Acne is an unpleasant condition which likes to attack when people are at their most vulnerable. It’s common during our teenage years and can affect women during pregnancy. However, the condition can affect a broad range of people and there is no guarantee that it will pass after adolescence. Perhaps today, as we live in a massively image conscious world, bombarded with imagery of physical ‘perfection’, the side effects of acne can be more distressing. Today, both genders tend to be conscious of their physical appearance and the appearance of acne and the scarring that can result can be hard to live with often leading to long term psychological problems, as well as the physical symptoms. Treatments for acne and for acne scars have developed over the years but results can vary from individual to individual. In recent years a new therapy for acne and treatments for acne scarring have developed – utilizing the power of lasers. Blue light therapy is not only available in dermatological clinics, but also in home-use devices and the results have been impressive.
Types of Scarring
Acne scarring in particular can be amongst the most distressing of the side effects and it can last for many years. Even in cases where acne itself has begun to subside, the scars can persist and the negative feelings associated with them can become deep-rooted. The main reasons for acne scarring fit into two main categories; in the case of severe acne the cysts and nodules that develop can burst, affecting surrounding tissue and forming scar tissue. The second cause is generally that the individual picks, or bursts, spots which again can damage surrounding tissue or introduce infection into the pores, resulting in further scar tissue development. Scarring usually has three different types of appearance; “ice pick scars” which are small but deep depressions in the skin, “rolling scars” which are characterized by lumps and bumps and uneven skin surface caused by scar tissue under the skin. The final type of scarring is the formation of rounded or oval crater type depressions in the skin.
Laser Technology: the Light Fantastic
Blue light therapy is a relatively simple technology; light is emitted at a wavelength that destroys the bacteria responsible for acne. This is not a dangerous process, as the fine targeting should not damage surrounding cells and the results have been found to be highly impressive by those who have undergone the treatment. While those prone to severe acne may find that the therapy cannot completely eradicate the condition, it offers a huge improvement in both the appearance of the skin and in the virulence of subsequent outbreaks. For those using home laser systems the simple advantage of being able re-use the device as and when required is self-evident.
Self-Help for Skin
One feature of our skins natural growth cycle that laser treatment for acne scarring can take advantage of is its natural tendency to grow new skin to repair damage. Laser treatment for scarring falls into two main types; “ablative treatment” which destroys small patches of skin allowing new, fresh skin to grow and “non-ablative” which is a laser technique designed to stimulate the growth of collagen, which repairs scar damage.
Users have widely reported the effectiveness of blue light therapy. In terms of scarring treatments patients have, according to the NHS, reported up to 75 per cent improvements. Laser treatment for acne is not, however, usually available on the NHS and will require private treatment. This can potentially cost anything between several hundred and several thousand pounds. The alternative, a home blue light therapy system, offers considerably cheaper but equally effective results. In rare cases, where severe physiological issues arise, the NHS may consider treatment for acne or scarring; if you are finding that living with acne is having a profound effect on your life and mental health it’s certainly worth discussing the issues with your GP to find what solutions and options are available.
Hope for the Future
For those living with acne and the associated scarring, the increasing availability of blue light therapy treatments not only offers an effective solution but also one that does not involve long term medication and associated side effects. In terms of acne scarring, laser techniques are rapidly developing that can offer hope to many of those living with the longer term effects of acne.
Roxanne Elliot is a writer who has a keen interest in the latest technological treatments which have entered the beauty sector. Blue light therapy can make a real difference to unpleasant conditions such as acne and can also improve the long term effects of acne scarring.
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