Light Therapy for Bacterial Acne
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for
Israeli-based Lumenis Inc. to market the ClearLight system, which uses
a narrow-band, high-intensity light known as blue light to attack the
bacteria in pimples.
Blue light is not ultraviolet light, which can damage skin, and
it isn't a variation of laser therapy, either. The FDA points out that
tests have shown this type of treatment works only on inflammatory
acne, which is caused by bacteria. So it won't work on pockmarked faces
that result from severe acne.
The Associated Press quotes Neil Ogden, FDA's director of
general-surgery devices, as saying that ClearLight is thought to cause
no side effects.
According to Lumenis, the clinical trials involved about 48
patients with moderate inflammatory acne. Half the face was treated
with the ClearLight, and it was compared with the untreated side of the
The results weren't overwhelming, but they were encouraging,
according to what Ogden told the AP. About half the patients who
finished all eight treatments had at least a 50 percent decrease in the
number of pimples, he said.
Prescription drugs like Accutane and several antibiotics are
used to treat the most difficult cases of acne. There are also a wide
variety of over-the-counter medications and creams available.
Lumenis says its ClearLight system is designed to be used by dermatologists.