Many adults and adolescents experience occasional blemishes and pimples. Although mild cases of acne may clear up without treatment, extensive breakouts can require medical intervention. Some people suffer from numerous acne lesions and may experience widespread breakouts and blemishes that lead to scarring. Acne treatments work by reducing oil, promoting cell renewal, killing bacteria and reducing inflammation. According to the Mayo Clinic, laser therapy may help treat acne in people who can’t tolerate conventional types of acne medications.
Doctors seldom recommend laser treatment for mild cases of acne. Your doctor may suggest this avenue if other treatments don’t clear up your acne, especially if you suffer from deep, cystic lesions or rosacea, a condition that causes redness, swelling and breakouts.
Laser therapy uses a targeted wavelength of light to heat areas beneath the skin. Your doctor may use the laser on a single area of your face, shoulders or chest to reduce just your major breakouts. He may also use the laser over a broader surface for widespread acne lesions. A topical anesthesia applied to the surface of your skin can help reduce the tingling or stinging sensation of the laser.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that more research will help doctors and patients understand the effectiveness of laser treatment for acne. Many patients who receive this type of therapy notice a reduction in the number and severity of their lesions. Results are not instant; your skin may require at least three treatments before you notice an improvement.
Laser therapy can cause temporary redness and peeling, resulting in skin that resembles a case of severe sunburn. This aftereffect may last a few days and require bandaging and dressing. The therapy may also cause some discomfort, even with the topical anesthesia.
Many doctors prefer to use laser treatment on patients whose skin won’t respond to other types of acne treatments and medications. Your doctor may decide to treat your acne with prescription medications that help promote cell turnover, such as tretinoin and tazarotene. Your acne may respond to antibiotics, oral contraceptives, chemical peels or microdermabrasion. If your doctor recommends laser treatment, expect to undergo at least three sessions before you notice an improvement in your skin’s condition.
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