Acne Treatments

Acne Vulgaris

Affecting more than 80% of young people, acne vulgaris is the most common skin disease treated by physicians. Current topical and oral medications are designed to counteract micro-comedone formation, sebum production, and inflammation as well as kill the Propionibacterium ames (P. acnes) bacterium.

For acute acne flare ups, the goal is to minimize permanent scar formation. This means a short course of prednisone for 1-2 weeks, oral and topical antibiotics, facial cleansers and tretinoin are the mainstay of medical management.However, issues about the short-term tolerability and long-term risks of retinoids and antibiotics have generated interest in alternative therapies.

Excessive sebum secretion and P. acnes play major roles in the pathogenesis of acne. Radiofrequency (RF) energy appears to decrease sebum secretion, and blue light (410 nm) destroys P. acnes.

P. acnes and other bacteria are sensitive to visible light because they synthesize porphyrins, specifically protoporphyrin IX (PpIX),’ which, in the presence of oxygen, is converted to cytotoxic singlet oxygen.’” PplX has absorption peaks at 410, 505, 540, 580, and 630 nm, which makes this bacterium susceptible to light therapy. Among these wavelengths, the 410-nm wavelength (blue) light is the most strongly absorbed by PpIX. However, blue light, does not penetrate as deeply as the longer, less strongly absorbed wavelengths.

In conclusion, multimodality RF therapy combined with light therapy of various wavelengths (410 nm-630 nm) is indicated in the treatment of acne vulgaris. These therapies are well tolerated, have minimal downtime and provide long-term results, while avoiding the long-term risks associated with chemical agents.