Heat Therapy For Acne - Worth a Try?

The science behind the formation of acne is this: our skin has on its surface something akin to tiny pores which are called follicles.

Through the follicles, hair grows. Beneath the skin’s outer layer lies the sebaceous gland which secretes an oily substance known as sebum.

This sebum is by nature helpful in maintaining the luster of the skin.

But when these follicles are blocked for some reason (like for instance, accumulated dirt, make-up, stress etc.) then acne forms on the skin.

Acne needn’t occur only on one’s face, it can occur in your arms, shoulders, back, etc. making it highly uncomfortable and a cause of deep anxiety.

There are many treatments now available in the market to treat acne. One such treatment is called the Heat treatment for acne.

The origin of this treatment has at its center, the popular belief that sunlight can cure acne.

High temperature is said to kill the bacteria in your pores and thereby provide a healing touch for acne conditions.

Bacteria cannot live in an area exposed to certain temperatures, which is a well-known scientific fact. The basis of this treatment is this very provable fact.

What is Heat Treatment for Acne?

Heat treatment for acne is administered by a dermatologist using a handheld heat-generating device which is aimed at the affected area of the skin for a particular duration.

The heat produced by the device affectively reduces acne due to its combined actions of:

  • It destroys the acne-causing bacteria
  • Reduces the sebum secretion of the glands leading to less oily skin

How does a pulsed light do this? The heat in the light beam first opens up the pores, and cause the follicle to heat up which increases the skin’s ability (by releasing ‘heat-shock’ proteins’ ) to undergo the required chemical reaction which will, in turn, kill the bacteria.

The period of treatment could last for a number of sessions, each session lasting for nearly 10 to 15 minutes depending on factors like the acuteness and kind of acne. It is usually recommended only for treating mild to moderate acne.

When is the Heat Therapy used?

This treatment is used mainly to treat mild to moderate acne.

It is administered by a dermatologist using a heat device which can be hand-held. This device emits a pulsed light of a pre-set temperature.

This ray is aimed at the acne-prone area of the skin for upto 5-7 minutes or maybe even less. More than one session per day is often required.

The treatment could last for a time period of 5-10 weeks. However, results are often said to show within the first two weeks itself.

Benefits of Heat Therapy

Some key benefits of heat therapy are:

  • Results of the treatment can be noticed within a couple of weeks of starting with the procedure
  • This treatment works in many cases where other medications or procedures have failed.
  • Painless and convenient treatment procedure
  • No need to take any pills or apply any possibly harmful chemicals on your skin for this treatment.
  • Devices that make use of heat therapy for acne are available for home use. It can thus be administered under guidance from a dermatologist in the convenience of your own home.
  • The heat produces heat-stabilized proteins which have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne.
  • It reduces future breakouts by reducing the size of the sebum-producing glands.

Heat Therapy - Treatment limitations

  • People undergoing Heat Treatment at may experience temporary redness in the treated area.
  • It works best on new pimples rather than older ones.
  • It is not a cure for acne, though it helps in reducing pimples and clears skin during the treatment period.
  • Also, the heat treatment needn’t always kill the bacteria. The bacteria might just retreat from the threatened area for the time period. It is not a permanent solution to the problem of acne.
  • Each pimple requires around 3 to 4 minutes of heat treatment. If there are lots of pimples, it would be a very time-consuming method.
  • This treatment has had very little research carried out. Since it’s initial market venture there has been very little studies done on this treatment’s effectiveness. Further studies would be required to prove this therapy is scientific and profitable.

Cost of treatment

It could be a bit pricey. If one wants to procure a hand-held machine for home use, it could cost at least $100 and prices range between $100 - $400.

Since most of these kinds of devices are battery operated and rechargeable, they will have to be replaced after a number of uses, which will be mentioned on the product package.

Each replacement package is expensive too and adds to the overall cost of this form of treatment.

If you are attending sessions prescribed by a dermatologist, the cost would be per session.

The cost for each session would vary from place to place and would also depend on the specialist.

But it could be safe to presume a starting rate of $50.

Since more than one session per day is required for a period of 5-10 weeks, the total expense of this treatment might be overwhelming for most people.


Hand-held devices, though available have to be used with much care since inefficient handling could lead to your skin getting burned or scarred, especially if you have highly sensitive skin.

This treatment does not seem to work on clearing blackheads, whiteheads, and pustules, so those with such cases of acne will not find this worth their money.

Before you attend a session of this treatment, make sure that your skin is make-up free and clean so that the heat can penetrate the skin more effectively.

What customers think about the Heat Therapy Treatment for Acne

We analyzed online buyer reviews to understand what works and what does not for Heat Therapy Treatment.

Here is a summary of our analysis of key positives and limitations.

What users like about this treatment

  • Effectively clears cystic and hormonal acne: This treatment has been quite effective for those who suffer from cystic and/or hormonal acne. It visibly reduces and eliminates acne lesions of these kinds of acne.
  • Painless and Convenient: This treatment doesn’t cause any pain whatsoever and is usually done very conveniently, at the doctor’s or at your own home. It will not affect one’s daily routine since it requires only a few minutes daily.
  • No harmful side-effects: Since this treatment doesn’t need any medications before or during the period of therapy it is highly safe and it does not lead to any side-effects.
  • Reduces inflammation and speeds up the healing process: Since the light rays are penetrating the skin and reducing the size of the sebaceous glands, it helps the skin in healing itself from within. The glands reduce the production of sebum which cause the clogging of the follicles and also helps in reducing the inflammation on the skin by reduce the bacterial infection.
  • Reduces the painful acne: Even if the acne takes a couple of days to go away completely, the pain will be considerably less after this treatment. The inflammations will also be visibly reduced and the severity of acne will also be resolved.
  • Safe to use for any age group: This treatment is safe and harmless and can thus be used for any skin type and also for any age group of people. Irrespective if you are young or old, this treatment will be a convenient and safe option to try to reduce your acne.

What users do not like about this treatment

  • Could burn skin:  If the light goes above the recommended temperature level, it could lead to burning of your skin. It is recommended that one carries out this treatment only under strict supervision by a dermatologist, since they can help you figure out the optimum heat conditions required for your skin type and acne condition.
  • Doesn’t work on all types of acne: This treatment proves to be effective only with selective forms of acne and doesn’t necessarily work for severe cases of acne. It does not work for blackheads, whiteheads and inflammatory acne like postules.
  • Improper use could leave scars:  In case one is using a device at home for this treatment, it should be done with care since any improper use of it could leave unwanted marks leading to further skin-related problems. The acne might go but you could be left with a scar which might take another year to fade. So you should be cautious while giving yourself a heat treatment therapy using a hand-held device.


Heat therapy is a light-based treatment for acne.

It makes use of the temperature of the light beam to clear the clogged pores and reduce the inflammation.

The heat therapy works best for mild to moderate acne and almost instantly cures acne in its initial stages.

Though it could cause burns on skin if carried out without supervision, this treatment is otherwise painless and conveniently suited to our daily hectic routines.

It works very well in improving the skins overall appearance and helps the skin to heal itself faster. Give it a try if other methods to reduce acne have failed you.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.