We asked an expert what actually happens during laser treatment for acne

One expert revealed all

If the best acne treatments on the market don’t seem to be making a difference to the condition of your skin, it may be time to consult a professional and look into laser treatment for acne.

You may have already started looking into your options and feel a little out of your depth with all of the information out there, so we’ve made it a little easier for you. Whether you’ve got maturer skin or are struggling with acne in your twenties ,we spoke to acne expert and Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Daniel Glass, of The Dermatology Clinic London to find out everything you need to know if you’re considering the procedure.

What is laser treatment for acne, and how does it work?

During laser treatment, the affected area(s) of skin are treated with light therapy to minimise bacteria levels and calm the skin.

‘In theory, light-based treatments work in two ways,’ says Dr Glass. ‘Firstly, by destroying the bacteria that causes the acne, and secondly by decreasing inflammation by “switching off” a number of inflammatory chemicals.’

What happens at your first laser treatment?

First things first, you’ll be invited for an initial consultation to discuss all treatment options and find the right one for you. This is your opportunity to ask any questions you might have regarding the procedure, side effects etc.

After the initial consultation, you’ll be invited to do a patch test before you start treatment. This is likely to be behind the ear or below the jawline, according to Dr Glass, and is to ensure you have no adverse reaction to laser treatment.

If this is successful. ‘Patients will often have a local anaesthetic cream applied to the area of the skin being treated about 40 minutes before the treatment starts,’ Dr Glass says. The treatment itself usually takes 30 minutes, so you can expect to be done in less than an hour and a half.

Does laser treatment hurt?

Unfortunately the treatment is likely to be a bit painful, although you’ll likely have an anaesthetic applied first.

‘Light or laser treatment can cause some discomfort or pain,’ says Dr Glass. ‘Following treatment, there is often some redness and swelling of the skin.’ If you’re worried about the after-effects of the treatment, contact the clinic or your GP for advice.

What happens during the recovery period?

Your recovery depends on the type and intensity of the laser and number of passes across the skin, says Dr Glass, so it varies on a case by case basis.

As well as redness and swelling, you may experience some crusting of the skin. ‘There is also a risk of change in pigmentation of your skin with laser treatment, which can be either darker or lighter,’ he adds.

How much does laser treatment for acne cost?

Of course, treatment prices will vary from clinic to clinic, but at a central London clinic you’re looking at a price of around £500 per treatment. For laser treatment for acne to be properly effective, it needs to be repeated regularly for best results, says Dr Glass.

And finally, always ensure that your chosen clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission – as The Dermatology Clinic is. Aside from medical professionals, the cosmetic treatment industry remains largely unregulated, so ensure you do your research before paying for or undergoing any treatment.

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