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Find Out the Pros and Cons of Laser Acne Treatments!

Are you at your wit’s end looking for an effective acne treatment? Are you willing to try almost anything to clear up your skin?

You’re probably nodding your head in agreement, and like me, you have also probably searched far and wide online for a legitimate form of acne treatment. Today, technology is more advanced than ever when it comes to skin care and acne treatments, which is something that I can personally vouch for in my years of work as a medical aesthetician. Lately, one of the most popular options that I have seen for acne treatment is in the form of laser acne treatments, which are often performed by dermatologists and medical aestheticians, like myself.

Types of Laser Acne Treatments

Many acne sufferers are sick of applying harsh chemical acne products or taking acne medications. In these instances, they may turn to the technology of laser acne treatments for immediate relief.

Some of the most common laser acne treatments include: [1]

  • Pulsed Light/Heat Energy Therapy: This treatment uses heat and light, which is supposed to target acne bacteria and excess oil production in the skin through shrinking the sebaceous glands.
  • ALA Light Therapy: This laser acne treatment is still currently being researched to determine its effectiveness. Within the treatment, a solution called ALA is applied topically to the skin, which increases the skin’s sensitivity to light. The ALA is kept on the skin for 15 to 60 minutes, depending upon the severity of the acne, and the skin is then treated with light therapy to potentially reduce acne. However, this treatment has such side effects as hyperpigmentation and folliculitis, which is an inflammation of the hair follicles that looks very similar to acne.
  • Diode Laser: This is a 1450 nm laser that treats inflammatory back acne.
  • Pulsed Dye Laser: This laser is intended to treat facial acne using pulsed dye but has seen inconsistent results so far.

Pros and Cons of Laser Acne Treatments

  • Pros: That being said, many fans of laser acne treatment believe that it is a better solution than harsh acne medications, which I would agree with. Some blogs claim that these treatments are non-invasive with little risk of side effects, although the research above suggests differently. Supporters of laser acne treatment feel that it is a better alternative to taking Accutane, which has a long list of side effects and complications, and they believe that these laser acne treatments will allow you to quickly return to your normal life with clearer skin.

  • Cons: These are all sides of the argument that I definitely agree with since acne medications and topical acne products can often irreparably damage the skin. However, the supporters of laser acne treatments are missing a bigger piece of the puzzle. Yes, laser acne treatments may be the lesser of two evils compared acne medications, but they are not a true and long-lasting solution for clear skin. Many of the laser acne treatments mentioned above need much more research, and they have such side effects as making nodulocystic acne worse when using blue light therapy [1] and triggering worse acne outbreaks in 20% of treatments. [2]

To give you an even greater perspective, check out what a few acne sufferers at the acne.org forums had to say about laser acne treatments:

I spent $5,000 and 9 months of my life doing 10 treatments of various laser treatments for my acne (Which was rated as a 7 out of 10). I was told it would take a few months to see improvements, but they never really came. They tried at least 4 different, sometimes very very painful lasers on me. Nothing really worked. The original plan was for 8 treatments, but on the day of my 10th treatment, I just decided not to go back. They said I should try doing 2 more treatments, but I was already over the original 8 month agreed treatment. I knew the more I waited doing these useless and painful treatments the more I would just end up scarring.

All lasers eventually age your skin 7x faster than normal…I don’t recommend it. I’ve personally had very bad results because of lasers. Do intensive research beforehand. What I ended up doing last year was going to a dermatologist and she prescribed a ‘gel’ (for lack of a better word) that contains menthol, camphor and something that begins with DEC, but I can’t remember the name of it. You’d need to consult a derm to find out.

I went under several lasers in 2003 (a couple Microdermabrasion lasers called Smooth Beam) and Parisian Peels. The results didn’t work AT ALL and cost me a couple thousand… and caused even more discomfort and inflammation at the time. I would love to pursue a class action against the lasers, however, I believe I signed a disclaimer in fall of 2002.

It is quite obvious that all of these forms of laser acne treatment only target the surface issues but do not affect the source of acne at its root. Instead, if you want any hope of treating your acne whatsoever, it is important to attack acne at its source by making healthy and long-lasting changes in your diet. If you primarily eat a diet that is full of processed foods and loaded with sugar, it will immediately trigger issues in digestion that lead to a hormonal imbalance and a weakened immune system, making it difficult for your skin to fight off acne bacteria in the first place.

The truth is that if you instead focus on making healthy dietary changes, it will ensure that your skin remains healthy, strong, and resistant to acne by boosting your immune system and keeping your hormones in balance. This will greatly reduce the need for any external treatments, like laser acne treatments that could prove ineffective or make your acne even worse. The choice is up to you…

Sources:

  1. AcneNet Article – Are Laser and Light Treatments Really Light Years Ahead of Conventional Acne Therapy?“ SkinCarePhysicians.com. Web. 17 Jan. 2011. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/article_lasers.html.
  2. Kawada A et al. “Acne phototherapy with a high-intensity, enhanced, narrow-band, blue light source: an open study and in vitro investigation.” Journal of  Dermatologic Science. 2002. November;30(2):129-35.

About the Author: Bethany Ramos is an aesthetician and makeup artist with a special interest in using nutrition to heal and alleviate a number of conditions in the skin. You can find out more skin care and makeup tips by visiting her blog at FacebyBethany.

FOCUS! Your Ultimate Guide to Clear Skin

FOCUS! Your Ultimate Guide to Clear Skin

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