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N Lite Acne Treatments: A Closer Look

The N-lite laser is often advertised as a kinder, gentler approach to laser acne treatment. Approved by the FDA as a non-invasive pulsing laser treatment, many acne care seekers go in for N-Lite treatment with the expectation that it will help with their skin conditions, but that is not always the case.

laser treatment for acne
The N-lite laser is supposed to help stimulate new skin growth.

Summary:

  • The N-Lite Laser is intended to stimulate skin growth rather than to burn off scar tissue.
  • Stimulation of skin growth is of no value for raised acne scars.
  • Rosacea may respond well to N-Lite Laser treatment.

What Is the N-Lite Laser?

The N-Lite Laser is billed as a “nonablative skin rejuvenation device.” This laser generates yellow light with a wavelength of 585 nanometers1. The wavelength of light penetrates beneath the skin, heating the collagen and activating blood vessels to remodel the collagen2. The purpose of exposing the skin to yellow laser light, we are told, is to stimulate the growth of collagen beneath the skin, opening up pores, and filling in scars. But studies have shown that the N-Lite Laser doesn’t appear to do this very well1. It did not create dramatic, overnight results, for any kind of skin condition. However, it can help reduce redness of the skin caused by leaky blood vessels3.

Does the N-Lite Laser Really Work?

Most people who go to clinics to have N-Lite Laser to treat active pimples are not happy with the results. Representative reports go something like this:

  • I had N-Lite Laser treatments where I had brown spots from healed-over pimples. Now I have new nasty sores.
  • After paying £500 (US $800) to book three N-Lite Laser treatments, I can’t see that my jaw line acne has improved one bit.
  • N-Lite Laser seems to stop acne dead in its tracks, as long as I get another treatment every two weeks.

The simple fact is that the N-Lite Laser really was not designed to kill acne bacteria. It will not reduce  pimples. It will not shrink protruding scar tissue, but it may help rebuild collagen underneath the “moon shaped” type of sunken acne scar in some people2.

So who can benefit from N-Lite?

N-Lite for Rosacea

The one type of acne that usually responds well to N-Lite Laser therapy3 is rosacea. This type of acne is not caused by acne bacterial infection in pores, but results in redness that can look like acne4.

Most people who have their rosacea treated with N-Lite have slight swelling for a day or two. N-Lite, however, should never be the sole treatment for rosacea. Here are some ideas for treating rosacea that are easy to overlook:

  • The presence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori has been associated with rosacea5.  Treatments aimed at eliminating these bacteria or the inflammation they cause could therefore be helpful.
  • To lessen rosacea attacks4, avoid hot drinks and spicy food, alcohol, wear face protection when you go out in the sunlight, avoid extreme temperatures, cosmetics, and drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications. Exercise can also be beneficial. N-Lite Laser treatment helps rosacea but it does not cure rosacea. You will still need to be vigilant with your skin care routine.

References

  1. Shapiro DI, Friedland JA. A prospective study of the efficacy of the N-Lite laser for the treatment of facial wrinkles. Aesthet Surg J. 2004 Sep-Oct;24(5):431-5.
  2. Sadick, N. S. (2003). Update on non-ablative light therapy for rejuvenation: A review. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 32(2), 120–128.
  3. Hirsch, R. J., & Dayan, S. H. (2004). Nonablative Resurfacing. Facial Plastic Surgery, 20(1), 57–61.
  4. Rosacea: Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Clinic.
  5. Yang X. Relationship between Helicobacter pylori and Rosacea: review and discussion. BMC Infect Dis. 2018 Jul 11;18(1):318.

 

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