ANN ARBOR, MICH (WXYZ) - Lasers are used in many different ways, from surgery to scanning barcodes. But, a new laser may soon be used to treat acne.
Researchers at the University of Michigan were designing a laser that would target fat without affecting tissues surrounding it. But, this technology could to be applied to treat acne too.
The laser can probe the skin with hardly any damage and delve deeper to eradicate pockets of fat. The laser machine is very compact in size resembling a DVD player.
Internal Medicine and Electrical Engineering professor Mohammed Islam says, "Typically it's very hard to penetrate deep enough in the skin because of water absorption, but we picked a wavelength that's tuned in to fats."
Although this research may not be the first time it's been attempted, it may be the first to use this kind of applied science.
Associate professor of Dermatology at U of M Dr. Jeffrey Orringer says, "Acne is an extremely common condition without an ideal treatment." He adds, ""This laser system has the potential to alter sebaceous glands in the skin and thereby impact the pathogenesis of acne."
Both professors have been working on this project with the help of biology professor Michael Welsh and graduate students in the College of Engineering.
Professor Islam further comments, "Toward the middle of the last decade, there were experiments like this done using a free electron laser that was pretty much the size of an entire hospital. It was an interesting result, but it wasn't a practical light source." He goes on, "We're taking what we've known for years in that field and building a laser that's compact and economical and has real potential to make it to the marketplace."