Efficacy and safety of intense pulsed light in the treatment of mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris

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Waheed Zaman Khan, Ghazala Butt, Faria Altaf


Acne vulgaris is a very common chronic inflammatory disease of pilosebaceous units. It can be associated with considerable loss of self-esteem and psychological morbidity when left untreated. With the emergence of lasers and intense pulsed light, long-term reduction of acne lesions is now possible. The success of these optical devices depends on the selected parameters and biologic variables of patient. The objective of this study is to determine the efficacy and safety of intense pulsed light (IPL) in the treatment of mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris. This interventional study was conducted for a period of one year after approval of synopsis. A total of 75 patients of mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris were included through non-probability, convenience sampling. Patients were subjected to intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy once a week for four weeks. Digital photography was done at the baseline and at the sixth week. Follow-up was done after two weeks of completion of four sessions. Repeated measurement ANOVA was used for significance of IPL at six weeks of follow-up. The p value < 0.05 was taken as significant. IPL was effective in 52% of the patients. Out of all cases, 6 (8%) showed excellent results. 33 (44%) showed >50% reduction with therapy. Percentage reduction was observed as 49 ± 20% at final follow-up. Papules count was reduced from 11.95 ± 2.89 to 6.69 ± 2.96, pustules count was reduced from 2.55 ± 1.54 to 0.79 ± 1.02 from baseline to final follow-up visit. 16 subjects showed mild erythema that resolved within 24 h. None of the patients showed any severe side effects at final follow-up visit. We conclude from the results of this study that IPL is safe and efficacious in more than half of the patients in the treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris. A long-term follow-up is required to determine long-term safety on skin following such procedures.


Acne vulgaris; intense pulsed light; pustules; papules

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