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Acne is a skin condition involving the sebaceous glands and affects over 80% of the adolescents and many adults. Acne is caused by the increased production of the hormone androgen (produced by both men and women), which stimulates the sebaceous glands to grow in size and produce more sebum (oil). When the sebum does not reach the surface of the skin, it becomes trapped in the tiny pores or follicles. If the pore closes off, it creates a “whitehead” but if it stays open, a “blackhead” is formed. The bacteria, P. Acne, feed on and break down the sebum. Waste products and fatty acids are created causing the sebaceous gland to become inflamed. Without effective treatment, red swollen pimples, pustules, and deeper lumps (nodules) form.

If the skin inflammation becomes severe, the follicle may burst and release pus deep under the skin. This type of acne can be severe and cause deep inflammatory cysts or nodules. This type often results in scarring.

Hormones (Androgen) stimulate sebum production and this explains why acne usually begins at puberty.Diet has not been found to affect the production or severity of acne. A well balanced diet is best for overall health. Stress, physical and emotional, may cause a worsening of acne. Sweating may lead to a worsening of acne lesions. Dirt, or poor cleanliness, has not been shown to promote acne conditions. Some skin products may aggravate acne lesions. These include moisturizers, cosmetics. Avoid products with lanolin, mineral oil, petroleum, or paraffin. Use oil free or non-comedogenic products. Hair products (Oily products) that come in contact with the skin may worsen acne.

Acne occurs on the face, as well as the neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. Although most teenagers get some form of acne, adults in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or even older, can develop acne. Although acne clears up after several years, even without treatment, Acne can be disfiguring and may leave permanent scars. To avoid acne scarring, treating acne is important.

Treatment of ACNE is an ongoing process. The type of treatment depends on whether you have a mild, moderate or severe form and whether you have scars, pigmentations or other conditions. Acne is controllable and proper treatment helps you feel and look better and may prevent scars. Treatment should address ALL the mechanisms of Acne production:

Release of inflammatory substances.
Skin cells shed too quickly and block the pores.
Rapid production of P. acnes bacteria.
Excess sebum production, enlarged sebaceous glands.

The traditional treatment for acne has been a combination of creams, gels, and antibiotics. Deep pore cleansers (benzoyl peroxide), topical antibiotics, and Retinoids have been used. Severe acne has been treated with isotritinoin, acutane. Although this drug has been effective, it has very serious side effects and has been under the FDA scrutiny.
Limitations / side effects of traditional (topicals, antibiotics, cleansers, ... ) treatments are:

Irritation
Skin dryness
Peeling
Redness
Photosensitivity
Antibiotics resistance
Systemic side effects
Patient hesitation to take oral antibiotics
Non compliance with the treatment

New advanced treatments have emerged over the last few years based on the use of light and laser energy. One of the most significant advances in acne treatment has been the use of

Photodynamic Therapy with Levulan® (ALA/PDT)

Why Lights / Lasers and Levulan®?

Significant percentage of acne patients are unhappy with current treatment options.
Significant percentage of acne patients are reluctant to take oral medications.
Significant percentage of acne patients fail to respond to conventional therapy.
Concern about long term use of antibiotics.
High risk of Accutane neuropsychiatric concern.
Poor compliance with daily messy creams and gels.


Before PDT
After PDT

Photodynamic Therapy is performed by applying a topical photosensitizing agent, Levulan® (Amino Levulinic Acid –ALA) to the affected area, activated with the exposure to the correct wavelength of light/laser such as BLU_U light.
At the VEIN LASER CENTER, many patients with acne and acne scars underwent PDT and achieved great results. Photodynamic Therapy treatment has the ability to reduce pore size, reduce oil glands and effectively treat stubborn acne, acne rosacea, and improving the appearance of acne scars.
 
At the Vein & Laser Center, we will evaluate your condition and suggest the appropriate treatment regimes considering your age, sex, and the type of acne and scars you have. To find out more, call to schedule a consultation at 201-795-9007.