Lasers and Light – The Magic Wand for Treating Acne and Pigmented Skin Lesions

Ever wish you could make the spots on your skin disappear? Whether its acne, or pigmented lesions such as freckles, melasma, café au lait or age spots, look no further than laser and light-based treatments to find the latest complexion-clearing solutions.

Pigmented lesions include a variety of skin discolorations that might be present at birth or develop over time. These lesions occur due to an abundance of melanocytes present in the skin. Attempting to remove the pigment in years past, dermatologists tried bleaching, chemical peels and even liquid nitrogen. None of these options achieved optimum results, and each had noteworthy drawbacks and downtime. Bleaching creams tended to leave spots behind. Chemical peels had the potential to cause scarring. Liquid nitrogen often resulted in an irregular skin color and texture. In the end, many people decided to just live with these conditions.

With light technology such as the Candela Ellipse Intense Pulse Light device, the appearance of pigmented lesions can be greatly reduced or removed in about three treatments with no down time. Patients wear protective eye goggles while the practitioner treats the affected areas with concentrated doses of light. The light emitted by the laser is absorbed by the lesions, which causes them to disperse under the skin’s surface. The end result is clearer skin that’s more even in color and texture.

A combination of treatments keep acne at bay

In a similar way, acne can be effectively treated using advanced light technology along with oral prescriptions and topical medications as well as medical-grade chemical peels and CO-2 slushes.

Light technology

Using lasers, light therapy (blue or red) or Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT), it’s possible to effectively target acne-causing bacteria and inflamed lesions without heating the surrounding tissues. Light treatment using the Omnilux LED offers many benefits over other alternatives because it’s a non-invasive, short treatment regimen with no side effects.

Accutane gets more stringent FDA requirements

Accutane is a powerful oral prescription drug for the treatment of severe acne. Treatment with Accutane can take between four to five months before acne is completely cleared. Accutane is a derivative of Vitamin A, a natural substance found in our bloodstream that is easily absorbed. Accutane can be very appropriate for some patients who suffer from severe cystic acne.

Accutane has many possible side effects, some of them serious, such as depression and the concern with long-term toxicity to bones and internal organs. It is not an option for pregnant women as it may cause birth defects. As of December 31, 2005, female patients will be required to use two forms of contraception before starting Accutane.

Peels and topical medications

A variety of medical-grade peels and slush treatments that cause the skin to shed layers can help clear acne and associated scarring. These treatments can also help prepare the skin to be more receptive to the light treatments. A variety of topical medications also may be prescribed to directly control and kill the bacteria which most often cause acne.

Today’s treatments give patients new opportunities to enjoy clearer skin.

About David J. Sire MD

Dr. Sire is a noted cosmetic dermasurgeon and an authority on the use of lasers and light sources. He has been revitalizing skin health for men, women and children in Orange County for 35 years.

Reach Dr. Sire at www.ascmedcenfer.com.

Copyright CBJ, L. P. Oct 10-Oct 16, 2005

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