Acne Treatment Uses Vacuums, Lasers
Isolaz tool treats skin to prevent breakouts; patients can avoid Accutane side effects.
By Nicole Villalpando NVILLALPANDO@
Laser. Vacuum. Acne.
Not three words that you expect to see together, right? One is out of a sci-fi movie, one is utilitarian and one just makes you think, “Ew!”
All three combine in Isolaz, a tool that uses a laser on the face, chest or back to kill the bacteria and reduce the inflammation while a vacuum sucks out the pus (yuck!), oil and dead skin cells. It leaves the skin with less of an ability to make acne.
Austin dermatologist Ted Lain uses the Isolaz tool on patients who have tried a lot of different prescription and nonprescription methods that haven’t worked or who want a more natural approach and don’t want to go to something like the drug Accutane, which has some lengthy side effects.
Unlike other laser treatments, it’s not as painful and it decreases inflammation and oil in the skin. It does pack a punch to the wallet, with a package of five treatments costing $1,200. It’s not covered by insurance.
Patients typically come in once a week for four or five weeks. Usually the face (or back or chest) stays relatively clear of acne for a while, but patients return when the acne flares up. How often they have to come back and how long between visits depends on the patient.
Some of Lain’s patients cannot work it into their schedule to come weekly, and they come once a month instead. That schedule takes a longer time to get results.
When patients come into the office for a 45-minute session, the aesthetician first cleans their face. Men are asked to shave beforehand. Then the aesthetician performs extractions to open up any lesions. This will enable the Isolaz to get into those pores.
She then ices down the area to avoid damaging the skin with the heat from the laser. She picks up the Isolaz wand and places it near a section of the skin.
She pushes the button and the Isolaz flashes the broad spectrum light laser. You hear the sound of the vacuum getting all the gunk out.
“It doesn’t hurt,” says Kolby Lee, a University of Texas senior who has done four Isolaz treatments.
“You just feel a little bit of pressure.”
His face will be red for a day or two, and he’ll have to stay out of the sun for 24 hours, but then his face will stay relatively acne-free for a while.
The last time he did a treatment was in May, and his face stayed fairly clear during the summer. He still continued with his regular cleaning regimen.
Another dermatologist recommended the Isolaz to Lee after he had tried five or six topical creams for a year and wasn’t getting any results.
The cost didn’t deter him because, he says, “We already had paid so much in prescriptions. For a more permanent solution, it’s worth it.”
The Isolaz actually shrinks the oil glands, making it possible for patients to taper off after the initial treatments.
It doesn’t work for patients who have hormonal acne (women who get premenstrual acne). It’s also not ideal for people who just have a little acne or occasional acne that can be treated with less expensive treatments.
“The worse the acne, the better it works,” Lain says.
He sees a lot of teenage boys and adults who have had frequent inflammation and breakouts. It especially does well on inflamed bumps.
Contact Nicole Villalpando at 512-912-5900.
Patient Kolby Lee undergoes a treatment session on his face by Dr. Ted Lain(left) and Kayla Dunster during an office visit. RALPH
BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Patient Kolby Lee, a University of Texas student, said undergoing laser acne treatment does not hurt. “You just feel a little bit of pressure.” RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN