LASER ACNE Treating Acne with Laser Cosmetic Surgery
Acne, or pimples, affect everybody at one point in their lives. For some, the occurrence of acne is mild and does not last for a long period of time. For others, acne can be severe and long lasting. Furthermore, acne can lead to severe and permanent scarring.
What is Acne?
Acne usually begins to appear when a person enters puberty. Often, acne improves on its own after puberty. But, for many individuals, it continues to persist into middle age. Pimples are created when oil glands, called sebaceous glands become blocked. As a result, the oil becomes trapped and builds up in the gland, which results in inflammation. The resulting swelling and inflammation can become extremely intense and cause the oil gland, as well as its associated hair follicle, to rupture. This leads to additional inflammation of the area. The excessive hormones produced during puberty appear to be a trigger of this vicious acne cycle. Additional factors, such as diet and stress, can also trigger acne outbreaks. In addition, a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, which is normally found in the skin, appears to contribute to the problem, although the exact link is still unknown. For those with moderate to severe acne, it is important to consult a physician about treatment options in order to prevent permanent scarring.
Acne Treatment Options
Acne treatment options have vastly improved over the past twenty years. There are a number of over-the-counter medications available, including benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid preparations. Most prescriptions for acne include a combination of treatments. These treatments do, however, have side effects such as redness and irritation. Therefore, it is important to discuss different options with your doctor in order to find the one that is best for you.
Severe acne often does not respond well to topical treatments. Therefore, tetracycline antibiotics may have to be used to help gain control of the problem. Long-term antibiotic use, however, is not recommended because it can lead to bacterial resistance. For women, use of oral contraceptives, such as the pill, can help improve acne problems. For adult women, hormonal therapy can also bring relief.
Another option for severe acne is isotretinoin, which is marketed under the brand name of Accutane. This medication is highly effective, but can lead to severe birth defects if taken by pregnant women. It can also lead to peeling skin and dry lips. There is also some evidence that the medication leads to feelings of suicide.
With so many side effects associated with other treatments of acne, it is not surprising that more and more people are turning to laser cosmetic surgery and light therapy to assist with acne treatment.
Laser Treatment for Acne
Laser therapy for acne often involves the use of pulsed-dye laser. This type of laser has been proven to significantly reduce the amount of acne on a person’s skin, after just one treatment. There are also no serious side effects associated with pulsed-dye laser treatment. Plus, the cost of the laser treatment is very affordable. An infrared laser can also be used to treat acne. These lasers have been shown to decrease the number of acne lesions by 83% after completing three treatments. This type of laser, however, is associated with redness, temporary pain, and swelling following the treatment. In addition, patients with darker skin sometimes experience hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin). The pulsed-dye laser was tested in a randomized, double blinded controlled trial, and was shown to significantly reduce acne after a single treatment with no serious side effects. Those with problematic acne can find a solution with laser cosmetic surgery. With no side effects and proven effectiveness, it provides the perfect answer for imperfect skin. In addition, those who have already experienced scarring can have their skin smoothed out with laser treatment, bringing back the smooth, shining skin you have been yearning for.
Laser Acne Therapy
Laser therapy works by targeting the sebaceous glands, and shrinking them. Laser acne treatment works in two different ways. First, the laser heats up the tissue surrounding the sebaceous gland or hair follicle to a temperature that kills any bacteria being produced. Shrinking of the sebaceous glands results in reduction in the amount of oil being produced. These two approaches to treatment have been found to be highly effective for all skin tones.
What to Expect During Treatment
Your skin will be cleansed and a topical anesthetic may be applied. This needs to remain on the skin for about 30 minutes, then removed. Your eyes will be covered with safety eye wear to protect them from the laser light. Your doctor will also wear protective eye wear. The laser hand piece will be passed over the affected areas of the skin. Your treatment can take a few minutes or as long as an hour depending on the size of the affected area. You may feel a slight discomfort, but the cooling technology of the laser works to diminish this sensation. Depending on the severity of your condition, several treatments may be needed.
Photodynamic Treatment (PDT)
Photodynamic Treatment (PDT) is a laser therapy used in severe acne cases. This therapy uses a photosynthesizing medication called Levulan. Levulan binds to the damaged tissue and glands and is then activated by the laser light. Levulan selectively destroys acne bacteria and shrinks the oil glands. First your skin is cleansed, then Levulan is applied on the skin for 30 minutes. The residual is cleansed away, and laser light is passed over the skin. Levulan binds to the diseased tissue and allows the laser to target the affected glands more effectively and reduce the size of the pores.
Follow Up Treatments and Skin Care
During any laser treatment you may experience pain. Topical anesthetics can minimize your pain level and cooling technologies incorporated into the laser cool the skin during the treatment. After laser therapy there is typically no down time, however with Photodynamic Therapy there is some down time. There is considerable redness after a PDT treatment that can last for a period of two to four days, followed by a light peeling. Darker pigmented spots, or areas of hyper pigmentation may become darker but will peel away leaving normal skin. Avoid sun exposure after your laser acne therapy for at least forty eight hours and take the advice of your doctor or skin care professional about follow up treatments and skin care.
Co2 Acne Laser Treatment
This laser therapy involves a more invasive process. The Co2 laser is used for deep acne scars and lesions. When this laser is passed over the skin it removes layers of skin and the upper most portion of acne scars, while the heat from the laser smooths the skin. When the skin heals from this therapy new collagen is formed and the new skin has a smoother, tighter appearance. Laser skin resurfacing for acne therapy done with the Co2 laser takes at least 18 months to completely heal. During the healing process avoid sun exposure and tanning, wear sunscreen and use the skincare products your doctor or skincare professional recommends.