Randomized trial of three phototherapy methods for the treatment of acne vulgaris in Chinese patients

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2014 Oct;30(5):246-53. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12098. Epub 2014 Jan 6.


Background and aims: Acne vulgaris is common in Asian populations. We compared three methods of phototherapy for the treatment of moderate to severe facial acne vulgaris in Chinese patients.

Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to receive photodynamic therapy (PDT), intense pulsed light (IPL) or blue-red light-emitting diode (LED) phototherapy to the right side of the face until the inflammatory lesion count reduced by ≥ 90%. Patients were examined at 1 and 3 months after the final treatment.

Results: We enrolled 150 patients (92 males; mean age, 28 years). At 1 month, ≥90% clearance or moderate improvement occurred in 46/50 (92%), 29/50 (58%) and 22/50 (44%) patients in the PDT, IPL and LED groups, respectively (mean number of sessions required, PDT: 3 ± 1.52; IPL: 6 ± 2.15; LED: 9 ± 3.34). Forty-six (92%) patients experienced mild to moderate pain, erythema and edema after PDT, which resolved within 5-7 days. Slight erythema and stinging were reported immediately after IPL and LED, resolving within 2 h. After 3 months, minimal papules and pustules were observed in 4 patients in the PDT group, 7 in the IPL group and 12 in the LED group, but no nodular pustules recurred.

Conclusions: Phototherapy is efficacious for moderate to severe facial acne vulgaris.

Keywords: acne vulgaris; intense pulsed light; light-emitting diode; photodynamic therapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Young Adult