KTP Lasers

KTP lasers are commonly used for minimally invasive ablation and coagulation treatments. KTP lasers have also been used to treat rosacea, spider veins, hyper-pigmented spots and acne, although it is an uncommon acne treatment.

When used for the treatment of acne scars, lower-power KTP lasers that are non-ablative or partially ablative are most commonly used. KTP Lasers are also occassionaly used for Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) of active acne.

KTP lasers are modified Nd:YAG lasers that produce a laser beams with a wavelength near 532 nm (green). In a KTP laser, an Nd:YAG laser beam (infra-red) is used to illuminate a crystal of potassium titanyl phosphate (KTP), to generate another laser (green).

The green light produced by the KTP laser is readily absorbed by skin pigments (eg. melanin) and blood (eg. oxyhemoglobin). This selectivity, allows KTP lasers to efficiently targeting of pigmented lesions and spider veins.

KTP Lasers are occassionally used to treat minor skin discoloration associated with acne scars (eg. hyper-pigmented and erythematous acne scars). KTP Lasers are generally ineffective treatments for most types of acne scarring. For the treatment of moderate to severe acne scars, laser resurfacing technologies that use CO2, Er:YAG and Nd:YAG Lasers are the most common platforms.

Low power KTP Lasers can theoretically be used for the treatment of active acne. In these application, KTP lasers can be used as a form of light therapy and/or Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) to directly target acne-causing Propionibacterium acnes bacteria living in follicles. The green light generated by KTP lasers can activate molecules in P. acnes bacteria called porphyrins. Activation of the bacterial porphyrin releases free radical molecules, which can kill the bacteria. This mechanism of action is the same as that for Blue Light Phototherapy acne treatment. Although green light is less effective at activating porphyrins then blue light, it is able to penetrate more deeply into the skin tissue.

Blue Light Therapy is more popular than KTP Lasers for the treatment of active acne because it has less risk and a lower cost. KTP lasers are not used to treat active acne by most dermatologists. However, there have been scientific research studies that have reported KTP lasers are moderately effective at improving acne symptoms, with results similar to blue light therapy.

The published research indicates that KTP laser treatment does lead to a moderate decrease in the number and severity of acne lesions. In addition, KTP lasers also apparently lead to a moderate decrease in the sebum production in treated areas, although the mechanism is not understood and those results need to be independently validated.

Popular KTP Laser Systems

Aura, DioLite, VariLite

References

Nonablative Phototherapy for Acne Vulgaris Using the KTP 532 nm Laser. Baugh, et al. 2005.
Effects of 532 nm KTP Laser Exposure on Acne and Sebaceous Glands. Bowes, et al. 2003.
Use of the KTP Laser in the Treatment of Rosacea and Solar Lentigines. Bassichis, et al. 2004.