Acne lasers – treatments without downtime

Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic doctor, liposuctionist)

Templestowe Lower, Berwick and Beaumaris Clinics

Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2005, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More

Due to a large demand for light/laser-based acne treatments, we have extended our armementarium of lasers to treat acne. Most patients with acne want a result as fast as possible, and although medical grade skin care and medications are the mainstay of treatment for acne, the results from these treatments takes some time to take proper effect. Laser and light based treatments can expidite the treatment of acne.

Currently, we have a few acne/light based therapies for acne. These include LED phototherapy, pulsed dye laser treatment and photodynamic therapy. These three treatments target the acne bacteria, proprionibacterium acnes (p.acnes).

P.acnes creates substances called porphyrins (a by-product of their metabolic processes) that is the main target of the above light/laser based therapies. LED phototherapy and pulsed dye laser treatments activate the porphyrins to produce an oxygen free radical that subsequently destroys the p.acnes. There is usually no downtime with these two treatments

Photodynamic dynamic therapy also does the same thing, except this requires the application of a substance called ALA which stimulates the p.acnes to produce more porphyrins and therefore more oxygen free radicals when activated by a LED light source or the pulsed dye laser. The downtime from this can be significant, but the number of treatments is reduced as a result.

Until now, we haven’t been able to target with laser the other cause of acne, the sebaceous gland. In the next fortnight, we will be receiving delivery of a Candela Smoothbeam laser, a laser which targets the sebaceous gland. We have trialled this laser previously, with good results for acne. The Smoothbeam laser has a wavelength that penetrates to the depth of the sebaceous gland and helps to regulate sebum/oil production this way.

So in the next few weeks, we will be able to treat our patients with the Smoothbeam laser in conjunction with other laser/light treatments and target all the potential causes for acne.