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JAMA Dermatology Clinical Evidence Synopsis
May 2018

Light Therapies for Acne

Author Affiliations
  • 1Centre for Population Health Sciences (CePHaS), Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Novena Campus, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • 2Global eHealth Unit, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, England
JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(5):597-598. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.0110

Clinical Question  Are light therapies effective and safe for treating acne?

Bottom Line  The evidence for all light therapies remains weak and inconclusive. Red-light methyl aminolevulinate-photodynamic therapy (MAL-PDT) was the only treatment associated with a small though clinically insignificant reduction in the number of inflamed lesions and in global improvement as assessed by an investigator in moderate to severe acne. Red-light MAL-PDT was not associated with higher rates of severe adverse effects than placebo or no treatment. Owing to inadequate reporting of adverse effects such as scarring or blistering, the safety of all light therapies remains uncertain.

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