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Photofacials for Acne

author image Caroline Thompson
Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.
Photofacials for Acne
An esthetician giving a client a photo facial. Photo Credit danr13/iStock/Getty Images


Laser light treats acne by plumping the skin and helping to reduce scar tissue. In comparison to other acne therapies, the laser light penetrates the surface of the skin targeting the bacteria that cause acne and simultaneously smoothes the skin surface. If you are looking for minimal downtime and a significant improvement of your skin, consider using an intense pulsed laser, IPL, color light therapy or Diode therapy.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense pulsed light photofacials combines light and heat to destroy propionibacterium acnes, P. acnes. It also shrinks the sebaceous glands to stop overproduction of oils that cause acne. The eyes are shielded with special goggles for protection as the laser light moves in rapid pulses over the entire surface of the face. Because the heat from the laser works beneath the skin,this treatment can be painful. Numbing creams can be applied before the treatment to reduce the intensity of the pain. The number of IPL photofacials needed will vary depending on the severity of the acne.

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Diode Laser

The diode laser has a successful track record for treating acne on the back and mild to moderate inflammatory acne on the face, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In a study by the Department of Dermatology at Charite University Medicine Berlin in Berlin, Germany, concluded that that the diode laser improved refractory acne. The diode laser is also sometimes painful. A topical pain medication is applied to the skin before treatment. The laser destroys the sebaceous glands in the middle layer of the skin, but leaves the surface layer untouched, according to the Mayo Clinic. The side effects are redness and temporary swelling.

Color Light Therapy

Color light therapy comprises blue, red and green laser light. Low-intensity blue light therapy is the most common treatment of the three. It destroys P. acnes, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and is considered the most successful light therapy for treating acne. Blue light therapy does not contain UV light and does not damage the skin. Blue light therapy is done over several sessions, usually 8 eight sessions are needed. The treatment is two 15-minute sessions per week. An improvement of about 55 percent clearance is the average rate of success.

Other color therapy uses blue and red light to treat acne and may be more effective, according to the MSN Living website. Green light therapy is an effective acne treatment as it kills P. acnes, reduces sebum excretion rate (SER) by 28.1 percent and reduces acne lesions by 35.9 percent, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society.

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