Ellipse Acne and Wrinkle Treatments: The Clinical Evidence

Ellipse Intense Pulsed Light Treatments of Acne and Wrinkles

A quick introduction:

Ellipse acne treatment works in combination with a medication called adapalene (marketed as Redap® or Differin® gel or cream). There is a also considerable clinical evidence that using light from the Ellipse PR+ or PL+ applicator, together with a 5-ALA photosensitizer produces a significant improvement in Acne, (or a great-enough improvement in collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles).  Using a light source together with a photosensitizer, is known as Photodynamic Therapy (PDT).

So we have to add a legal note here. Ellipse is cleared as a light source, but there are currently no photosensitizers approved for treating acne nor improvement of fine lines. For regulatory approval status, please see “Instructions for use” or contact Ellipse A/S. Information is included not as an endorsement of a treatment for which Ellipse does not have regulatory approval of, but to raise awareness of the research.

Acne: The clinical evidence (Ellipse I2PL)

Clinical Study and Evaluation of Treatment of Face Acne Vulgaris with Intense Pulsed Light (Chin J Dermato Venerol Integ Trad W Med 2009, Vol. 8 No. 6)

This quite large study (116 Chinese patients) showed 85% had a 30% improvement in acne and over 40% had a 60% improvement – using light alone  – from 5 treatments.

Treatment of facial acne papules and pustules in Korean patients using an intense pulsed light device equipped with a 530- to 750 nm filter. Sung-Eun Chang, MD et al. (Dermatol Surg 2007; 33: 676 – 679)



A split faced study comparing use of a standard acne medication alone (benzoyl peroxide gel) with a combination treatment of benzoyl peroxide gel and Ellipse Intense Pulsed Light. The study found that use of Ellipse Intense Pulsed Light gave improvements in acne red macules, irregular pigmentation, and skin tone in Korean acne patients.

Acne: The clinical evidence (Ellipse I2PL in combination with 5-ALA)

Liposome-encapsulated 0.5% 5-aminolevulinic acid with intense pulsed light for the treatment of inflammatory facial acne: A pilot study. Chi K. Yeung, MBBS et al. (Dermatol Surg 2011; 37: 450 – 459)


A pilot study looking at acne in an Asian (Hong Kong) population. Results were encouraging showing mean reductions in inflammatory lesions of 52% at 1 month and 65% at 6 months after treatment, and also a drop in the level of sebum production on the forehead (lasting approx. 1 month).  The treatment protocol was subsequently altered to include a waiting period between application of the PhotoSpray and start of light treatment.

0.5% liposome-encapsulated 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) photodynamic therapy for acne treatment. Jee-Soo An et al. (Journal of Cosmetic and laser Therapy, 2011; 13: 28 – 32).

Korean study

Another encouraging Asian study, this time from Korea. The mean reduction in acne grade at the end of the treatment was 43.2%. 69.2% of patients reported improvements in subjective skin oiliness (sebum production). The study also reveals PhotoSpray is better tolerated by Asian patients than the alternative (higher-concentration) ALA sources, causing no side effects.

Photodynamic therapy of acne vulgaris using 5-aminolevulinic acid 0.5% liposomal spray and intense pulsed light in combination with topical keratolytic agents. J. de Leeuw et al. (JEADV 2010, 24, 460 – 469) 

One of the first published studies, and one which showed conclusively that 0.5% ALA is selectively absorbed (and converted) in the sebaceous glands of patients with acne, and also that the light used in the treatment causes the converted Protoporphyrin IX to be photo-bleached (used-up).


A) Before treatment; B) concentration of PpIX in the acne nodule after 1 hour spraying with PhotoSpray C) lower concentration after light treatment

Both the clearance rates, and the before and after pictures are impressive, as is the fact that there were no adverse effects from treatment.


Left: Before Li-PDT-PC. Right: After 6 Li-PDT-PC treatments in 6 months (improvement 90%). No side effects. No effect from previous treatment with cyproteron ⁄ ethinylestradiol and systemic minocycline.

Left: Before Li-PDT-PC. Right: After 6 Li-PDT-PC treatments in 6 months (improvement 90%). No side effects. No effect from previous treatment with cyproteron ⁄ ethinylestradiol and systemic minocycline.

It is worth noting that the study assessed the efficacy and the safety of PDT using 5-ALA 0.5% in liposomal spray and intense pulsed light (IPL) in combination with topical peeling agents (Li-PDT-PC).

Wrinkle Reduction: The clinical evidence (Ellipse I2PL in combination with 5-ALA)

Efficacy and tolerability of 5-aminolevulinic acid 0.5% liposomal spray and intense pulsed light in wrinkle reduction of photoaged skin. Antonella Piccioni et al. (Journal of Dermatological treatment. 2011 Early Online: 1-7)

A study showing statistically significant improvements in periorbital and nasolabial wrinkles. The average overall improvement was greater for periorbital than for nasolabial wrinkles. No side effects were observed during and after treatment. The degree of overall improvement was scored as excellent by 47% of the volunteers.


About ellipseblogger

Ellipseblogger is the collective name for the various service staff of Ellipse A/S; manufacturers of laser and Intense Pulsed Light (I2PL) solutions for aesthetic dermatology since 1997. Please note that this blog reflects our worldwide applications of Ellipse systems of which some may not be currently cleared for sale in the US.

Posted on October 9, 2013, in Medical, Treatments, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. This is a great post it shows some information and best advice I needs for a blog. Thanks and keep on posting.

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