What is Blue Light Acne Treatment?
“[Blue light treatment] is a major breakthrough and could be an excellent alternative for those patients who have had minimal success with traditional therapies…” — Dr. Arielle N.B. Kauva
Blue light acne treatment uses blue light to kill acne bacteria instead of topical or oral medications. Throughout the treatment, the skin is exposed to a blue light source for a short period of time ranging from only a few seconds up to 15 minutes depending on the product.
In-home treatments are recommended daily until acne is either cleared or under control, then the frequency is reduced to maintenance treatments twice to three times per week.
Risks & Benefits of Blue Light Therapy for Acne
The only significant risk of blue light therapy is the risk of overexposure of blue light to the eyes. For this reason, eye protection is provided free with almost every in-home acne light and should be worn during each treatment. Please read this article for a full discussion of possible safety concerns.
- 100% natural and non-invasive
- drug-free with no adverse side effects, short or long term
- safe for all ages and safe for daily use
- great for back & body acne, too
- easily self-administered in your own home
- no down-time
- does not stop working over time
- may work on even antibiotic resistant strains of acne causing bacteria
How Does Blue Light Work?
Blue light kills acne bacteria. How? When blue light strikes acne bacteria cells, it sets off a chemical reaction that causes the bacteria to self-destruct. No harm is done to any other cells on or in the skin. Here is the scientific explanation from the American Academy of Dermatology:
“[Blue] Light gets at the core of what causes acne eruptions: P. acnes, the bacterial responsible for causing acne inflammation, pumps out tiny molecules called porphyrins. When those porphyrin are exposed to certain wavelengths of light, they produce free radicals that kill the bacteria. Without P. acnes around to cause inflammation, acne clears up.” American Academy of Dermatology 2002
Blue light is one of the best acne treatments available today, because it kills acne bacteria naturally, fast, and without side effects. However, the combination of blue and red light is even better.
Research Leading to FDA Approval of Blue Light for Acne Treatment
Almost every blue light for acne on the market today bases its marketing on this study, done at the Imperial College of London, and published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2000. Based on this research and similar studies, the first blue light acne treatment “system”, ClearLight, gained FDA approval in 2002. Here are the highlights:
- 107 patients with mild-moderate inflammatory acne (acne vulgaris) participated in the trial.
- The blue light peaked at 415nm, the red light peaked at 660nm (What does this mean?)
- Patients used the lights in-home for 15 minutes daily
- There was a 76% drop in visible acne over 12 weeks
- Combination Red and Blue light therapy was ‘significantly superior’ to blue light alone or benzoyl peroxide.
- Blue & Red light improve acne by combining anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory action.
- Red & Blue light phototherapy is a safe and effective treatment for acne vulgaris.
Since then, many smaller studies have been done all over the world, all confirming the effectiveness and safety of blue and blue & red light acne treatment. Here are a few:
April 2006 – UCLA School of Medicine This open-label study suggests the therapeutic efficacy of high-intensity LED pure blue light in the treatment of acne vulgaris with no reported side effects. Read the full study »
2005 – Department of Dermatology, Falkirk Royal Infirmary, Falkirk, UK Blue light phototherapy using a narrow band LED light source appears to be a safe and effective additional therapy for mild to moderate acne. Read the full study »
June 2006 – Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of New York/New Jersey, and Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY Combination blue (415nm) and red (633nm) LED therapy appears to have excellent potential in the treatment of mild to severe acne. Treatment appears to be both pain- and side effect-free. Read the full study »
October 2007 – Department of Dermatology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea This study shows that red light phototherapy alone can be a new therapeutic option for acne vulgaris. Read the full study »