Light and Energy-Based Therapies

Cosmetic and medical use of specific frequencies of light and sources of energy have been employed for decades to successfully treat various skin conditions in a safe and controlled manner. Several categories of light are currently utilized including ultraviolet (including several forms of UVB and UVA), visible (including Blue, Red and low level), Infrared, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and LASER, while energy-based therapies include radiofrequency and ultrasound technology.

Ultraviolet: Ultraviolet light (UV) is divided into two major types, UVB and UVA. UVC is the third category that is filtered by the ozone layer so we essentially get no exposure to this (which is a great thing). Medically controlled UVB and UVA (from phototherapy) has been used in numerous inflammatory, itchy, and hardening skin conditions including atopic dermatitis, cutaneous lymphoma, itching (pruritus) without an identifiable cause, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), systemic lupus erythematosus and vitiligo amonst others. There are newer modifications, including narrowband UVB (NB-UVB) and selected UVA wavelengths (UVA1), which have shown more promise for therapy while reducing side effects. At Advanced Dermatology, we have several medical providers who offer these services, so call the office to make an appointment today!

Visible light: several different options for visible light therapy exist to treat different skin conditions. Blue light (400-410nm, BLU-U, TruBlu, ) and red light (630-635nm, Aktilite) are the two specific wavelengths that have been used with Photodynamic therapy in the treatment of actinic keratoses (pre-cancers), certain types of superficial skin cancers, acne, skin infections, hidradenitis suppurativa, psoriasis, vascular lesions (port-wine stains) and cosmetic services (skin rejuvenation and hair removal). These treatments are combined with topical photosensitizers including Levulan Kerastick and Metvixia cream. Additionally, a new technology called low level light therapy (LLLT, ex. BBL, Lumiere Spa, Omnilux, Synergie ELITE, Zerona) exploits red wavelength lasers (630nm-800nm) for a variety of skin conditions including dermatitis, fat reduction, hair growth, wound healing, pain relief and skin rejuvenation. Ask if your provider has these excellent treatment options available for you today!

Infrared: non-laser infrared light-based devices have been commonly used in the treatment of muscle and joint pain. For the skin, there are over-the-counter and industry devices for acne, anti-aging, nail fungus, scars, stretch marks and wrinkles. Noveon (870nm and 930nm) and Pinpointe Foot (1064nm) lasers recently received FDA approval for toenail fungus (onychomycosis), the first of their kind. For tissue contouring and tightening, there are a few devices available commercially (SkinTyte II, Solera Titan and MaxIR handpiece).

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): IPL is not a true laser, though sometimes people mistakenly place this device into the laser category. IPL allows the provider to manipulate the wavelength of light used for treatment tailored to the specific patient desire. It is use for both brown and red spots, along with overall photorejuvenation. Currently there are over 30 IPL devices on the market, as in my offices this has become the work-house “laser” machine due to its versatility. Call today to discover the many benefits of IPL!

LASER: Laser is an acronym that stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are considered by some medical authorities to be the most precise and selective surgical tools in existence. Laser differ from light-based energy devices by certain characteristics of the light generated within the machine. There are lasers available in the ultraviolet (Excimer), visible (KTP, pulsed dye, Ruby, Alexandrite) and infrared wavelengths (Diode, Nd:YAG, Er:YAG, CO2). They are used for red and brown lesions, hair reduction, psoriasis, tattoo removal, leg veins, skin rejuvenation and wrinkle reduction.

Radiofrequency (RF): RF devices are the most studied energy-delivering devices for the skin. Instead of shining a light to deliver its effect, it delivers heat to the intended target to cause a reaction. There has been an explosion of RF devices to hit the market, as the benefits of these wonderful machines are becoming more realized with providers. From medical conditions like acne and scar enhancement, to a host of cosmetic applications (body contouring, skin tightening, hair reduction, textural irregularities, rejuvenation, leg veins, wrinkles and cellulite), make an appointment today with your provider to experience the benefits of these great devices.

Ultrasound (US): US is the newest class of energy-delivering devices for the skin, derived from ultrasound technology used on a daily basis to evaluate internal body parts. These employ high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) energy to deliver heat to deep tissues for body contouring. Liposonix and ultherapy are two popular commercial devices available today. Make your appointment today with your Advanced dermatology provider to learn more about these treatment options.

Microwave: miraDry is currently the only microwave device on the market, specifically designed to treat excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). It works by vaporizing the sweat producing glands with heat energy and is FDA-approved for this treatment of this condition. This is an excellent option for patients suffering with this debilitating condition who cannot find other effective options. Stop living with the social embarrassment from your “pit stains” and see your Advanced dermatology provider today.