Can Light Therapy Treat Problem Skin?

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You may have problem skin that you find may make your skin appearance unsightly. This may be for instance, because you have blemishes or uneven colouring of your skin. Problem skin may range from cases that are caused by a medical disorder to very much milder problems that have unknown causes.  Problem skin for you may be anything from your skin occasionally appearing bumpy or flaky which is different compared to your usual or main skin appearance to continually having severe acne that never seems to improve. Whatever the problems are that you may have with your skin, having problem skin can really reduce your self-confidence. You may feel embarrassed, self-conscious and awkward in social situations. This may lead to avoiding certain social situations and negatively impacting on the quality of your life.

Examples of problem skin may be;

  • Flaky/dry skin  
  • oily skin
  • rash, bumpy skin
  • cellulite (small molecules of fat and fluid at the skins surface)
  • blackheads (pores blocked with oil (sebum))
  • open pores (visible pores that are visible because they are blocked with sebum and skin cells)
  • milia (tiny white raised bumps (cysts))
  • pigmented areas of skin which are of a different colour (such as vitiligo or photoaging)
  • ageing skin (photoaging that produces for example wrinkles or fine lines)
  • spider veins also called telangiectasias (tiny blood vessels permanently apparent at the skins surface)

Examples of problem skin with known causes such as medical conditions may be;

  • fungal infections
  • excess hair growth
  • eczema (itchy, red/swollen skin)
  • acne and/or acne scarring
  • rosacea (flushing, redness, bumpy skin, inflammation present ). There are four types with predominance for certain symptoms to occur in each type i.e. more redness in type in 1 whereas type 2 results with more bumpiness
  • seborrheic dermatitis (that may occur with rosacea) an inflammatory condition involving glands producing sebum
  • psoriasis (itchy/sore red raised patches of thickened skin)

Light therapy treatments are used and clinically proven to treat some types of problem skin. These treatments are designed to improve problem skin and some treatments are more effective for specific types of problem skin. Treatments can be invasive or non-invasive. Invasive treatment (such as laser treatment or ablation) involve a physical penetration into the skin, whereas non-invasive treatment does not break into the skins surface. Invasive treatments for problem skin are associated with increased pain and side effects because after invasive treatment the skin surface is affected by bleeding, scabbing, swelling and bruising. Non-invasive light therapy treatments such as IPL (intense pulsed light) treatment and UV light exposure may also be associated with pain from skin reddening/swelling similarly to sun burn although this is still reported to be much less painful compared to invasive treatments such as laser ablation. Non-invasive Omnilux light therapy on the other hand is not reported to be painful and does not result with reddening or swelling of your skin.

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