Laser Acne Treatment: The Pros and Cons to Consider
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“Be patient. It will get better. Your diet caused your skin to deteriorate, it just needs time to reflect a calmer YOU.” Ha, Ha! That’s a joke – and it certainly doesn’t help anyone who suffers from acne. But I guess it makes family feel better to tell you things like this. Unfortunately, it always made me feel worse when I suffered from an acne problem. It was horrible. I hated going to college. I felt so ugly.
So What Did I Do?
I opted for a couple of treatments but somewhere down the line I did consider laser acne treatment and I want to share the information I learned about this process.
What is Laser Acne Treatment?
Laser treatment is a specialized dermatology treatment that minimizes the scars and the change in pigmentation left behind when your acne heals. However, some dermatologists also use it with inflammatory acne.
Laser Acne Treatment Quick Facts
- It is a modern day treatment that does not draw blood and less painful than microdermabrasion and other traditional acne treatment
- Laser treatment removes acne scars
- It removes skin discoloration through heating
- The heating of the blood vessels deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients that acne thrives on.
- Laser therapy does require several visits and a good skin care program
The Effects of Acne Scars
The problem is that severe acne when not treated, does not just go away without leaving a history. It can leave scars, which is a result of the pores being filled with dead skin cells, bacteria and oil. This is the type of acne which becomes inflamed and bursts, but it doesn’t just go away. All that stuff just spreads deep into the skin tissue and creates even bigger sores. Your body tries to protect itself by producing more natural collagen and this tries to repair the sores, but in the end it changes the shape of your smooth skin and texture. Basically this becomes one of two types of scars: hypertropic or atrophic. Hypertropic is the acne that gives you scars, which happen because your skin makes too much collagen to repair the acne. This is what results in the skin bumps. Atrophic acne is where you lose skin when the acne heals and this results in depressions which cause the indented scars.
How Does Laser Acne Treatment Work?
Lasers create an intense special direct light on a narrow band of wavelenghts. The different settings affect different parts of the skin which destroys certain substances left behind from the acne thereby reducing the scarring. The laser removes blemishes in the skin with photothermolysis that breaks down certain substances from the tissues, but if used continually it destroys tissues so that is why the dermatologist uses a pulsed laser system.
Dermatologists first started using laser therapy in the 1980s to remove brown spots and acne scars. However, in the early days the scars returned without continuous treatment. Needless to say, laser acne treatment has improved over the years and now deep acne scars can be removed permanently.
The Advantages and Disadvantages
The biggest upside to laser treatment for acne is that it is bloodless compared to the dermabrasion treatment. However, the downside is that patients need more than one treatment and darker skin types do not respond as well to laser treatment compared to fair skin types.
Should You Get Laser Acne Treatment?
Well, that is a tough call. Even if you do have fair skin there are a few reasons why you may not want to get laser treatment for your acne.
- It is expensive and usually not covered by insurance. Each session can cost as much as US $1000 and you may need as many as 10 sessions.
- Many raised acne scars eventually smooth themselves out, although it takes several years
- Using Retin-A or Tretinoin on your skin could thin the scars
- People who have psoriasis or eczema could have a worsening condition after laser treatment
Laser treatment is not the only answer, and there are other less expensive treatment options. The best thing you can do is get treatment before scarring begins. Avoid scarring by treating your acne correctly. Don’t pick at your pimples. When you pop a whitehead you cause more damage and inflammation that makes it harder for your skin to heal. Avoid sun exposure. Too much sunlight can cause acne to worsen or make it last longer. Use sunscreen and protect your skin from sunlight.
What Can You Do to Prevent Acne?
Acne is not caused by any certain thing, and you can’t resolve it with just one treatment. If you want clear skin, you need to use a great skin care routine and use several treatment methods for a few months. If you are patient, a combination of acne treatments such as topical microdermabrasion cloths and crystals can help to clear your skin. You might also want to use a good glycolic or salicylic acid peel to stimulate skin growth.