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J Cosmet Dermatol. 2005 Dec;4(4):318-20.

Light/laser therapy in the treatment of acne vulgaris.

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1
Department of Dermatology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA. knouri@med.miami.edu

Abstract

Acne vulgaris is one of the most prevalent skin diseases known. As common as this condition is, the social and psychological consequences are limitless. Although current treatments are available and include topical or oral antibiotics, it is crucial to develop a less risky and more effective therapy such as light/laser therapy. This article focuses specifically on the benefits of the light/laser treatment on acne vulgaris. Porphyrins accumulated in the bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, one of the etiologic factors involved in the pathogenesis, allows phototherapy to be a successful modality. They have specific absorption peaks at which lasers have optimal effects. The longer the wavelength of the light is, the deeper its penetration and thus the greater its damage to the sebaceous glands. Although blue light is best for the activation of porphyrins, red light is best for deeper penetration and an anti-inflammatory effect. Ultraviolet (UV) light, although it may have initial an anti-inflammatory effects, has been proven to be potentially carcinogenic and have adverse effects such as aging (by UV-A) and burning (by UV-B). Previous studies indicate successful long-term intervention and selective damage of the sebaceous glands by using a diode laser with indocyanine green (ICG) dye. Mid-infrared lasers have been found to decrease lesion counts while also reducing the oiliness of skin and the scarring process. Nonablative laser treatment of acne scars using the Er:YAG laser with a short-pulsed mode has been successful in reducing the appearance of scars by stimulating neocollagenesis. The light/laser therapy has started to be explored with promising results in highly selected patients that require further investigation in greater populations and well-designed protocols.

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