Acne Issues: Are Light-Based Treatments Effective


Acne vulgaris is common inflammatory skin condition that involves blockage and/or inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It is characterized by noninflammatory lesions, inflammatory papules, pustules, and nodules, and open or closed comedones. Acne vulgaris typically affect skin areas with a high density of sebaceous follicles like the face, back and upper chest. They often lead to scarring, which can be challenging to treat and get rid of.

Current options for acne treatment in Singapore may be limited in acceptability or effectiveness due to poor tolerability, adverse effects, or inconvenience. These include oral and topical treatments which can be time-consuming, costly and complex for one to use. There is also a rising concern regarding antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Light-based therapies for acne

Light-based and laser treatments for acne utilize light with different properties namely intensity, wavelength and coherent or incoherent light, to achieve a beneficial result. These three components also play a key role in the treatment: light, photosensitizers and oxidative stress which can help to reduce bacteria and sebaceous glands as well as hyperkeratosis and follicular obstruction.

A study on light-based treatments

Studies were conducted regarding light-based therapies for the treatment of acne vulgaris to determine its efficacy. These include laser-based treatments as well as therapies that utilize the combination of light with other treatments to boost the effectiveness of the light. The participants involved in the studies are diagnosed with acne vulgaris of various severities, and results were taken from a split-face trial.

  • Infrared Light vs No Treatment

It was found that there were significant differences for changes in cysts, and reduction in inflamed lesions. For treatments with fractional erbium glass laser, there were differences found in reduction in inflamed and noninflammed lesions.

  • Blue-red Light vs. Placebo

Significant differences were reported in inflamed lesions improvement, as well as reduction in inflamed and noninflammed lesions.

71 studies were completed with 4211 participants, with a mean age of between 20 and 30 years old and have mild-to-moderate acne. Most light sessions are commonly between two to four. The overall evidence suggests that using lower 5-Aminolaevulinic Acid (ALA) Photodynamic Therapy in lower doses (15% and 10%) with light modalities aside from blue light, may offer some benefit. Several studies recorded that 20% ALA showed more adverse effects whereas 10% ALA activated by intense pulsed light (IPL) was more effective as compared to IPL alone. Additionally, 20% ALA activated by red light was not found to be more effective than 15% ALA activated by red light.

At our clinic, we provide various laser therapies for acne scar removal and acne treatment such as Vbeam laser treatment and Q switch laser for acne. The treatments deliver laser energy to target and treat a variety of skin conditions including rosacea, wrinkles and stubborn acne scars. To learn more about the different laser treatments, schedule your appointment with us.

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