What is Ruby Laser treatment?
In 1960, the first operational laser was constructed. It was a ruby laser. Once quite common in medical and industrial, ruby lasers have declined in popularity with the development of modern laser systems. Ruby lasers have been used extensively in medical applications (tattoo and hair removal) and industrial applications (diamond cutting and holography). There have been a handful of studies investigating ruby lasers and acne, with limited but promising results.
How does Ruby Laser treatment work?
Ruby lasers are one of the few solid state lasers that produce light in the visible spectrum. Ruby lasers produce a deep red light with a wavelength of 694 nm. Light in this wavelength is readily absorbed by the pigment melanin and many of the dyes used in tattoos. The absorption of energy by the dye or pigment causes thermal damage to the target cells and disperses the tattoo dye. Ruby lasers are quite effective for laser hair removal, but have been phased out because they can cause more collateral damage then modern laser hair removal platforms. The 694 nm light is poorly absorbed by the sebaceous gland, which lacks pigments like melanin, but many patients being treated for hair removal have noticed an impact on their acne symptoms. The exact cause of these effects has not been thoroughly studied.
Is Ruby Laser treatment an effective treatment for acne?
Many patients who have undergone laser hair removal with ruby lasers have noticed an improvement in their acne symptoms. Unlike diode lasers, which can effectively target and damage the sebaceous glands, ruby lasers do not appear to have the same effect. While there are relatively few studies investigating the efficacy of ruby lasers for acne treatment, the available research provides some insight into the relationship. Researchers found that treatment with ruby lasers did tend to improve acne symptoms, but also increased the amount of sebum being secreted to the surface of the skin. Upon closer examination, they found that the size of the sebaceous gland was reduced, but it appeared to be producing more sebum. They hypothesized that this extra space created by removal of the hair shaft might allow the sebum to be secreted more freely, preventing the kinds of clogged pores and impacted follicles that can lead to inflammatory acne. This decreased resistance to secretion could lead to a smaller sebaceous gland. Despite this initial research, ruby lasers are not widely available as an laser acne treatment and their decreasing popularity in dermatology make it unlikely that this will change.
How and where is Ruby Laser treatment administered?
Ruby laser treatment is administered in laser hair and tattoo removal clinics, dermatologists offices and cosmetic surgery practices.
How much does Ruby Laser treatment cost?
Ruby laser hair removal starts at approximately $100 dollars per session for a small treatment area and increases depending on the size and region of the treated area.
References and Sources.
Laser hair removal affects sebaceous glands and sebum excretion: A pilot study.
Manuskiatti, et al. 1999. For article abstract, click here.