Will Laser Hair Removal Help in Preventing Acne?

I know that the cause of acne is overactive sebaceous glands. If I get Laser hair removal, will the glands get damaged in the process? If not, is there anything that is permanent in shrinking these glands? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 3

Any Type of Heat Will Assist in Treating Acne; Isolaz Works Well for This

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Laser hair removal will not prevent acne but may help with some based on the heat generated during the treatment. Any laser will actually help active acne, but we do not use hair removal lasers to treat acne as a routine.

There are several other modalities that work well to treat acne and which we do use to hopefully minimize more lesions in the future – although not a cure. The most promising of these devices is called Isolaz, and we have been using it for about 10 years now with incredible success in treating acne. The Isolaz is essentially an IPL with a vacuum apparatus to bring the skin close to the light and in doing so has been found to be a great acne treatment. Things like blue light also work but may not be as efficient as Isolaz.

And Photodynamic Therapy, in which I published one of the first acne papers, is a great treatment using a photosensitizer on the skin and light; the problem with this is it is not covered by insurance companies so it is considered cosmetic and is usually more expensive than things like blue light or Isolaz. Find a board-certified dermatologist – they treat acne the best and will be able to direct you to the right path for both acne therapy and laser hair removal.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Laser hair removal will not prevent acne

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Even with high dose Accutane, a strong medication which does shrink the oil glands, patients may require second or more treatments. Photodynamic Therapy, a laser therapy than can help reduce the bacteria in the pores may not permanently shrink the oil glands. Some of the light therapies may decrease some acne activity but will not prevent all acne. You have to consider this maintenance therapy.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Laser Hair Removal wont do anything to sebaceous glands.

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Thank you for your question.

Laser Hair Removal will help with acne only if that acne is due to hair growth. The prime example of this is acne in the beard, jawline, upper neck areas that are due to hair growth in women and ingrown hairs in men. Laser hair removal of any kind has no effect on sebaceous gland and oil production.

In order to decrease the activity of the sebaceous glands, you might have to resort to accutane (isotretinoin). It is the only medication that has an impact on sebaceous glands. You can also try benzoyl peroxide washes and tretinoin to somewhat dry out the skin and decrease the effect of the sebaceous glands, but to physiologically decrease their activity on a larger scale, you would need to do accutane.

Hope this helps!

Don Mehrabi, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.