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Acne is particularly common during our teenage years, although it can affect people of any age. Often made worse by stress, the illness can be something of a Catch 22 situation. While mild cases can be treated relatively quickly, the skin condition often attacks strongly and repeated attacks can be distressing. The fact that the illness affects our physical appearance – often at times when we are particularly vulnerable – only makes things worse. Depending on the strength of the attack, a range of different options are available for treatment. For many, using topical creams which are applied daily can limit the outbreaks and improve skin condition; while in more extreme cases medication, hormonal treatments may be required. The latest treatment for acne includes blue light therapy; this has been pioneered in the US and is now becoming widely available in the UK. The treatment can now claim the accolade “As Seen on TV” after appearances on the show Embarrassing Bodies. Until recently the treatment was only available in clinics, although home therapy devices are now becoming available, offering an affordable alternative to traditional treatments.
Light and laser treatments have gained increasing popularity in the last twenty years for a range of purposes, from laser surgery to simple laser hair removal. Light can be emitted at different frequencies to attack specific cells, leaving surrounding tissues unharmed. In the case of blue light acne treatments the “blue” refers to the spectrum of light emitted which targets bacteria in the skin. Acne is caused by hormonal changes which increase the production of natural skin oils, which themselves are a food source for naturally occurring bacteria found on human skin. The over-production of the oil leads to rapid growth in the number of bacteria which cause inflammation around the pores. The bacteria are targeted by the light emitted in this type of treatment which literally arrests the source of the inflammation. Unlike creams or washes, the light doesn’t adversely affect the skin, cause dryness or further irritation.
Clinical treatments can start at around £250, ranging to at least £500. One specialist clinic that operates in several major UK cities recommends a minimum of three sessions, each of which is thirty minutes long. The treatment is estimated by the clinic to demonstrate improvements after the second session and claims that these will last for up to ten months. There is a “but”, as so often in life, and the results will vary in every individual case. More extreme conditions may require more sessions and results may not last as long, or have a visible effect quickly. While clinical treatments have clearly demonstrated the possibilities of blue light therapy the cost is significant and the scope of “ands” and “buts” seems to be broad.
Home laser therapy treatments have been licensed in the US for some time and they have only recently become available in the UK. In terms of cost, as would be expected, the home version seems to offer significant advantages. One system, the TRIA Blue light acne system is currently marketed at £229 with refill cartridges available at £25 – these last for 60 days. The initial cost, however, is only part of the equation; for those suffering from more serious acne it’s a consideration, but not the only one. The TRIA Blue light acne systems have been shown to be as effective as clinical treatments but treatment times are only three minutes twice a day, or six once a day, and can be completed quickly and easily at home. Results are reported to be visible very quickly, with claims that within two weeks a 70% reduction in the appearance of acne can be effected. Ultimately, as with any home devices, the system has the distinct advantage that it can be re-used over the years as required, which makes the home treatment system a serious contender in the acne treatment field. Although new to the market, as a real solution for many acne sufferers, it seems likely that the “gold” standard will soon be blue.
The TRIA blue light acne treatment is one product offering a real revolution for acne sufferers. Using the same technology as clinical light treatments, the system offers a well-priced, long term solution to combat the effects of acne.
Charlotte actively blogs about fashion, beauty, food and drink, covering everything from the latest fashion trends to tasty food. In her spare time she loves shopping, discovering new products and enjoys getting lost in new places as she writes away.