New Laser Treatment Designed To Zap Pimples At Their Roots
Experiments with acne-piercing lasers have been conducted before, but this time, the laser electron is not "the size of an entire hospital," but the size of a DVD player. The unique laser system, the Raman Fiber Laser, has the potential to permanently alter sebaceous glands, those that give rise to pimples and acne, the bane of adolescence.
The Raman Fiber Laser was developed at the University of Michigan by Mohammed Islam, a professor of both electrical engineering and internal medicine, along with dermatologist, Dr. Jeffrey Orringer and cell and developmental biologist, Professor Michael Welsh, at the University's Medical School. Islam, a fiberoptics specialist, and his colleagues introduced a method of using an off-the-shelf telecommunications technology to locate the special wavelength employed by the laser beam.
It's a wavelength that can be absorbed by fat. The wavelength, embodied by a 1,708 nanometer infrared beam, is unique for the very reason that it is attracted to fat, rather than water, as water tends to block penetration of the oily sebaceous glands. And, as Islam notes, it is not "the size of an entire hospital."
"Acne is an extremely common condition without an ideal treatment," said Dr. Orringer. "This laser system has the potential to alter sebaceous glands in the skin and thereby impact the pathogenesis of acne. We are quite excited about this and several other potential uses for this device."
In the U-M experiments, the researchers and their students cooled the skin samples before applying the laser treatment, thereby preventing skin burns that lead to later scarring.