I've decided to look into laser resurfacing. I'm blonde and fair skinned and have big pores from adolescent and adult acne. I still get a lot of blackheads and sometimes pimples (I keep my skin clean etc., I KNOW the drill ;). I've had a long and wide range of acne treatments... So, is laser resurfacing something that will help me? Will it permanently make a difference in the texture of my skin? Will it help stop the blackheads? I have an appointment this afternoon with a doctor I'm familiar with...I'll ask him too, but...??
Laser Resurfacing for Acne and Blackheads?
Doctor Answers 2
Topical treatments can be very effective
Laser resurfacing can create a flare of acne during the healing phase. Usually long term reduction in blackhead formation is not seen. Mild chemical peels with a salicylic acid, which targets the oil glands, may help. Non resurfacing lasers can reduce inflammatory acne formation by targeting the proprionobacterium acnes bacteria which are located in the pores creating inflammatory acne but photodynamic therapy lasers and light sources including blue light, pulsed light and heat energy do not tend to improve the blackhead (non-inflammatory) situation. Isolaz is a combination of a light source and vacuum extraction which can cleanse the pores to decrease blackheads but this must be done on a repetitive basis as there is not a cure.
Although you have probably been through the experience of applying medicine to the skin, the most cost-effective way of treating blackheads remains the daily application of a mild benzoyl peroxide product (over-the-counter, some advertised on infomercials, and prescription) and Retin-A. Both products can irritate the skin if used excessively and not correctly. Read the inserts that come with the medication. Retin-A must be used sparingly and at least twenty minutes after washing to allow the normal oils to replenish a coating of protection on the skin. It is wise to use it every other night for the first week (first month if you have very sensitive skin) and then nightly. Only the size of a pea should be used for the whole face. If you use more thinking it will help better, you will only see the drying and peeling effect a few days later while you had used the same excessive amount for a few days in a row so that once it starts, you will be troubled by this reaction for too long. In the cold less humid winters, creams not gels should be used and a lower strength Retin-A should be prescribed initially. The doctor can always increase the strength after your skin gets used to the medicine. The benzoyl peroxide products work very well, but again a sparing amount should be applied as too much will cause redness and irritation.
Once the acne stops developing, you might obtain benefit in reduction of pore size by having Fraxel Restore laser treatment. This is a series of several treatments done one or two weeks apart. There is a very mild redness and flaking and slight bronzing that can occur for the first few days but it rarely forces patients into hibernation.