Acne is a common skin problem that is highly pervasive, and it affects everyone from teenagers experiencing puberty to those well in adulthood. Also known as acne vulgaris, it is formed as a result of blockages in the hair follicles and the accompanying sebaceous gland.
These oil-producing sebaceous glands release sebum, and in some, they are produced more than others. As such, the oil glands become blocked and leads to the formation of comedones. Sometimes, bacteria in the deeper part of the hair follicle act upon the sebum – making the area red and inflamed, and resulting in pimples.
What are the types of acne?
Acne can be classified as noninflammatory and inflammatory.
Noninflammatory acne is characterized by comedones, which are sebaceous plugs that form when there is blockage in the hair follicle. They appear as flesh-coloured bumps, and termed as closed comedones (whiteheads) or open comedones (blackheads).
Inflammatory acne is characterized by papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. They occur when P.acnes, normally present in the hair follicle, breaks down the sebum into substances that irritate the skin. This elicits an inflammatory response and the inflamed follicle ruptures into the dermis, appearing as reddened, raised and solid bumps that may also contain pus. Nodules and cysts are caused by deeper inflammation. These are severe acne that appear as large, red and painful bumps on the skin.
By seeking acne treatment sooner, the number of acne lesions can be reduced which lowers the risk of scars that can last a lifetime. These scars can be tiny, deep holes or large, irregular indentations.
A new approach to treating acne
Gold Photothermal Therapy (PTT) treatment delivers gold nanoparticles into the pores and glands before heating them with a dermatology laser. The purpose of the targeted heating is to modify the pores and glands responsible for creating acne to reduce the amount of oil produced, thus treating acne at the source.
By using laser to convert light into heat, photothermal therapy (PTT) enables local therapeutic hyperthermia of tissue. Noble-metal materials such as gold are selected due to their highly desirable and tunable optical properties for various therapeutic applications. When used as an acne treatment, gold nanoparticles generate heat when excited by a specific wavelength of light, therefore heating and modifying the sebaceous follicles associated with acne.
What is the procedure of Gold PTT?
Gold PTT treatment is designed to address facial acne and involves 4 steps:
• Facial cleansing
• Using Bellasonic Ultrasound to pulse the gold particles into the oil glands
• Laser treatment to heat up the gold and the oil glands
The procedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Treatment begins with a thorough cleansing of your face before the doctor massages the gold nanoparticles into the skin. These will penetrate the pores and sebaceous follicles. Your skin will be cooled before laser application takes place. The gold nanoparticles will be activated upon the light to create a focused photo-thermal effect that decreases the activity level of the sebaceous gland and follicle. As such, excessive oil and clogged pores are prevented which eliminates the formation of acne.
What are the expected results?
There are three treatment sessions over a 1-week period. You can expect improvement in your acne around 6 weeks after the last treatment. In a controlled clinical trial, gold nanoparticles were found to reduce the appearance of inflammatory acne lesions effectively. Patients showed an average improvement of 34% at 3 months and inflammatory lesion count was 60% reduced at 6 months.
Advantages of Gold PTT treatment
• No downtime
• Localized treatment of acne
No anesthesia necessary
Who is a candidate for Gold PTT treatment?
Anyone who is suffering from mild to cystic acne and those with frequent acne breakouts. The procedure targets the sebaceous glands that produce oil and this plays a role in the formation of new acne lesions. Our doctor will also conduct a clinical assessment and determine if the treatment is suitable for you.
Does the procedure hurt?
Most patients describe the feeling as tiny pin pricks or the sensation of a small rubber band snapping against the skin.
What is the recovery time?
Your skin can display some redness but this typically returns to normal within a few hours to a day or two. You can return to your daily routine immediately following the procedure.
Are there any side effects?
The laser therapy may result in temporary effects that should resolve within a month. These may include mild to moderate redness, skin dryness or itching, and discomfort at treatment site.
For patients with recent facial treatments (exfoliation, peeling, laser), can they start with the Gold PTT treatment?
As every individual’s response to facial treatments mentioned above differs, our doctor will evaluate your response to the facial treatment you’ve went through and determine when it is appropriate to start the Gold PTT treatment.
How is it different from other laser acne treatments?
Gold nanoparticles are localized in sebaceous follicles which provides thermal heating of the pores and sebaceous glands. This will not be possible with light sources alone.