Treating Acne with Light

Today, as many as 40 millions suffer from acne at any one time. As this skin disease potentially affects self-esteem, many adults are seeking the optimum acne remedy.  Light treatment is now being researched as a potential option to eliminate acne breakouts. However, there is currently no evidence showing the effectiveness of UV rays in helping with acne breakouts.

Dermatologists have prescribed topical creams containing Benzoyl Peroxide or medications such as Roaccutane. However, not everyone responds positively to these treatments. Apart from that, Roaccutane with isotretinoin as its active ingredient has a host of side effects, such as depression and birth defects.

Also known as photodynamic treatment, researchers have found that certain light wavelengths are helpful in activating certain pharmaceutical ingredients that eliminates acne.  In fact, dermatologists and skin doctors have already begun using a technique that uses a photosensitzer known as ALA, that is activated only by certain wavelengths of light. With this, creams that contain ALA are applied to skin with acne, and absorbed by the oil glands on the skin. Next, this skin area is exposed to light at the appropriate wavelength, eliminating skin cells which has been producing too much oil.

By using this method, skin area that is not affected by acne breakouts will not be targeted. This type of acne treatment called “off-label” is legal and is prescribed by dermatologists or doctors at their judgment.

Photocure, a drug company that has been conducting clinical trials of photodynamic acne treatment, has come up with a derivative of ALA called Visionac. They are studying which light wavelength works best with this compound, and have even started testing on patients. Nevertheless, doctors have to ensure that nerve cells are not killed during photodynamic acne treatment, failing which the patient will experience pain. To do this, doses of Visionac and the amount of light exposure have to be adjusted to an optimum.

One of the benefits of using photodynamic treatment is that it has shown not to cause wrinkles, nor cancer. At recent trials, this method of eliminating acne has been shown to last for 6 week. With laser cum light acne treatments costing US$200 at least, this is certainly an option only for moderate to severe acne sufferers.