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Laser Acne Treatment

Acne is a skin condition caused by skin cells that do not shed properly and clog pores, causing oil and bacteria to be trapped inside. As oil and bacteria accumulate, the skin becomes inflamed and swells outward, forming pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Acne most commonly affects people in their teens and adolescence, but can also affect adults of all ages. Various modes of therapy are standard, including topical washes, cleaners, and antibiotics, as well as systemic antibiotics.  Accutane, a very strong medication with possible side effects, is usually used as a last resort treatment. 

In recent years, lasers and intense pulse light sources have been found to be an effective adjunct to standard therapy for acne sufferers.  In 2003, the FDA cleared Laserscope to use the green light laser for acne treatment.

How Does It Work?

The green light laser, delivered through the skin, kills the acne-causing bacteria by enhancing the body’s natural bacteria-fighting defenses.  This will significantly reduce the severity and frequency of current and future outbreaks. Studies have shown that results with laser treatment are best if also combined with traditional topical or systemic antibiotic therapy. Thus, you should generally continue any standard therapy (with the exception of Accutane) while undergoing laser treatments.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

A course of acne laser treatment consists of 4 treatments. These are performed twice a week for 2 weeks.  A second course identical to the first course may also be recommended, starting 1-3 weeks after completion of the first course.

What Can I Expect After Treatment?

Immediately following the procedure you may experience some redness and slight swelling. The redness and swelling usually dissipate within one to three days.  If necessary, makeup can be applied to the treated area immediately. The effects of treatment are cumulative.  After the first treatment, you might see improvements.  The number of lesions and severity of breakouts should reduce over the course of treatment and beyond. Some patients continue to improve for months after their last treatment.

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