BLU-U Illuminator and Levulan
Acne Therapy for the 21st century
Choices now exist to clear acne that were not only imagined a few years ago. No longer does treatment require prolonged therapy with oral antibiotics combined with irritating and inconvenient topical preparations. For many adolescents and young adults a highly concentrated form of light therapy may control this bothersome condition more rapidly than either traditional therapy or Accutane – and without the long list of side effects. For mild acne, treatment with the BLU-U alone may suffice while addition of a naturally occurring topical light sensitizing agent known as Levulan may be appropriate to combat moderate to severe disease. Acne results from a combination of genetic predisposition together with sex hormones acting on susceptible oil glands in the presence of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) – a type of acne causing bacteria. While passage of time often improves the condition, many women first develop the disease during their twenties or thirties due to changes in hormone balance. Neither diet nor lack of washing greatly contributes to perpetuation of acne.
How does the BLU-U work?
BLU-U provides specific light waves different from tanning rays. This energy at 417 nanometers activates a chemical by-product of bacterial metabolism that ultimately destroys the P. acnes and inactivates the oil glands. For individuals with more severe disease it may be appropriate to add extra quantities of this compound in the form of topical Levulan. Unlike some light based therapies, the BLU-U and Levulan are appropriate for all skin types. Asian, African-American, Indian and white skin responds equally well.
How often do I need to be treated?
Mild acne generally improves with a series of 8 sessions scheduled twice each week over a period of one month. More severe acne requires a regimen totaling three to eight treatments performed at intervals of three to four weeks. Treatments average 10-15 minutes and are not associated with any pain or discomfort. You can even listen to your iPod during this time. The response rate averages about 70% – the same as with the standard 5 months of Accutane. Clearing may be complete and regularly lasts months to years. At times re-treatment may be necessary.
Why select the BLU-U rather than antibiotics or Accutane?
BLU-U offers the quickest method to clear acne. With the BLU-U 4-12 weeks of therapy provides equivalent or superior results compared to Accutane or antibiotics combined with topical preparations. Side effects associated with Acctane include suicidal thoughts, depression, aggression, moodiness, changes in school or work performance, bone pain, muscle weakness, vision problems, intestinal discomfort, rectal bleeding, seizures, headaches and birth defects. Accutane now requires a lengthy consent that must be signed before beginning therapy and monthly blood tests. Traditional antibiotics may cause intestinal upset, diarrhea, prolonged sun-sensitivity and yeast infections. Creams are expensive and irritating. Clearing with antibiotics and creams may require adherence to therapy for 6-12 months and then prolonged maintenance to avoid repeated flares.
Are there side effects with BLU-U therapy?
By itself the BLU-U seems extraordinarily safe and effective. Side effects only rarely occur and when present suggest nothing more than a slight sunburn. Since Levulan sensitizes the skin to light, temporary scaling, swelling and redness may appear. Simply avoiding exposure to bright light and sun for 36-48 hours after Levulan prevents the most irritating unwanted reactions.
Will BLU-U Therapy Cure Acne?
Unfortunately science offers no lasting cures for acne at this time. However BLU-U therapy rivals or surpasses Accutane and traditional therapy with reference to duration of response.