How Do Laser Treatments For Acne Actually Work?
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the United States. If you’ve never dealt with a pimple before, you have outstanding luck. (Go play the lottery!) But that sadly can’t be said for the large majority of us. And just because acne is very common doesn’t mean it’s a breeze to deal with, especially since there’s no universal solution when it comes to helping keep blemishes under control.
If you have a substantial breakout, your first plan-of-attack might be to use an over-the-counter spot treatment formulated with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Some of these products can be effective, but they don’t always work wonders for everyone. Not to mention, some of these formulas can be drying when used too frequently on sensitive skin types. Those with sensitive skin types, especially, should proceed with caution. Another typical course-of-action for helping to control acne can be the use of antibiotics or prescription-strength creams that are provided by your dermatologist. While antibiotics can be effective at destroying the bacteria that can cause a breakout, sometimes this bacteria can be a little trickier to handle. What’s a gal to do? Assuming the ol’ “toothpaste hack” is thrown out the window (ICYMI: Dermatologists don’t recommend using toothpaste on your skin) your dermatologist may suggest and discuss laser treatment with you. No, we’re not talking about laser hair removal, but rather laser acne treatment. Confused? Keep reading to learn more about how this in-office procedure works!
How does laser acne treatment work?
Lasers specifically designed to help manage acne breakouts work by pulsing red light, blue light, or a combination of the two—in addition to heat energy—into the skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, “the redness and swelling that can occur with acne can be caused by a type of bacteria that can be killed by exposing your skin to different types of light.”
To learn more, we chatted with board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, “[Light therapy] can help to shrink pores, which can lead to less breakouts and less visible redness.” He goes on to say, “The added plus is that you can get tighter-looking skin and a fresh glow, making it a very popular procedure around fashion week and award shows.”
What are the drawbacks?
Not surprisingly, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. According to the Mayo Clinic, potential side effects of laser treatment may include pain, temporary redness and sensitivity to sunlight. It’s also worth noting that the treatment can be costly (you’ll likely need multiple sessions), particularly when compared to your drugstore OTC acne-fighting facial wash. But if you’ve exhausted all of your other options, chat with your dermatologist about whether laser treatment can be effective for your skin.