A Pilot Investigation Comparing Low-Energy, Double Pass 1,450 nm Laser Treatment of Acne to Conventional Single-Pass, High-Energy Treatment

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Background and Objectives:

Laser treatment using a 1,450 nm diode laser has been shown to improve acne and acne scarring. Its widespread adoption in younger populations has been significantly limited by discomfort.

Study Design/Materials and Methods:

Six subjects with active papular acne were treated in a pilot study to determine parameters for a split-face, double-pass, low-energy protocol of 1,450 nm laser treatment. Sides of the face were randomized to receive single-pass, high-energy treatment (13–14 J/cm2), or double-pass, low energy treatment (8–11 J/cm2), for a total of four treatments delivered at monthly intervals. Acne counts and standardized, digital photograph were performed 2 months following the final treatment, and compared to pre-treatment counts and photographs.


Improvement was evaluated comparing pre- and post-treatment photos and averaged 2.5 for the high-energy, single-pass side and 2.3 for the low-energy, double-pass side, using a 0 (worse) to 4 (max improvement) scale. Acne counts were reduced 78% on the high-energy, single-pass side and 67% on the low-energy, double-pass side. Pain ratings on a 1 (min) to 10 (max) scale averaged 5.6 (range 1–9) for the high-energy, single-pass side and 1.3 (range 1–2) for the low-energy, double-pass side.


Low-energy, double-pass 1,450 nm laser treatment effectively reduces acne counts 2 months post-treatment, and dramatically reduces the pain associated with treatment. The treatment parameters used in this study have eliminated the need for anesthetic cream in daily practice. Lasers Surg. Med. 39:193–198, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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