Treating acne when you are trying for a baby can be difficult. Hormonal control with the mini-pill is not possible and oral antibiotics can cause mottling of a baby’s teeth. An attractive alternative is light therapy which is also safe to use throughout pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
Although acne mostly affects teenagers, it can persist into, or develop for the first time during adulthood. It is a common symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) a condition that affects 5 – 10 percent of women and impacts their fertility.
Consultant dermatologist Dr Rakesh Patalay says that the impact of acne should not be underestimated: “Acne has an impact on self esteem and confidence and can cause permanent scarring, and we are increasingly seeing it continue beyond adolescence. Light treatment is effective and safe for use by pregnant women and harmonises with national guidelines about reducing use of unnecessary antibiotics.”
Although the cause of PCOS is not fully understood it does increase the production of male hormones, which interfere with function of the ovaries and can cause acne, obesity and infertility.
Hormonal changes cause the sebaceous glands to become enlarged and sebum production increases and blocks the pores of the skin, which then become infected by a bacterial called propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). The bacteria feeds by releasing enzymes, which digest the sebum; these enzymes also damage the cell walls, which can trigger the body’s immune response and the pores become inflamed. This is why you can feel a spot developing as a swelling under your skin before it erupts at the surface.
The good news is that P. acnes can be killed by visible blue light, which is harmless to the rest of the skin. P. acnes produces a molecule called porphyrin in large amounts and blue light excites these molecules, causing them to release radicals into the bacteria, which destroy them.
PCOS and acne
Trials at Hammersmith Hospital have proven that a combination of blue and red light is an effective and gentle treatment for acne and this knowledge has been used to develop a home light therapy called Lumie Clear which is the only device to use blue and red light, blue to kill the bacteria and red to soothe the inflammation. All trialists of this combined blue/red light therapy saw a 76% improvement in the appearance of their skin in less than 12 weeks, with a visible difference within 4 weeks of use.
Light therapy for acne
Lumie Clear can be placed on or near the affected area providing a targeted treatment. Many users like Rhi Frankton, now 27 years old, have tried a wide range of methods to treat their acne.
As Rhi says: “I tried them all, creams, tablets, tablets from the doctor, creams from the doctor as well as all different things through the internet, including herbal tablets and creams. Some worked for a while but eventually the acne would come back.”
Rhi was tempted to try Lumie Clear when she noticed Lumie had a 45-day money back guarantee. She started to notice an improvement in her skin within a month: “A lot fewer spots, they were still there but not at the size that they were or as angry as they were.” Her skin was much better overall and the improvements continued until she now feels confident about her skin.
She says: “I would actually go to the shop without makeup on, which I had never done before.”
Light therapy or the more invasive laser treatment is widely used by specialist dermatologists, but Lumie Clear is a certified medical product that is suitable for home use. It has no side-effects unlike the conventional prescription treatments. So if you have PCOS and acne it is a good way to get skin confident.