Millions of Americans suffer from acne and the zit zapping business is a multi-billion dollar industry. While there have been lasers used for acne treatment there hasn't been a laser devoted to treating only acne, but that may soon change.
Dr. Rox Anderson, President of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) and one of the researchers at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston recently announced that a laser for acne is being developed. Announced at the annual meeting of the Florida Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Dr. Anderson said that he and fellow Dr. Fernanda Sakamoto have found a wavelength that provides "nice histology with topical pulses in human skin at 1720-nm [from] selective heating of the sebaceous gland." Dr. Anderson said, "Can we cure acne? We have better odds than a Red Sox game."
The oil producing sebaceous glands are best treated with a laser set to a 1210-nm or 1726-nm wavelength. These glands aren't new territory - they are in the same hair cell treated by hair removal lasers, but none of the lasers hit those wavelengths. Dr. Anderson decided to solve the problem by heading to the "Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator facility in Virginia : which can tune to any wavelength," Dr. Anderson said. There he and Dr. Sakamoto discovered the benefits of the 1720-nm laser.
Dr. Anderson and his team are working at Wellman to refine the technology. He said, "I'm hoping to tell you at some point in the future there will be a laser for acne."