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Acne Light Treatment - Facts about Acne Light Treatment - Blue light therapy, Pulsed Light and Heat Therapy, Photodynamic therapy

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Acne light treatment is a new therapy that seeks to help patients with extreme acne problems keep them under control. One of the first things patients should understand is that there are some slight differences between acne light treatment and laser therapy. Some experts believe that the lasers actually damage the oil glands and cause them to manufacture less oil. Other types of light treatments focus on the bacteria that is responsible for the inflammation that we know as acne. Here are the basics of some of the most popular types of acne light treatment.

Blue light therapy

The most common type of acne light treatment is blue light therapy. The procedure is completely painless, and it involves shining a low intensity blue light right onto the acne. It does require several sessions in order to be successful, and patients will have to continue to have treatments if they want to keep their acne under control. Some experts are starting to experiment with a combination of red and blue light because they believe that both colors together is actually more effective. The only side effects most patients have to deal with in blue light therapy are redness and dryness, but these are generally just temporary. Occasionally there may be some slight changes in skin pigment also.

One thing patients should realize is that blue light therapy is not a complete cure. In fact, studies show that it typically only gets rid of a little over half of the acne. Also it can make one type of acne worse. Acne that appears as red or purple bumps that are painful is called nodulocystic acne, and blue light therapy is not recommended as a treatment for this one kind of acne.

Pulsed Light and Heat Therapy

Another common type of treatment is pulsed light and heat energy therapy, also known as LHE therapy. This acne light treatment also uses heat to too target two different causes of acne. Experts say that it destroys the bacteria which causes acne and also shrinks the oil-producing glands so that they do not make as much oil. The FDA has approved a system that uses green light combined with heat to treat mild to moderate acne. Patients who have this type of acne light treatment typically have two sessions per week for a month. Sometimes the treatment will need to be ongoing in order to continue seeing results. Side effects typically include redness.

Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy is a little different than the other two acne light treatments because it involves the use of topical creams combined with light. Some experts also refer to it as ALA plus light therapy. The cream is actually a photosensitizing medication, and it is applied to the affected areas to make them more sensitive to the light therapy. After the cream is applied, then blue, red, or pulsed light is used. The cream is typically kept on the area for 15 minutes or up to an hour, depending on how bad the acne is. Patients who have this kind of acne light treatment should avoid direct sunlight for about two days afterward. Side effects may include redness, swelling, and acne flare ups.

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