Psoriasis is no laughing matter
Blue Light Can Improve Acne
Interest in alternative treatments for acne that avoid the use of creams or pills is high, however, these are still the cornerstone of acne treatment. The evidence suggesting a role for diet has regained friction in the dermatology community with new studies surfacing that address this topic, but thus far the evidence is mixed. Stay tuned as I will cover this in another blog – The Ups and Downs of Diet in Dermatology.
Understanding the Cause of Acne
Underlying the heart of acne is the oil gland which sits next to a hair follicle (pore) in the skin. When oil/sebum production is increased due to hormones, the cells in the hair follicle become “sticky” and can block the pore. What we see on the patient is a whitehead (closed comedone) or blackhead (open comedone). The color is black in an open comedone because the sebum is being oxidized by air unlike in a closed comedone which does not have contact with air. In some instances, the comedone can turn pink or red and excrete pus due to inflammation.
The bacterial species Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) lives in the oil gland and can increase sebum production and inflammation. Thus, many acne treatments incorporate antibiotics to minimize the effect of P acnes. Here comes the benefit of Blue light treatments.
How Light Therapy Works
When light is placed on the skin it can affect its function depending on what elements of the skin absorb the light. Thus, melanin (skin pigment molecules) absorb certain wavelengths of light that are different than what blood absorbs. This is the basis of laser and light therapy in medicine. In the case of acne, P acnes absorbs blue light! Thus, blue light can be placed on the skin in a certain manner and lead to improvement in inflammatory acne! It is not as effective for comedone treatment, but painful red bumps can be minimized with this treatment without the possible need for antibiotics!
Given the conscience consumer of antibiotics that our society has become, this is a great breakthrough in acne treatment. Blue light does not have the same harmful effects on the skin as ultraviolet light and patients experience minimal, if any, pain with the procedure. If you pursue this option, expect frequent treatments in the first couple of months and then usually treatments can be stopped once acne is controlled. It is important to still follow the regimen listed by your dermatologist that includes creams or pills depending on your individual needs. This treatment is for moderately inflamed acne and the service includes skin cleansing, Blu-U treatment and sunscreen application. Treatment helps reduce oiliness and inflammation by killing the bacteria in your pores.
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