The recent tremendous progress in understanding physical plasma phenomenon, together with the development of new plasma sources has put growing focus on the application of plasmas in health care. Active plasma components, such as molecules, atoms, ions, electrons and photons, reactive species, ultraviolet radiation, optical and infrared emission and heat have the ability of activating, controlling and catalysing reactions and complex biochemical procedures. Thermal and non-thermal (i.e. cold) plasmas - both already widely established in medicine - are used for various therapeutic applications. Particularly in dermatology, plasma applications hold big potential, for example, in wound healing, such as efficient disinfection or sterilization, therapy of various skin infections or tissue regeneration. This review gives an overview on potential plasma applications in medicine - including the recent research on skin diseases - and summarizes possible interactions between plasmas and living tissue.
© 2010 The Authors. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology © 2010 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.