Light and Laser Acne Treatments

Light and Laser Treatments use high-intensity light sources to treat active acne and acne scars.


Light and Laser treatments are an increasingly popular way to treat acne symptoms. There are a wide range of these systems available. Most Light and Laser treatments for active acne symptoms are non-invasive and can be combined with Pharmaceutical, Naturopathic and OTC acne treatments to create comprehensive acne treatment regimens.

Light and Laser Treatments for acne can be divided into two major categories: Treatments for Active Acne and Treatments for Acne Scars. This page is devoted to Light and Laser treatments for active acne. The page for laser treatment of acne scars canbe found here.

Light and Laser Treatment for Active Acne

Several Light and Laser treatments have been shown to improve acne symptoms. However, the benefits of these treatments are often temporary. For many patients, treatments must be repeated on a regular basis to achieve the maximum benefit. These treatments also tend to be more expensive than many of the common Pharmaceutical treatments that are available. Nonetheless, Light and Laser treatments are excellent options for most people, especially when used in combination with other types of treatments. Below is our complete guide to the Light and Laser Treatments available for Active Acne.

Blue Light Phototherapy

Blue Light Phototherapy is a treatment for acne that uses high intensity blue light (~415 nm) to directly kill acne-causing Propionibacterium acnes bacteria that are growing in the skin. P. acnes bacteria produce a molecule called porphyrin that produces free radicals when exposed to high intensity blue light. Blue Light Phototherapy works by causing porphyrin to produce enough free radicals to damage and kill P. acnes bacteria.

Diode Lasers

Diode Lasers are becoming a popular 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. The benefits of Diode Laser acne treatment are often longer-lasting than many other light and laser therapies.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy uses short bursts of high intensity light to treat a variety of skin conditions. IPL is most commonly used for photo-rejuvenation procedures and to treat mild skin discolorations caused by hyper-pigmentation. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is also occasionally used to treat active acne symptoms and certain types of mild acne scars.

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. KTP Lasers are occassionaly used as the light source for Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) of active acne.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is the generic name for a class of treatments that use specialized medications called photosensitizers to increase the effectiveness of a light-based treatment. PDT is used treat certain types of skin problems, including acne and some forms of cancer. Numerous clinical research studies have reported that Photodynamic therapy (PDT) can decrease bacterial levels in the skin and help improve acne symptoms. PDT appears to be more effective for treating inflammatory acne lesions (Acne Types: 2-4) than non-inflammatory acne lesions (Acne Types: 1-2).

Ultraviolet Light (UV) and Tanning

Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths that are just shorter than visible light. UV light is most commonly found in sunlight and artificial UV sources, such as tanning beds and blacklights. Exposure to UV light causes significant changes in the affected skin tissue, and these changes can impact acne symptoms. Many people strongly believe that tanning improves their complexion.