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Zap Zits with Light Therapy

Many acne sufferers think that natural or artificial UV light will help dry up their blemishes and prevent new ones from forming. However, there isn’t any medical evidence that sunlight will clear up acne lesions. What UV light will do for your skin is prematurely age it and increase your risk of skin cancer. Plus, many topical acne treatments make skin more photosensitive (more likely to burn).

Need more reasons to shun the sun? When active acne is exposed to UV light there is an even higher chance of scarring and discoloration.

There are other cutting-edge light and laser therapies* that can help acne. Here are five that look promising:

Smoothbeam Laser:

This non-ablative laser destroys acne without injuring the skin’s barrier. This treatment emits a light that penetrates the epidermis and targets overactive sebaceous glands. The resulting thermal reaction restructures the sebaceous gland to clear existing acne and prevent future breakouts and scarring. It’s often used in with topical and oral antibiotics.

Blue-Light Therapy:

The blue light targets acne-causing bacteria and is most effective on inflammatory and pustular acne. It’s non-invasive and isn’t likely to cause adverse side effects.

Photodynamic Therapy:

This treatment enhances blue-light therapy with the disinfectant, Levulan (Aminolevlinic acid). Photodynamic therapy can significantly improve moderate to severe acne—even cystic acne. Some dermatologists consider it a viable alternative to Accutane.

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy:
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) uses a filtering system to attack the underlying causes of acne. IPL is said to alter the skin’s cellular metabolism to prevent future breakouts.

Pulsed Dye Lasers
The V-beam laser other Pulsed Dye Lasers target blood vessels to minimize the redness associated with acne or Rosacea.

*Laser and light therapy should be performed by dermatologist or under by a doctor or nurse in a medical spa.

Photo via NYT  Light or Heat Treatments
Illustrations  via Skin Primecare & Laser Center

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7 comments for “Zap Zits with Light Therapy”

  1. I had laser treatment (at a hospital, so by a nurse who knew what she was doing!). Admittedly, mine was for facial hair not skin problems, but still the more or less the same concept.

    From the pain perspective - it does hurt a fair bit. It’s hard to describe, but I guess when hot oil spits onto your skin from a frying pan, is the closest I can get. They let me use this stuff called emla, which basically numbed the skin beforehand therefore making it less painful.

    The treatment leaves you a little red and quite sore/tender for a few days afterwards (aloe vera gel is SO handy here!) but after around 5-7 days the area feels more or less normal again (at least for me, it probably varies from person to person).

    In terms of working, for my facial hair it worked well. It didn’t get rid of it completely, but it’s definitely lighter than it was before and there are patches where nothing grows at all. I have no idea what it’s like for spots though.

    Sorry that was a much longer comment than I intended, but hope that helps someone who is considering laser. It’s great to finally understand the science behind it!

    Posted by Leah | October 14, 2008, 1:43 pm
  2. I have to tell you about a WONDERFUL product that has virtually erased my acne scars— Palmer’s Scar Serum. Unfortunately it smells bad, as there is shark liver oil in it, but I figure I can deal with a fishy smell (that does fade) for a little while if it will work. I’ve been using it in conjunction with extra virgin olive oil and the scars are barely visible.

    Posted by szaza | October 14, 2008, 9:41 pm
  3. For scars, I’ve been going for chemical peels with a dermatologist every few months.

    Seems to work really well for me.

    Posted by Vuvie | October 14, 2008, 10:06 pm
  4. leah… thanks so much for sharing your experience! wow, it sounds painful, i don’t know if i could live through that, but if the results work, then…

    szaza…wow, i’ve never heard of using shark liver oil… but yeah, i have residual scars i’m not sure what to do about them, or if i should yet..

    vuvie…oh i know someone who got chemical peels, at first it was wierd, but eventually, she looked great!

    Posted by jennine | October 15, 2008, 1:04 am
  5. thanks for you comments everyone! i have some scarring (pigmentation) too and I’ve been trying to get rid of them. Vuvie: what kind of peels do you get?

    Posted by Kezia | October 16, 2008, 10:57 am
  6. Information given here on this webpage is very meaningful. It is explaining very beneficial laser therapies and other acne treatment procedures. Various such advanced laser treatments centers for acne diseases are already established in states.


    Posted by acne laser treatment | November 10, 2008, 1:52 am
  7. great information thanks :D

    Posted by Kampanye Damai Pemilu Indonesia 2009 | March 9, 2009, 4:13 am

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