Over 40 million people in the United States suffer from acne. While generally not painful, acne can lead to social anxiety and decreased confidence in those who have the condition. While the acne-care industry is worth well over $2 billion in the United States, few products provide long-lasting solutions. Now, researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara and medical device company, Sebacia, have developed an approach to treating acne using a combination of ultrasound, gold coated particles, and lasers.
The leading cause of acne is the build-up of oily sebum in pores, along with hair, dirt, and other materials. The blocked pores lead to inflammation and infection of the skin which shows up as pimples and lesions in the skin. The new treatment being developed by UC Santa Barbara and Sebacia utilizes the injection of gold-coated silica nanoparticles into the sebaceous glands and heating them up to prevent the build up of sebum in pores. An ultrasound transducer moves the nanoparticles into the sebaceous glands and a near-infrared light is used over the injection site to heat up the nanoparticles. The heated nanoparticles prevent blockage of the glands and build-up of sebum, stopping acne at the source.
In two European clinical trials, the treatment saw a 60% improvement in the acne of participants. These results show promise for future acne treatments.