Acne vulgaris is a very common skin problem, affecting around 85% of adults under 24 and around 50% of people over 25. Acne is a chronic skin problem that causes psychological discomfort. Adult acne, which affects an increasing proportion of the population, usually progresses from a chronic form. Most people with this problem do not achieve the desired results with modern medical treatments.
The difficulty in succumbing to medical treatment of acne, the persistence of the acne problem, the lack of effective treatment of acne vulgaris, the increase in the prevalence of Propionebacterium (one of the causes of acne vulgaris), the lack of sensitivity to antibiotics (from 20 % in 1978, to 62 % in 1996), and the side-effects of antibiotics, retinoids, and other acne drugs have all pushed the scientific community to look for improved acne treatment methods.
The specialists at our centre will recommend an acne treatment programme that suits you individually. Currently, our centre can offer a wide range of acne acne treatments, from traditional medication to state-of-the-art light therapy. You can also experience Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or a combination of these treatments.
Light therapy has been shown to produce significant changes in acne-prone skin, with an 80 per cent reduction in the inflammatory elements of acne, improved skin colour, elasticity, immune properties, appearance, and a healthier, more rejuvenated complexion.
What is acne?
Acne is a chronic inflammation of the sebaceous gland and the upper part of the hair follicle of the skinAcne is a chronic inflammation of the sebaceous gland and the upper part of the hair follicle of the skin. Acne varies in severity from a subtle impairment of skin functions to nodular, cystic forms and infiltrates accompanied by severe inflammation. Acne affects the face, neck, back and shoulders and is accompanied by pustules, blackheads – comedones, firm bumps – papules, painful red nodules and larger pustular swellings – cystic acne. If left untreated for a long time, they can leave permanent pitted scars, which is why acne treatment is essential to avoid such consequences.
How does acne occur ?
Comedogenesis – the appearance of comedones
In acne, the keratinocytes (epidermal cells), instead of detaching from the surface of the skin, stick together and block the hair follicle, thus preventing sebum secreted by the glands from reaching the surface. The accumulated sebum hardens and white and black pimples – comedones (incrustations) – form in the hair sac.
Propionebacterium acne, a bacterium that is permanently present on the surface of the skin, colonises the blocked follicle.
Acne and abscesses caused by increased activity of the sebaceous glands of the skin. For some reason, the sebaceous glands are over-sensitive to increased testosterone levels, secreting much more sebum than normal, which clogs the hair sac and encourages the growth of bacteria (propionebacterium acnes).
The result of the interaction between the abundant sebum and the bacteria is inflammation and red, pustular acne. A chronic inflammatory process develops.
Where does acne occur?
Acne can occur in different areas of the body – on the face, neck, scalp under the hair, shoulders, chest, back, arms, legs.
How is acne treated?
Treating acne is complex and not always effective. The most common combination therapy is oral antibiotics, contraceptives, the synthetic retinoid Roaccutane and topical medications. Medical treatment of acne alone is often short-lived and does not produce good enough results, and regular medication often has side effects. With the advent of light therapy, significant positive changes have been achieved, providing much more effective and faster results in the treatment of acne.
How does light therapy work in the treatment of acne?
P. acnes bacteria endogenously secrete the photosensitive coproporphyrin III and protoporphyrin. Light therapy stimulates the porphyrins, causing them to release intracellular O2, leading to bacterial death. This eliminates the inflammatory process.
Light therapy has been shown in clinical trials to improve acne by up to 80%. Improvement is seen even in the case of cystic, a severe inflammatory form of acne, and in those for whom retinoid treatment has been ineffective. The anti-inflammatory action of light therapy reduces the erythema (redness) caused by acne, and the reduced inflammatory response reduces the possibility of subacne scarring. Clinical studies have shown that light used to treat acne stimulates fibroblasts, increasing collagen production and turnover in the skin, resulting in healthier, rejuvenated skin around acne-affected areas.
The mechanism of action of light therapy also stimulates the immunological function of the skin. As a result, the improvement in acne persists long after the last treatment.
In the case of severe acne, photodynamic therapy can be used in combination with the topical photosensitiser 5-Aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), in which case a post-treatment period is possible, which you should discuss with your doctor.
Advantages of light therapy in the treatment of acne:
The procedure is painless, there is no erythema or post-treatment period and it can be performed at any time convenient for the patient;
The reduction of inflammatory lesions lasts up to 16 weeks after acne treatment;
More than 75% of patients find the treatment effective;
Non-invasive, relaxing procedure.
How will the light therapy treatment work?
Once you are comfortably seated, the Light Therapy treatment will begin with a facial cleansing. You will be fitted with goggles to protect your eyes. Each pulse of light affects a wide area of skin. The treatment lasts 20-30 minutes. The treatment is painless and you will be able to relax during the treatment. Depending on the form and severity of the acne, minimal or no erythema may occur after the treatment, so you can simply have the acne treatment on your lunch break.
When should light therapy for acne not be performed?
Certain diseases such as porphyria, autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, albinism, sun allergy will not be treated.
How many treatments should I have for acne?
The number of treatments to achieve a therapeutic effect is selected individually. On average, 8 treatments are carried out every 4 weeks.
Is the procedure painful?
The acne treatment is completely painless.
What can I expect after the treatment?
Light therapy is non-invasive and safe for patients. The light stimulates the cells without causing damage to the dermis and epidermis, so there is no erythema, no peeling, no blistering, no post-treatment period after the acne treatment – the treatment can also be carried out during working hours, on lunch breaks. Light therapy can be used to treat wide areas of the skin, such as the face and chest. The patient can relax during the treatment.
On average, light therapy has reduced inflammatory acne lesions by up to 81%. Patients notice a reduction in inflammatory lesions after just 4 treatments (2 weeks after starting treatment). Optimal results are achieved 4-12 weeks after the last acne treatment. Light stimulates the immunological function of the skin, which is why acne treatment is individualised and even if the disease is incurable, ways are sought to improve the patient’s comfort and overall condition.
Acne treatment with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Acne is one of the most common skin diseases, usually affecting adolescents, but often also affecting older people. There are many forms of acne, which our specialists will assess and recommend an acne treatment programme to suit your individual needs. Currently, our centre can offer a range of acne treatments, from traditional medical treatments to state-of-the-art acne treatments using light therapy (blue and red light, intense pulsed light (IPS)) or a combination of these treatments.
The principle of action of IPS therapy is based on photochemical and photothermal effects, which result in:
- killing the bacterium P. Acnes, which is involved in the development of acne,
- reducing inflammation
- reducing sebaceous gland activity
- Redness is reduced by acting on the small blood vessels in the skin
- stimulates the production of collagen fibres (makes scars less visible)
- Intense pulsed light is suitable for treating both inflammatory acne and red spots or red scars left over from acne rashes.
How is the acne treatment with Intense Pulsed Light performed?
The patient is placed on a medical couch and goggles are applied. A cooling gel is applied to the treated skin area to relieve slight pain and redness. The procedure may cause some discomfort, but modern equipment minimises this.
How many treatments will be required?
The number of treatments is individual to each case. On average, 4-5 treatments are performed every 3-4 weeks. It is best to schedule treatments during the autumn-winter period, as the treatment cannot be performed if the skin is tanned.
Is acne treatment with intense pulsed light painless and safe?
Acne treatment with Intense Pulsed Light is a painless, non-invasive, non-post-treatment and completely safe procedure for patients, suitable for a wide range of skin types, adapted to both male and female skin types. Depending on the form and severity of the acne, minimal or no redness may occur after the acne treatment, which means that the acne treatment can be carried out simply during the lunch break.
Benefits of intense pulsed light for acne treatment:
- Safe, side-effect-free, painless acne treatment suitable for patients of all ages and genders
- acne treatment without the use of medicines
- positive effect after a small number of treatments
- not only treats acne and acne scars, but also reduces the possibility of scarring, improves skin colour, elasticity, immune properties and rejuvenation.