinely prescribed to treat acne.
Data from clinical trials is limited. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies laser and light therapies as procedure-oriented, so the stringent, long-term studies necessary for approval of drugs are not required. As such, more comparative studies are needed to determine long-term effects and to perfect these technologies. However, data from recent studies indicates that laser and light therapies show much promise in treating acne. Here's what is known about blue-light therapy. The FDA approved narrow-band, high-intensity blue-light therapy for treating acne. Now widely advertised, this is probably the best-known light therapy for acne treatment.
Blue light works by killing the acne-causing bacteria, P. acnes, and is being used to treat inflammatory acne vulgaris that has not responded to other acne therapies. The blue-light products of today do not contain ultraviolet (UV) light, which was a staple of former light therapy used to treat acne. UV light can damage skin and is no longer used to treat acne.
In all studies blue-light therapy appears to improve acne vulgaris in some individuals. This therapy appears most effective for inflammatory acne lesions and may not be suitable for you if you have nodulocystic acne.
Pulsed light and heat energy (LHE) therapy. This treatment combines pulses of light and heat, which researchers believe target two causes of acne. It is known that LHE destroys P. acnes, the acne-causing bacteria. LHE also may decrease sebum (oily substance) production by shrinking the sebaceous glands. A system that combines pulses of green light and heat has been approved by the FDA for treating mild to moderate acne.
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