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
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
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Acne Light Therapy
What is light therapy?
Light therapy is a broad field of alternative medicine that uses the natural power of light to heal and rejuvenate the body instead of drugs or invasive procedures.
What is blue light therapy?Blue light therapy is a safe, natural, alternative therapy that uses different wavelengths of blue light to achieve different results. Science has found that blue light is antibacterial like UV, but without the risks of UV. Blue light therapy is most commonly used for acne treatment, MRSA treatment and liver support.
What is red light therapy?]Red light therapy is a safe, natural, alternative therapy that uses visible red light to heal and rejuvenate the skin and body. Science is uncovering a long list of benefits that red light delivers, all without any adverse side effects. Red light therapy is another specialty of ours, and you can learn all about red light therapy here.
Is Light Therapy an Acne Cure?
No, light therapy is not an acne cure.
Blue or blue/red light therapy won’t impact your hormones or the other factors that actually cause the bacteria to be there in the first place. However, light therapy is different from other acne treatments as the light is capable of penetrating beneath the skin, killing acne bacteria before it has a chance to cause visible acne.
Our line of acne lights are easy to use as a regular part of your ongoing acne treatment regimen, just like good hygiene and proper nutrition. The number of regular treatments you’ll need per week will depend on your skin type and condition, but it won’t take you long to discover the perfect balance to stay ahead of your breakouts and keep your skin clear.
Will acne light therapy work for me? What kind of results can I expect?
]Studies have shown that acne light therapy is effective for about 86% of people, so there is a very good chance it will work for you, too.
Results vary widely by individual and depend on such things as the type and severity of acne you have, your hygene, diet, exposure to natural daylight, and other things contributing to your overall hormone balance. All that being said, you should start to notice results within the first 2 weeks of consistent treatment. After 4 weeks of consistent treatment most people notice about 60% reduction in visible acne. After 12 weeks those participating in the original research experienced clearing of about 76%. Many people do experience total clearing at or after 8 weeks of consistent treatment, however, maintenance treatments will still be required on a reduced schedule to stay ahead of breakouts.
Will my acne get worse before it gets better?
The majority of people using light therapy do not report that their acne worsens before it improves, though there has been the occasional instance. No research or clinical study has reported any evidence that acne gets worse before it gets better.
The key is to properly follow the directions provided for acne light therapy, just as you should for any other health therapy. The directions that come with the light are designed specifically to prevent acne from getting worse at any time, and to ensure the most rapid improvement.
Are there any side effects or precautions?
There are no adverse side effects reported.
- The Peak 415™ and Tri Peak™ do contain a small amount of UVA (blacklight,) as did the lights used in the original research reported on in the original research reported on in the British Journal of Dermatology. PDF Use only as directed.
- Do not use light therapy while you are taking any medication that causes photosensitivity. Please consult your pharmacist for each medication in question.
- Recent studies have indicated that overexposure to blue light may be harmful to the eyes – please wear the provided goggles for your protection.
- High Power LEDs are very bright. Do not look directly into the light. Always wear eye provided eye protection.
Is light therapy good for back and body acne?
Yes, back and body acne is easy to treat with every light in our product line. The lights are safe and equally effective for inflammatory acne anywhere on the body. The user guide does include instructions for back and body acne.
What about using ALA or Levulan? (PDT or Photodynamic Therapy.)
ALA or Levulan is not necessary for effective light acne treatment. This website promotes the natural, non-invasive use of blue & red light. Our lights are not to be used with ALA, Levulan or any other related topical application. You may want to consider PDT at your dermatologist’s office for severe cases of acne that do not respond to light therapy alone.
Can I use your acne light therapy products with other topical acne medications?
Yes, you can, but should you? Blue and red light therapy is a natural acne treatment, and it works best with other natural acne treatments.
The purpose of blue light is to kill the acne bacteria on and under the surface of your skin. If that is also the purpose of your topical acne medication, then there is no need for it, and this is a good opportunity to give your skin a break from the harsh chemicals. For mild to moderate inflammatory acne, blue or red/blue light should be the only acne treatment you need.
If you choose to continue your topical acne treatment, then be sure your skin is clean and free of any topical medication before each treatment.
Can I use your acne light therapy products with other oral acne medications?
Please consult your doctor or dermatologist about this. Some oral medications may cause your skin to be oversensitive to light (photosensitive). Again, blue light is a natural acne treatment, and it works best with other natural treatments. Any oral medication will effect you on a cellular level, and may result in your light therapy being less effective, or ineffective. If your doctor recommends it, you should stop oral acne treatments for 2 weeks before beginning blue or blue/red light therapy.
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.
Click here to read the full study. 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 »
Research Supporting Red Light For Acne
Red light phototherapy alone is effective for acne vulgaris: randomized, single-blinded clinical trial. 2007 Oct; 33(10):1228-33; discussion 1233. “The percent improvement in noninflammatory and inflammatory lesion counts of the treated side was significant compared to the control side (p<.005). VAS decreased from 3.9 to 1.9 on the treatment side and the difference between the treatment and control sides was significant at Week 8.” Read the full study @ PubMed.gov »
Phototherapy with blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris. 2000 May; 142(5):973-8. “Assessments were performed every 4 weeks. After 12 weeks of active treatment a mean improvement of 76% (95% confidence interval 66-87) in inflammatory lesions was achieved by the combined blue-red light phototherapy; this was significantly superior to that achieved by blue light (at weeks 4 and 8 but not week 12)” Read more @ PubMed.gov »
Combination blue (415 nm) and red (633 nm) LED phototherapy in the treatment of mild to severe acne vulgaris. PubMed.gov – 2006 Jun; 8(2):71-5. Combination blue and red 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 more @ PubMed.gov »
The Peak 415™ is our original acne light. It emits only peak 415 nm blue light, the wavelength proven most effective against acne bacteria. Because the full power of this light is devoted to 415 nm light, this is the strongest acne light in our line. Learn more about the Peak 415™.