If you have back acne, you don’t need me to tell you why you want to get rid of it, so let’s skip right to the how to part.
Most back acne treatments on the market are topical washes and creams. The problem is, you can’t exactly reach your back with those, and you certainly don’t want to ask anybody to do it for you.
Good news. There is a relatively new and nearly perfect way to get rid of back acne. It’s called blue light therapy.
Blue light therapy is part of the larger field of light therapy called photobiomodulation.
Blue light has been used medically for decades. For example, you might already know that blue light therapy is the standard medical treatment for babies with jaundice.
More recently it was discovered that blue light kills acne bacteria. Blue light for acne treatment has actually been around since 2002, when it was FDA approved for the treatment of mild-moderate inflammatory acne (acne vulgaris.) Usually, back acne is exactly that kind of acne.
How does blue light work for back acne treatment?
Studies have shown that blue light kills acne bacteria by causing it to self destruct. (No other cells in your body are damaged.)
Once the acne bacteria is dead, your body’s natural healing process takes over and the acne gradually disappears over the next few days. Blue light is not a cure, but regular daily treatments can keep back acne under control for most people.
Blue light acne treatment is 100% natural and works without creams or drugs. It is completely safe, without side effects, and can be very simply self-administered in the privacy of your own home.
But does it work fast?
Yes, it works fast. You can reasonably expect visible acne spots to reduce in size and severity by about 40% after 24 hours of each treatment with blue light. So if you do a blue light treatment in the morning, by the next morning there should be visible improvement.
Please keep in mind that this is relative. If you have mild inflammatory acne on your back, it’s going to go away much faster than if you have severe or cystic acne on your back.
Another thing to remember is that this is not a cure. Light therapy is not going to fix the hormone imbalance causing your acne. So you will have to use light therapy consistently to keep it under control. How often will be different for everyone.
Red light makes blue light work even better.
I don’t want to complicate things. Blue light alone is a very effective acne treatment, and really all you need to get rid of back acne fast. But once you start doing more research, you’re going to hear about red light for acne treatment, too. What’s that about?
Red light works for acne treatment in three major ways:
- red light reduces inflammation. So when acne is red and painful, red light helps reduce that redness and swelling and pain.
- red light helps skin heal faster. So red light in combination with blue will usually get rid of active acne faster.
- red light helps skin heal without scarring, and helps heal existing scars. If scarring is a concern of yours, you should add red light to your blue light therapy.
How Do You Get This Treatment?
You can still get light therapy for acne at some dermatologist’s offices, but I don’t really recommend that route because it’s expensive, it’s time consuming, and it’s not a cure, so you’ll have to keep going back.
In-home acne light therapy products are are just as effective as the same therapy given at the dermatologist, they just cover a smaller area at a time. In-home products are available in blue light, red light and combinations of both.
The most light therapy device for acne right now is the Neutragena Light Therapy Acne Mask. It’s very affordable, trouble is, it’s designed for your face and that’s it. You need a different type of light for your back. Fortunately, there are better options. Here’s the best two options for back acne treatment:
Option #1 – A Hand-Held Acne Light
There are lots of hand-held acne lights on the market ranging in price from about $50 – $500.
With one of these devices it would be pretty easy to reach the back of your neck, top of your shoulders and, depending on your flexibility, a few inches down your back. Treatment times are about 3 minutes per coverage area so the larger the size of the treatment head, the better.
Option #2 – Bulbs or Powerheads
A light therapy bulb has many advantages over other types of devices, and versatility is on top of the list. A bulb usually has a standard size neck so it can be used with any type of fixture that’s best for you. We’ve found that clamp-on fixtures work really well for back acne treatment.
Here’s an example of back acne treatment using the a bulb in a clamp-on fixture. You can see it’s a hands-free treatment and it covers a much bigger area than a hand-held device could. The position of the light can be adjusted to any height or angle to cover your whole back and shoulders.