Laser Treatment of Acne

Vbeam and Smoothbeam Lasers

A variety of laser devices may be used to reduce acne and acne scarring. At San Diego Dermatology and Laser Surgery, we often combine the effects of multiple laser and light devices to achieve optimal clearance in the fewest number of visits.

The Vbeam and Smoothbeam lasers are often used in conjunction on the same visit for patients with active acne and scarring. These lasers have been used successfully for years to reduce acne breakouts, reduce oil production, tighten pores, and reduce depressed, acne scars. The Vbeam laser helps reduce the redness associated with acne lesions and scars and reduces the P. acnes bacteria that reside within the sebaceous follicle. The Smoothbeam laser may also be used at the same time to reduce sebum (oil) production and to stimulate collagen production to help fill in depressed scars. Both of these lasers may be used virtually anywhere on the body - especially the face, neck, chest and back where acne is usually most intense.

A series of two to five laser treatments are typically recommended at three to four week intervals for those with active acne breakouts and/or acne scarring. A regimen of topical acne gels or creams and/or a course of oral antibiotics may also be used in conjunction with the laser for faster improvement. At San Diego Dermatology and Laser Surgery, each treatment is tailored to the individual needs of the patient depending upon how quickly they respond to treatment and the degree of involvement they have at the outset.

BLU-U Blue Light

The BLU-U light device targets "porphyrins" within the P. acnes bacteria associated with inflammatory acne. With this treatment the bacteria are killed and the acne is improved leaving the surrounding skin unaffected. Treatments are repeated once or twice per week for eight to 12 sessions. Research has shown a significant portion of patients will improve within the first few months of treatment. This treatment is incredibly safe and easy and entirely painless. The patient sits with the light device around the body area to be treated for 8-16 minutes with a bright light shining directly on the skin surface. There is usually no aftercare necessary and little if any downtime.

The BLU-U treatment may be significantly enhanced by the addition of the Levulan kerastick to the treatment protocol. This process, called Photodynamic Therapy", or "ALA/PDT", involves using the topical photosensitizer Levulan (5-aminolevulinic acid) to activate the wavelength of light. This naturally occurring compound is absorbed by oil glands and with proper light activation minimizes pore size, decreases acne and may even reduce some acne scars.

The Levulan process involves the application of this topical solution to the face (or whatever area is to be treated) which makes the acne more sensitive to light. This compound is left in place for 30 minutes up to an hour or more in most cases and then the light therapy is begun. Most patients will experience some mild redness and swelling after treatment and slight stinging. All patients must completely avoid ultraviolet light exposure for a solid 24-48 hours after treatment. Repeat treatment sessions may be performed every few weeks until optimal effect is reached.

VBeam Laser

VBeam laser is the most effective laser for treating unwanted redness. VBeam is used to treat rosacea, noticeable capillaries, cherry angiomas, port wine stain birthmarks and general redness on the face, neck and virtually anywhere on the body. VBeam is extremely safe and very effective. Typically, patients require a series of 3-4 treatments, and may elect to do a yearly maintenance treatment to keep redness at bay. Downtime is very minimal. Some patients experience minor swelling and redness after treatment.


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