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Alternative Ways to Treat Acne in Teenagers

February 13, 2013

Alternative procedures to treat acne

These include:

  • light therapy;
  • laser resurfacing therapy;
  • cosmetic procedures such as:
    • skin peeling;
    • dermabrasion or microdermabrasion; and
  • cortisone injections.

Use of light therapy to treat acne

Officially known as photodynamic therapy (PDT). The bacteria causing redness and swelling of the skin in acne may be destroyed by exposure to light. The light is also thought to shrink oil glands in the skin. Usually, blue light or a combination of blue and red light wavelength is used in light therapy to treat acne.

The affected skin is directly exposed to a continuous or intense pulsed light. Treatment is typically over a course of one or two sessions a week over four to five weeks.

Side effects include:

  • extreme sensitivity to light after the treatment;
  • temporary redness of the skin;
  • crusting and peeling in treated areas.

Blue light therapy products are available online or in major pharmacies, chemists, and drugstores.

Use of laser resurfacing therapy to treat acne

Laser resurfacing therapy is a procedure that uses a laser technology to improve skin appearance. There are two types of laser resurfacing therapy used to treat acne:

  • Ablative laser resurfacing therapy which removes layers of skin;
  • Non-ablative laser resurfacing therapy which stimulates collagen growth and tightens skin.

Non-ablative laser resurfacing therapy is less effective as ablative laser resurfacing therapy to treat acne.

Use of cosmetic procedures to treat acne

Chemical peels are mild acids applied to the skin. When used as part of a comprehensive acne treatment plan, chemical peels treat acne by:

  • removing whiteheads, blackheads and dead skin cells;
  • unclog pores, and
  • generate new skin growth.

Side effects include:

  • redness of the skin;
  • peeling of skin;
  • possible blisters and crusts of acne lesion and surrounding skin;
  • abnormal skin coloring.

Microdermabrasion uses tiny crystals to abrade or ‘polish’ the surface of the skin. Microdermabrasion is usually carried out by a technician using a handheld device to blow and remove crystals and dead cells.

Use of cortisone or steroid injections to treat acne

Cortisone or steroid injections are used to treat acne nodules or cysts in severe cystic acne. The cortisone injected into the acne lesion reduces inflammation and lumps beneath the skin surface. Recovery and reduction of swelling of the acne nodule or cyst is in two to four days compared to weeks if the acne nodule or cyst is left on its own to resolve itself.

Side effects include:

  • thinning of skin;
  • the appearance of small blood vessels in the skin; and
  • lighter skin tone.