Let there be light: New therapy could fix damaged, aging skin

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A new type of light therapy could repair old, sun-damaged skin on the molecular level, according to a recent study.

Twenty-five older adults ranging in age from 54 to 83 participated in the University of Michigan trial. Each applied a light-activated topical medication to the forearm and was then exposed to a pulsed-dye laser. Each patient's skin was examined four to five times over the course of six months to note any changes.

A before-and-after comparison of skin tissue samples found that, after treatment, patients were producing five times as much Ki67 protein, a key component in the production of new, healthy skin cells. Researchers also noted that the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, was 1.4 times thicker than before treatment, and the skin's overall appearance was noticeably improved.

Researchers note that the combination of the topical medicine and the light therapy produces better results than light therapy alone. Full results of the study can be found in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology.