What Is It?

Laser therapy is thought to work by inhibiting the activity of skin oil (sebaceous) glands, killing acne bacteria, and reducing inflammation.


Strength of Evidence
Average 65% reduction in acne after 4 sessions
  1. Goldberg, D. et al. Selective photothermolysis with a novel 1726 nm laser beam: A safe and effective solution for acne vulgaris. J Cosmet Dermatol 22, 486–496 (2023).
  2. Moftah, N. H., Mansour, A. M. & Ibrahim, S. M. A. Clinical evaluation of efficacy of intralesional platelet-rich plasma injection versus 1064 nm long-pulsed Neodymium:YAG laser in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris in adolescent and post-adolescent patients: a prospective randomized split-face comparative study. Lasers Med Sci 37, 2471–2478 (2022).
  3. Dhaher, S. A. & Yosif, A. M. Efficacy and safety of 1064 nm long-pulsed neodymiumdoped yttrium garnet (Nd:YAG) laser for treating acne vulgaris: a prospective clinical trial. Iranian Journal of Dermatology 25, 356–362 (2022).
  4. Szymańska, A., Budzisz, E. & Erkiert-Polguj, A. The anti-acne effect of near-infrared low-level laser therapy. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 14, 1045–1051 (2021).
  5. Soliman, M., Salah, M., Fadel, M., Nasr, M. & El-Azab, H. Contrasting the efficacy of pulsed dye laser and photodynamic methylene blue nanoemulgel therapy in treating acne vulgaris. Arch Dermatol Res 313, 173–180 (2021).
  6. Chalermsuwiwattanakan, N., Rojhirunsakool, S., Kamanamool, N., Kanokrungsee, S. & Udompataikul, M. The comparative study of efficacy between 1064-nm long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser and 595-nm pulsed dye laser for the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Cosmet Dermatol 20, 2108–2115 (2021).
  7. Kesty, K. & Goldberg, D. J. 650 usec 1064nm Nd:YAG laser treatment of acne: a double-blind randomized control study. J Cosmet Dermatol 19, 2295–2300 (2020).
  8. Chandra, R., Jusuf, N. K. & Nasution, K. A case series: A successful of alternative modality with red light low level laser therapy for acne vulgaris. in Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease 402–406 (Scitepress, 2020). doi:10.5220/0009990204020406.
  9. Kang, A., Lyons, A., Herrmann, J. & Moy, R. Treatment of moderate-to-severe facial acne vulgaris with solid-state fractional 589/1,319-nm laser. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 12, 28–31 (2019).
  10. Kwon, H. H., Choi, S. C., Jung, J. Y., Bae, Y. I. & Park, G.-H. Comparison of novel dual mode vs conventional single pass of a 1450-nm diode laser in the treatment of acne vulgaris for Korean patients: A 20-week prospective, randomized, split-face study. J Cosmet Dermatol 17, 1063–1068 (2018).
  11. Bakus, A. D., Yaghmai, D., Massa, M. C., Garden, B. C. & Garden, J. M. Sustained benefit after treatment of acne vulgaris using only a novel combination of long-pulsed and Q-switched 1064-nm Nd: YAG lasers. Dermatol Surg 44, 1402–1410 (2018).
  12. Salah El Din, M. M., Samy, N. A. & Salem, A. E. Comparison of pulsed dye laser versus combined pulsed dye laser and Nd:YAG laser in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris. J Cosmet Laser Ther 19, 149–159 (2017).
  13. Mohamed, E. E., Tawfik, K. & Elsaie, M. Intense pulsed light versus 1,064 long-pulsed neodymium: yttrium–aluminum–garnet laser in the treatment of facial acne vulgaris. J Clin Diagn Res 10, WC01–WC03 (2016).
  14. Liu, Y. et al. The long-term effect of 1550 nm erbium:glass fractional laser in acne vulgaris. Lasers Med Sci 31, 453–457 (2016).
  15. Politi, Y., Levi, A., Enk, C. D. & Lapidoth, M. Integrated cooling-vacuum-assisted 1540-nm erbium:glass laser is effective in treating mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris. Lasers Med Sci 30, 2389–2393 (2015).
  16. Ganceviciene, R., Meskauskas, R. & Berzanskyte, A. Treatment of acne vulgaris with 1064 nm Nd: YAG Laser. Journal of the Laser and Health Academy (2015).
  17. Moneib, H., Tawfik, A. A., Youssef, S. S. & Fawzy, M. M. Randomized split-face controlled study to evaluate 1550-nm fractionated erbium glass laser for treatment of acne vulgaris--an image analysis evaluation. Dermatol Surg 40, 1191–1200 (2014).
  18. Jung, J. Y. et al. Prospective randomized controlled clinical and histopathological study of acne vulgaris treated with dual mode of quasi-long pulse and Q-switched 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser assisted with a topically applied carbon suspension. J Am Acad Dermatol 66, 626–633 (2012).
  19. Darné, S., Hiscutt, E. L. & Seukeran, D. C. Evaluation of the clinical efficacy of the 1,450 nm laser in acne vulgaris: a randomized split-face, investigator-blinded clinical trial. Br J Dermatol 165, 1256–1262 (2011).
  20. Choi, Y. S. et al. Intense pulsed light vs. pulsed-dye laser in the treatment of facial acne: a randomized split-face trial. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 24, 773–780 (2010).
  21. Yeung, C. K., Shek, S. Y., Yu, C. S., Kono, T. & Chan, H. H. Treatment of inflammatory facial acne with 1,450-nm diode laser in type IV to V Asian skin using an optimal combination of laser parameters. Dermatol Surg 35, 593–600 (2009).
  22. Hörfelt, C., Stenquist, B., Halldin, C. B., Ericson, M. B. & Wennberg, A.-M. Single low-dose red light is as efficacious as methyl-aminolevulinate--photodynamic therapy for treatment of acne: clinical assessment and fluorescence monitoring. Acta Derm Venereol 89, 372–378 (2009).
  23. Deng, H., Yuan, D.-F., Yan, C.-L. & Ding, X.-A. Fractional 1320 nm Nd : YAG laser in the treatment of acne vulgaris: a pilot study. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 25, 278–279 (2009).
  24. Bernstein, E. F. Double-pass, low-fluence laser treatment using a large spot-size 1,450 nm laser improves acne. Lasers Surg Med 41, 116–121 (2009).
  25. Haedersdal, M., Togsverd-Bo, K., Wiegell, S. R. & Wulf, H. C. Long-pulsed dye laser versus long-pulsed dye laser-assisted photodynamic therapy for acne vulgaris: A randomized controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol 58, 387–394 (2008).
  26. Orringer, J. S. et al. A randomized, controlled, split-face clinical trial of 1320-nm Nd:YAG laser therapy in the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol 56, 432–438 (2007).
  27. Bogle, M. A., Dover, J. S., Arndt, K. A. & Mordon, S. Evaluation of the 1,540-nm Erbium:Glass laser in the treatment of inflammatory facial acne. Dermatol Surg 33, 810–817 (2007).
  28. Bernstein, E. F. A pilot investigation comparing low-energy, double pass 1,450 nm laser treatment of acne to conventional single-pass, high-energy treatment. Lasers Surg Med 39, 193–198 (2007).
  29. Jih, M. H. et al. The 1450-nm diode laser for facial inflammatory acne vulgaris: dose-response and 12-month follow-up study. J Am Acad Dermatol 55, 80–87 (2006).
  30. Angel, S., Boineau, D., Dahan, S. & Mordon, S. Treatment of active acne with an Er:Glass (1.54 microm) laser: a 2-year follow-up study. J Cosmet Laser Ther 8, 171–176 (2006).
  31. Baugh, W. P. & Kucaba, W. D. Nonablative phototherapy for acne vulgaris using the KTP 532 nm laser. Dermatol Surg 31, 1290–1296 (2005).
  32. Friedman, P. M., Jih, M. H., Kimyai-Asadi, A. & Goldberg, L. H. Treatment of inflammatory facial acne vulgaris with the 1450-nm diode laser: a pilot study. Dermatol Surg 30, 147–151 (2004).

Side Effects

Medium-high side effects and adverse reactions

Acne.org's Real World Take

Laser therapy works by harming skin oil glands. That can lead to some improvement in acne, and perhaps even long-term relief of some acne symptoms. However, evolution gave us skin oil glands for a reason and what happens long term when you permanently disable them is still unknown. Proceed with caution.


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