Lifestyle and home remedies (1)
- Over-the-counter acne products: What works and why
Treatments and drugs (5)
- Acne treatments: Medical procedures may help clear skin
- Chemical peel
- see all in Treatments and drugs
Acne treatments: Medical procedures may help clear skin
Medical procedures, such as light therapy or chemical peels, may help clear stubborn acne. Learn more about these acne treatments.By Mayo Clinic staff
CLICK TO ENLARGE
|How acne develops|
Acne treatments aren't a one-size-fits-all commodity. If prescription creams and antibiotics aren't working for you — or if you can't tolerate the side effects these medications can cause — you might consider acne treatments that can be provided at your doctor's office.
Ranging from blue-light therapy to chemical peels, several types of office-based medical procedures have been found to be effective acne treatments for many people.
Regardless of which acne treatments you use, try to keep your expectations realistic. Acne can't be cured, only controlled. You won't start seeing improvements from most treatments for four to eight weeks, and your acne might appear worse before it gets better.
The redness and swelling that can occur with acne is caused by a type of bacteria that can be killed by exposing your skin to different types of light. Blue light is the most commonly used wavelength, although a combination of blue light and red light also appears to be effective.
Before the procedure, your doctor might apply a medication to your skin to make it more sensitive to light. Multiple treatment sessions are usually necessary with light therapy. Side effects can include temporary redness, crusting and peeling in the treated areas.
The acne bacteria can also be killed with pulsed light and heat energy. These treatments also shrink oil (sebaceous) glands, which decreases oil production. Side effects include temporary redness in the treated areas.Next page
(1 of 2)
- Sakamoto FH, et al. Photodynamic therapy for acne vulgaris: A critical review from the basics to clinical practice. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2010;63:183.
- Dover JS, et al. Light-based, adjunctive and other therapies for acne vulgaris. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 22, 2012.
- Acne: Diagnosis, treatment and outcome. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/acne/diagnosis-treatment. Accessed June 22, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012:5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=291436269-101. Accessed June 25, 2012.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Photodynamic therapy: Blue light treatment for skin conditions. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.