LONDON, Apr 17: From timely breakouts in the teenage years to chronic occurrence, acne is the most common skin conditions. While there has been a long history of use of laser and light-based treatments for acne, recent developments in the field of dermatology show that there are been many new-age acne treatments.
These treatments seem to have decoded the art of using laser light to destroy the bacteria and shut down excess oil production within a few minutes. But are they really helpful? And does that mean we do not have to go for three to four weeks of continuous treatments while hiding from our friends? Have we moved ahead from the era of usual chemical peels? Leading dermatologist Dr Venkataram Mysore, President of 12th Edition of World Congress of Cosmetic Dermatologists, helps us in deciphering advances in treatments that are also known as lunch-time procedures.
Understanding the latest advancement in acne: Acne can be treated by local creams containing antibiotics or retinoids. In selected cases, a combination of antiandrogens and oestrogen can also be used. However, most people rarely consider acne or pimples as a serious problem till it is acute. Many of them resort to using steroid-based creams, since these can suppress acne quickly. People fail to realise that this is only a temporary remedy, with severe side-effects and might result in the recurrence of acne with great severity. Repeated use of such creams lead to infections, particularly fungal infections, growth of hair on face or a red face, which becomes sensitive. Teenagers particularly are susceptible to such self-prescriptions and often end up being depressed when their skin conditions worsen.
Zeno that zaps pimple away: One of the latest entrant in the over-the-counter acne treatment options is a device called ‘zeno’, which is meant to zap away pimples by using a tiny electronic pimple zapper. A lookalike of a large cigarette lighter, this device works by supplying a small amount of limited heat directly on the acne lesion for a minimum of 2-3 minutes. This makes the pimple to self-district themselves. This device works only if the lesion is small. On a severely inflamed case, it won’t work very effectively. This treatment is only meant for mild acne and for people who want a blemish-free face.
Isotretinoin is of great value: Isotretinoin is a drug derived from vitamin A. It decreases the activity of the glands called sebaceous glands, which causes acne. The plus point is it prevents pimple for a long time. Even after stopping the drug. It’s the only drug with this kind of an effect, wherein after stopping the drug even after 2-3 years the person doesn’t get pimples.
Fractora treatments: This treatment is permanent, less expensive, and works on all kind of skin colours. This treatment requires a minimum of four sittings where radio frequency is used to stop the acne and heal the scars at the same time. The treatment uses radio frequency to treat scars, pimples and acne. What it does it basically shuts down the oil glands, which are the main facilitator of acne. It also helps in stimulating collagen. Read more about 12 best and worst facial oils for acne
Fractional Laser Therapy: This treatment works by leading controlled micro-injury to the skin, and repairing the skin from inside out. Unlike yesteryear treatments that destroyed the surface of the skin, this treatment, fraxel is more like a pixelated-type destruction. Fraxel therapy makes micro-thermal zones that lead to the growth of new collagen production. This therapy not only treats acute acne, but it also targets fine lines, enlarged pores, dark spots and weird pigmentation issues.
Pulse dye laser (PDL) is quite unique from other laser treatments: It is a laser treatment to treat red looking pimples. It works directly on the blood vessels and hence gives quick relief from pimples. In this procedure, the light is converted into heat leading to the damage of the blood vessels surrounding the skin. The process is for about a week or 10 days. It hardly takes 10-15 mins for the session. The number of sittings mainly depend upon person to person, but typically it can be treated within two to three sessions.
Fractional laser treatment: Fractional laser treatment is a non-invasive treatment that makes use of a device that makes the laser beam to divide it into microscopic treatment zones, targeting it into a fraction of skin. Think of it like a photographic image that is altered step-by-step in pixels. The treatment works on both epidermis (surface skin cells) and dermal collagen (mid-layer of skin). The treatment works for surgical and acne scars, facial lines and wrinkles (rhytides), sun damage and skin pigmentation associated with photoaging. It is done once in a month for 3-4 sessions. It does not work for deeper scars. The process is for about a week or 10. Read here 5 habits that are worsening acne. Stop it NOW!
Microneedle Radiofrequency: Considered safer than fractional laser treatment, microneedles are driven directly into the skin at a certain depth, and radiofrequency energy is then released inside of the skin. This process warms up the deeper tissue that will then stimulate the production of collagen and new collagen fibers. The tip of needle contains extremely small gold needles acting as an internal conductor. It is one of the most promising treatment out there for treating deeper and older scars. The procedure takes about 3-4 settings. One day is enough for the recovery of the treatment. Suitable for sensitive skin, it also treats ageing changes, loose skin, and wrinkles.
One of the super latest entrant, which is soon to hit the market is Gold Nanoparticle Treatment. This treatment is not available in the market right now, but it is in the research stage. It puts gold particle in the gland and they heat it with a particular laser. This pimple-targeting treatment is still in its research phase and is not available for common use. Also remember that whatever pimple treatment you opt for, every treatment needs moisturising daily as the pimple treatment can cause dryness. Ask for the right moisturising cream from your dermatologist and totally avoid using cosmetics for a minimum of 4-5 days.