Acne and Laser Treatments

The most common reason people seek out a dermatologist is for acne. Acne typically starts in the teenage years, but can affect individuals of all ages; about 20% of all women will continue to have acne into their 30s and 40s. The common lesions in acne are whitehead, blackheads, pimples and cysts. These spots can leave behind red or brown discoloration, and can occasionally leave permanent scar and other texture changes in the skin.

There are many treatments available for acne. Usually people will start with over-the-counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and adapalene. While these may be enough for mild cases, many people with acne will require prescription strength medicated creams. Unfortunately, most topical medications can leave a patient with dry and irritated skin. Other options for acne include oral antibiotics, hormonal therapy and isotretinoin (former brand name of Accutane). While a regimen of these medications can help people with acne, there are some patients in which these do not work or they do not want the risk of potential side effects from these drugs.

Some non-pharmacologic treatments for acne include chemical peels, photodynamic therapy and laser treatments. Chemical peels that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid and resorcinol can be beneficial for acne patients as they decrease the excess oil that contributes to acne. Photodynamic therapy involves the application of a photosensitizing chemical to the face and then activating the chemical with a light source—this also results in a decrease of oil and a decrease in skin bacteria involved with acne.

At PLDI, our favorite treatment for acne involves a combination of two lasers that produce infrared light to treat acne. This technique was developed by the doctors and scientists at PLDI and was recently accepted for publication in the academic journal Dermatologic Surgery. The lasers used decrease the inflammation that causes acne, unclog pores, evens skin texture, and additionally can help lighten the brown and red discoloration caused by acne. Almost all our patients stop their various acne pills and creams while undergoing this series of treatments. The laser treatments are nearly painless and the patient can go back to work the same day with no downtime. We recommend a series of 4-8 laser treatments spaced 3-5 weeks apart. We are very excited to be pioneering this new technique to treat acne and our patients have been even happier with their results. Click here to learn more about laser treatment for acne or contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists.

See below for a before-and-after photo from our recently published academic study!