Play Video

Light and Laser


To kill the bacteria associated with inflamed acne

Side Effects

Burns, blistering, peeling, changes in skin colour, redness and scarring. Speak to your healthcare provider for full details


Speak to your healthcare provider for details

The information on this website is intended for general educational purposes. You should talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist before you start using any kind of treatment.


What are light and laser therapies?

Light and laser therapies are forms of acne treatment that are available in private clinics.

Currently, there is insufficient high-quality evidence to prove that light and laser therapies are effective as acne treatments. However, there is observational evidence (meaning that it has been noted but not confirmed by rigorous studies or clinical trials) that they may benefit people who are affected by mild acne. They are also an alternative treatment for people who cannot tolerate other forms of acne treatment (for example, due to unwanted side effects). More research is needed before we can gain a full understanding of how effective light and laser therapies are in the treatment of acne.

How do light and laser therapies work?

Light and laser therapies work by killing the type of bacteria, known as P. acnes, which helps to cause inflammation and pus formation in acne. There is also some evidence that light and laser therapies work to reduce the amount of keratin on your skin and therefore they reduce the likelihood of dead skin cells sticking together and forming a blockage in your hair follicle.

What are some of the side effects of light and laser therapies?

Side effects of light and laser therapies include burns, blistering, redness, peeling, changes in skin pigmentation (colour) and scarring. Light and laser therapies for acne should only be conducted by a trusted professional who has had specific, recognised training in using these devices. You can find out more about this training at

General guidance on light and laser therapies?

As with most acne treatments, light and laser therapies take time to work. Your healthcare provider will be able to discuss with you how many sessions of therapy will be appropriate for your individual needs.

Example of an acne treatment regime

Light and laser therapy can be used as part of a wider acne treatment regime. These regimes involve using acne treatments and sometimes other products in an organised way with the aim of maximising the treatment’s effectiveness. It is important to remember that not all acne treatments can be used safely together and that you should seek the advice of your pharmacist or healthcare provider before starting or combining any treatments. Click here for an example of an acne treatment regime.

Please note that light and laser therapies are unlikely to be effective against moderate and severe acne. That is acne that consists of many lesions covering an area (with cysts and nodules being present in severe acne) and is often scarring. If you have acne that has lasted for several weeks and is getting worse, is leaving scars or is affecting your mental health then you should arrange to visit your GP.