West Houston Dermatology

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Light Therapy for Acne

More and more patients are seeking what dermatologists call light-based therapy instead of pharmaceutical therapies such as antibiotics, topicals, and Accutane even though these modalities are highly effective in many acne patients.  However, some women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant obviously cannot take Accutane and may wish to avoid other pharmaceuticals. Additionally, patient compliance with treatments performed in the home, whether oral or topical tends to be low, and therefore ineffective for some patients.  The FDA has not specifically approved light-based therapy devices for the treatment of acne because the FDA only requires that medical devices be proven safe — not efficacious.  However, that does not mean light-based therapy is not effective in certain circumstances.  There is scientific theory based on well understood and proven technology involved.  Physicians know that light wavelengths in the range of 400-700 nanometers creates reactive oxygen that is toxic to certain acne bacteria.  The light’s impact can be intensified by using aminolevulinic acid.  Examples of light-based therapies currently used by medical and cosmetic dermatologists include intense pulsed light (IPL), blue light, red light, and several kinds of lasers that operate at certain wavelengths.  West Houston Dermatology Laser & Skincare Center uses light-based therapy for a variety of skin conditions, including acne, when Dr. Mahoney believes that the treatment will be of significant benefit to the patient’s acne.  There are numerous ways to treat acne for adolescents and adults, and light-based therapies are an emerging resource.