Most people consider acne to be a cosmetic problem, but if you have bad pimples, you know they can affect your social life, job prospects and even your self-esteem. Acne sufferers have turned to laser therapy provided by dermatologists since the early 2000s, but now can use at-home versions of laser treatments.
Acne results from a combination of three factors, namely clogged pores, excessively oily skin and bacterial proliferation and infection, according to the website MayoClinic.com. In particularly severe cases of acne, the bacteria causes widespread inflammation. Laser treatments, including at-home versions, address clogged pores and may help kill bacteria, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
When you apply laser light energy to your skin, at home or in a dermatologist's office, it causes your skin cells to turn over more rapidly, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This tends to cause your face to peel, which can help remove the oil and dead skin cells clogging your pores. In some cases, laser energy also can heat the cells under the top layer of skin, which helps to kill bacteria inside your pores.
Professional lasers used by dermatologists to treat acne generally help some, but not all, patients improve or even resolve their acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. However, at-home versions of lasers for use in acne treatment do not provide as powerful an effect as professional lasers, so they won't be as effective in curbing acne.
With at-home acne laser devices, you'll usually treat affected areas of your skin once each day, according to manufacturers' instructions. You'll hold the device to an affected area until the device beeps, telling you that portion of the treatment has concluded. Like the acne laser treatment devices in your dermatologist's office, the at-home acne lasers treat only a very small part of your skin at once, so if you have widespread acne, your daily treatment can take upwards of half an hour.
Even the acne laser treatments available from your dermatologist haven't yet proven themselves long-term, according to the website MayoClinic.com. The weaker home versions of acne-treating lasers have practically no research that supports their use in acne treatment. At-home laser acne treatment devices can cost between $150 and $300, depending on the brand selected.