Diode Lasers

Diode Laser Acne Treatment

Diode Lasers are quickly becoming the preferred laser treatment for inflammatory acne. Diode Lasers are used to selectively target and damage the sebaceous glands, reducing sebaceous hyperplasia, sebum secretion and acne symptoms. Diode Lasers are also commonly used in hair removal and scar treatment applications.

How do Diode Lasers work?

Diode Laser Treatment Selectively Damages Sebaceous Glands (Paithankar)
Diode Laser Treatment Selectively Damages Sebaceous Glands (Paithankar)

Diode Lasers use semiconductors as the light source, similar to light emitting diodes (LEDs). There are several different kinds of Diode Lasers. Diode lasers are used in common technology products such as laser pointers and CD/DVD players. The most common Diode Lasers used for the treatment of acne produce a beam of laser light with a wavelength near 1450 nm.

Diode Laser Treatment Selectively Targets Subcutaneous Tissue (Paithankar)
Diode Laser Treatment Selectively Targets Subcutaneous Tissue (Paithankar)

The long wavelength of Diode Lasers is capable of penetrating deeply enough into the cutaneous tissue (skin) to reach the sebaceous glands. The energy from the laser beam is then absorbed by the tissue, which causes thermal damage. This damage can often cause a reduction in the size and activity of a sebaceous gland.

Diode Lasers and Acne Treatment

Diode Laser Treatment of Acne 3 (Jih)
Diode Laser Treatment of Acne 3 (Jih)

The use of diode lasers to treat inflammatory acne is a relatively new procedure. However, there are an increasing number of studies that indicate that diode laser treatment can be an effective treatment for inflammatory acne. Diode Lasers can be used in combination with many other Pharmaceutical and Naturopathic Acne Treatments. Diode Lasers (and other Light and Laser Acne Treatments) are also excellent options for women who are pregnant because there is no risk of exposing the fetus to medications.

Graph of Decrease in Inflammatory Acne After Diode Laser Treatment (Jih)
Graph of Decrease in Inflammatory Acne After Diode Laser Treatment (Jih)

Because Diode Laser treatment can target the sebaceous glands themselves, it is one of the few Light and Laser acne treatments that can offer the promise of providing long-term acne relief. Diode Laser treatment has a semi-permanent effect on the treated sebaceous glands and can lead to long-term reduction of sebum production in the treated region. Because hyper-active sebaceous glands and the overproduction of sebum directly contribute to the development of acne symptoms, Diode Laser treatment can significantly improve symptoms for many acne patients.

Diode Laser Treatment of Acne 1 (Jih)
Diode Laser Treatment of Acne 1 (Jih)

Several scientific research studies have reported that Diode Laser treatment can provide-long term improvement in acne symptoms for many patients.

Diode Lasers are also occasionally used for the treatment of acne scars. They have been reported to be somewhat effective as an acne scar treatment, although other modalities, such as Er:YAG and C02 lasers are more popular for this application.

How and Where are Diode Laser Treatment administered?

Smoothbeam Diode Laser Treatment
Smoothbeam Diode Laser Treatment

Like other forms of laser therapy, diode laser treatment is almost exclusively provided in a dermatology clinic or hospital environment. Diode Lasers only improve acne symptoms in the areas of the skin that are treated. Therefore, Diode Lasers can be cost effective for patients with small, defined areas that are affected by acne. But the cost can be much higher for individuals with large regions of skin that require treatment.

Individual diode laser treatments of facial acne usually cost between $200 and $400 dollars. Generally speaking, a treatment plan includes 3 separate sessions about a month or two apart. Some practitioners may recommend a yearly or bi-annual maintenance session.

Popular Diode Laser Systems

Acure, Lightsheer, Smoothbeam, Velas.

Diode Laser Acne Treatment Images

References

Use of Lasers and Light-Based Therapies for Treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Mariwalla, et al. 2005.
Acne Treatment With a 1,450 nm Wavelength Laser and Cryogen Spray Cooling. Paithankar, et al. 2002.
Sebaceous Hyperplasia Treated With a 1450-nm Diode Laser. No, et al. 2004.
The 1,450-nm Diode Laser Reduces Sebum Production in Facial Skin: A Possible Mode of Action of Its Effectiveness for the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Perez-Maldonado, et al. 2007. 
The 1450-nm diode laser for facial inflammatory acne vulgaris: Dose-response and 12-month follow-up study. Jih, et al. 2006.
Treatment of Inflammatory Facial Acne Vulgaris with the 1450-nm Diode Laser: A Pilot Study. Friedman, et al. 2004. 
Smoothbeam Patient Reviews @ Realself
Diode Lasers @ Wikipedia