March Newsletter

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.

If interested in this treatment, we would be happy to answer any questions or concerns.

Price: $40 per sessions ($90 when combined with acne facial and microderm treatment)
Weekly treatments: $150 for 4 treatments
Sessions can be 1-2 times per week
Session: 25 minutes
Range of sessions: 1-3 months is a typical course of treatment

Facials - Dr. Cayce says "No" to most

Facials may be helpful for acne, but many can worsen acne. The use of harsh scrubs, irritating lotions or toners, and unnecessary extractions of whiteheads or pus bumps can lead to scarring. Therefore, my patients know that I do not recommend routine facial treatments. However, certain techniques when used alongside an acne regimen developed by your dermatologist can be very helpful in speeding up the treatment process and removing flaking skin due to retinoid use and excess oil in the T zone. There are certain patients who should not have facials (rosacea patients must be cautious) and thus facials at DTLA Derm will be performed only on patients seen in clinic so that a dermatologist has evaluated your ability to benefit from the treatment.
Our facial includes deep steam cleaning, suction microdermabrasion and blackhead extraction followed by glycolic acid gel, antioxidant serum and sunscreen application. Treatment reduces the appearance of dull, aged skin, large pores and wrinkles.

If interested in this treatment, we would be happy to answer any questions or concerns.

Price: $60 per session ($90 when combined with acne facial and microderm treatment)
Sessions can be up to every other week
Session: 25 minutes
Range of sessions: 1-3 months is a typical course of treatment

Receive a complimentary Glytone Mild Acne Wash when you schedule an Acne Facial and Blu-U acne treatment in April. One wash per patient. You must give staff code: March blog at time of booking or checking out to receive special.

Rachael L. Cayce, MD Founder DTLA Derm

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