Acne laser treatment

A Sebum-Targeting Laser

A 1,726nm laser prototype presents a potential energy-based cure for acne.
1,927nm laser for acne

For close to a decade, R. Rox Anderson, MD, PhD, and Fernanda Sakamoto, MD, of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine in Boston have been working to develop a laser that can permanently destroy sebaceous glands, offering a potential cure for acne. “If you look at the sebaceous glands, you don't see any pigment in them, yet there are wavelengths in the infrared range where the lipids—the wax esters that are in the gland, in particular—have stronger absorption than the surrounding tissue,” Dr. Anderson explained to MedEsthetics back in 2010.

Acne-Inhibiting PDT Protocol

ALA-PDT with high-fluence red light has shown impressive results in reducing acne lesions. Unfortunately, the pain and swelling associated with the treatment make it a poor choice for acne patients, particularly those with facial acne. In an effort to maintain results but reduce pain, Fernanda Sakamoto, MD, and her colleagues performed a randomized, double-blinded control study to compare conventional ALA-PDT to a new inhibitory PDT method (iPDT) that involves irradiating the aminolevulinic acid (ALA) with low-levels of blue light during the incubation period.

A Sebum-Targeting Wavelength

Sebum Targeting Wavelength

Building on earlier research conducted by R. Rox Anderson, MD, that identified 1720nm as a wavelength capable of selectively targeting sebum, William Lewis, MD, presented a study using two prototype diode lasers—1700nm and 1720nm—to create selective photothermolysis of the sebaceous glands. The researchers irradiated porcine ear secretions using no cooling, and then stained them with nitro blue tetrazolium chloride staining (NBTC) to detect thermal denaturation. Preliminary findings showed greater selectivity for sebum at 1720nm versus 1700nm—Dr.