What is the Best Laser Acne Treatment?

i am really close to deciding on professional acne treatment like a laser. is there a laser that you recommend best for acne clearing? 

Doctor Answers 11

The Best Laser Acne Treatment

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There are a lot of lasers and light sources available for you to have done for acne. The first recommendation is to find a board-certified dermatologist who understands the different kinds of acne best and understands which lasers and lights might be the best for you.

We can target the bacteriacausing the acne lesions with things such as blue light alone or with a chemical and blue light known as photodynamic therapy (PDT), which I have published on over the years, and can help many suffering from acne. Blue light alone requires a series of treatments, 1-2 a week for up to 4 weeks, to seesignificant improvement. PDT – the use of a sensitizer put on the skin called Levulan in the U.S., which penetrates into the oil glands, and when subjected to a light source like blue light – or a laser like the pulsed dye laser or the IPL can improve acne pretty quickly. We usually recommend treatments 2 weeks apart, and several treatments may be necessary here. Another great treatment is the Isolaz IPL device, which uses a vacuum apparatus to bring the oil glands closer to the light source. It works really well in most people. Also, a newer device known as the Aerolase Neo is a special 1064 nm wavelength laser that has shown some great clearance in acne, especially in those with darker skin types.

Other devices exist which target the sebaceous glands themselves. The problem with these is most of them have caused pain and so therefore, in 2014, most of these have gone out of favoramong those of us who use a lot of lasers. Pain is not necessary, and the machines we are currently using work really well.

So find the right doctor, one who can offer multiple modalities, and get the best results that you can get.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Acne Laser Treatment

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For our acne treatment program, we use a combination of three lasers and a Blu-light device.

  • Aramis Laser for shrinking the sebaceous glands.
  • Q-switched lasers (Palomar & Hoya Conbio) to kill bacteria and control active acne.
  • Pulsed dye (Cynosure V-star) laser to decrease redness and inflammation as well as activate ALA (aminolevulanic acid) during Photodynamic therapy.
  • Blu-U treatments to activate ALA and/or kill acne bacteria.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews


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I am going to assume that you are not a candidate for Accutane ( ? high triglycerides, increased intracerbral pressure) or hormonal treatment (?male). Accutane is a permanent treatment while laser or Photodynamic therapy is only temporary. I wo;uld always take the permanent cure over the temporary fix all other factors being equal.

That said: there are three choices that I like. One would be the Smoothbeam, a diode laser. This works by killing bacteria and disrupting the sebaceous glands. The second light source that helps is the Isolaz. This is relatively new and works through what the manufacturor calls photopneumatics. The pneumatic energy blows the skin which causes tightening and more efficient use of their broadband light. Finally, photodynamic therapy combines a liquid which sensitizes the bacteria and a light source which then kills it.

My recommendation would be the Isolaz, but as I said I would exhaust traditional treatment first before investing in laser treatment.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Acne Treatment

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Hello and thank you for your question.

Photodynamic therapy is non-invasive and uses light and a photosensitizing agent to improve the appearance of your skin. Specifically, Photodynamic therapy treatment can treat acne, acne scars, minimize pores and reduce the size of the oil glands.  PDT is combined with BLU-U which is a light treatment designed for mild to moderate forms of acne. It is a non-invasive treatment that uses a high intensity blue light to kill acne-causing bacteria.  My recommendation is to first book a consultation with an experienced physician for your skin to be evaluated.

I wish you the best of luck.


Treating Acne with Laser & Light Devices

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Choosing a laser for acne therapy depends on the severity and stage of the acne. Active outbreaks and facial redness can be treated with a low-energy IPL ( Cutera's Limelight or Sciton BBL). Acne scarring will likely need some resurfacing and other stimulating treatments to provide a cell turnover for skin renewal

Ronald Moser, MD
San Juan Capistrano Physician

Laser Acne Treatment

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Smoothbeam is the only FDA approved laser for treatment of acne on the face and body. Also treats acne scars. This treatment has no pain and no downtime. This is an excellent treatment for hard to treat acne.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Erbium and CO2 lasers treat acne scars well

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Good question. Lasers are a great way to resurface the skin and reduce scars. More specifically, there are two lasers that do this exceptionally well. The Erbium laser is a state-of-the-art laser that resurfaces the skin and reduce scars in under an hour. The results are almost instant, and only about 3-4 days of downtime are required.

Another option is the CO2 laser. The CO2 laser penetrates the skin deeper than the Erbium; therefore, the results are a little better, but you would need about 7-10 days of downtime. Also, because this laser is more invasive, you do not need multiple treatments like the Erbium.

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

Laser Acne Treatments

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There are many options available for treatment. Depending on the type of acne you have chemical peels may be a better choice of therapy. There are lasers such as the Smoothbeam, Fraxel, IPL, and treatments such as blue light that can all provide benefit.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Best lasers for Acne

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There are a variety of lasers used for acne treatments; there is no one specific system that works for everyone. Some help by decreasing the bacteria that cause acne. Other lasers used for acne work by shrinking the oil glands that also play a role in causing acne. Some physicians will combine these two different lasers together. It is best to discuss this with your laser dermatologist to discover the best approach to use.

To your health,
Dr. David Goldberg

David Goldberg, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Acne Laser Treatments

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Generally a combination of later treatments is best. Often Isolaz, Red/blue light and Photodynamic therapy do well in combination to give patients the best effect. It depends on what type of ace you have to decide what type of laser treatment is best for you. 
Often patients who have cystic acne do well from multiple PDTs, comedones do well from Isolaz and redness and inflammation do well from Red/blue light but a combination sees the best results.

Eric Schweiger, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

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.