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Acne And Rosacea Getting You Down? Laser, Light And Cosmetic Treatments Give Patients A Much-Needed Boost
Date:2/3/2008

these concerns in mind, dermatologists have found laser and light therapies to be viable alternatives in improving acne, and acne scars, with limited side effects. Lasers and light sources are thought to work by targeting the bacterium responsible for causing acne, Propionibacterium acnes, which contains a light-absorbing molecule known as porphyrin. This bacterium can absorb various lasers and light, which cause the bacterium to burst and become destroyed -- leading to an improvement in the condition.

In addition, studies also show that lasers and light work by destroying and shrinking the oil glands where the acne bacteria live. By altering the structure of the skin where bacteria live, less oil is produced, leading to an improvement in acne symptoms.

Some of the lasers and light therapies that have been used safely and effectively for the treatment of acne include pulsed dye lasers, diode lasers, intense pulsed light, blue light and red light. In addition, recent studies have shown that photodynamic therapy (PDT) using a photosensitizer (a chemical applied to the skin which makes the skin more reactive to light), such as 5-aminolevulinic acid or indocyanine green, along with lasers and light sources can enhance patient results.

"It has been shown that applying the photosensitizer aminolevulinic acid topically during a PDT treatment can enhance laser absorption by the skin and destroy the surrounding oil follicles, which inhibits oil production and acne-causing bacteria," said Dr. Kim. "While no comparative studies have been conducted on these different laser and light therapies, dermatologists often select a therapy based on their personal preference and experience, as well as the severity of the acne being treated."

Acne Scars

Prior to the recent introduction of lasers and light sources, invasive treatments such as dermabrasion and CO2 laser resurfacing were the standard treatment for acne scars. While these therapies provided
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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