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New York, NY – Four out of five adolescents and adults are affected by acne. Sometimes the condition is still active, or sometimes a former case of acne has left its indelible mark of scarring. In fact, acne is the most commonly diagnosed skin condition and the single most prevalent condition treated by dermatologists in the U.S. today. Yet, according to Joshua Fox, MD, founder of Advanced Dermatology P.C. and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery a novel laser treatment called SmoothbeamTM is providing new hope to those who suffer from acne, as well as those who are still scarred by it.
“The Smoothbeam laser is unique in that its single technology can accomplish two completely different objectives where acne is concerned,” Dr. Fox explains. “First, it encourages the production of collagen beneath the skin, which plumps up the surface and smoothes out scarring. Second, it can actually shrink the follicles of the sebaceous glands, which are overactive in cases of acne. That reduces the amount of oil those glands can secrete, and calms acne outbreaks,” he adds.
As a non-ablative treatment the Smoothbeam laser targets the deepest layers of skin without affecting the skin’s surface, through its patented LASRT (laser assisted skin renewal) process. In fact, Smoothbeam’s technology actually cools the upper layers of the skin immediately prior to the laser application, preventing any burning, cutting or peeling at the surface. “There is a significant reduction of side effects and ‘down-time’ for patients undergoing Smoothbeam treatments,” Dr. Fox notes. “This is why we usually refer to Smoothbeam treatments as ‘lunchbreak appointments,’ because patients can literally come for treatment during their lunch hour, and normally return to work afterward.” Commonly reported aftereffects were mild and short-lived, and ranged from slight redness and tenderness to brief pigment changes.
What’s more, Smoothbeam is more effective than even the most optimistic predictions. In a comparative study presented at the American Society of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, and later published in the Journal of Dermatological Surgery, researchers at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, DC found that the Smoothbeam laser’s technology provided better results than the traditional non-ablative laser in lessening acne scarring. [Dermatol Surg. 2004 Feb;30(2 Pt 1):152-7] Another study of 27 males with active acne on their backs reported that, after four Smoothbeam treatments, 14 of the participants were acne-free at the treatment site. [Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2002; 31: 106-14]
Dr. Fox points out, however, that even Smoothbeam isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment. “No approach is a magic bullet,” he says. “Every patient is unique, and every treatment protocol should be designed with that in mind.” Dr. Fox suggests that, when considering Smoothbeam treatment for active acne, acne scarring large pore size or a combination of both, patients take these five steps to ensure the most successful outcome:
1. Establish Goals: What do you hope to achieve from your treatment? What is most important? How much improvement do you want or expect? Be realistic, but be honest with yourself. Failure to take this step may result in unreasonable expectations and disappointment.
2.Write Down Your Questions: You’ll want to know what the right course of treatment is for you, along with the specific components of that treatment (such as Smoothbeam or other laser applications, prescription medications, topical creams, etc.), how many sessions you should expect, and the timeline for improvement to take place.
3. Find a board-certified dermatologist experienced with Smoothbeam: Be sure to find a doctor whom you’re comfortable with, who can answer all of your questions, and who is experienced with acne treatments and acne scar removal using the Smoothbeam laser.
4.Get a Second Opinion: If you are not satisfied with your initial consultation, get a second opinion. Your confidence in your physician is critical before you begin the process.
5. Follow your doctor’s orders: Once you’ve found a dermatologist you trust, follow his or her instructions carefully regarding preparations before your procedures i.e. pretreating with a fading cream in skin type 4, 5 & 6 as well as care for the site afterwards. It’s the best way to ensure a successful outcome. Too often results are less than optimal because of failure to follow the treatment regimen before, during or after treatment.