Important: I am not a doctor of any kind and what follows is not medical advice. If you are suffering with rosacea, please consult your doctor, dermatologist and/or naturopathic physician to help with symptoms and determine the underlying cause.
There are now 4 colors of light that are benefitting people with rosacea symptoms. If I remember my math correctly, that makes 16-24 possible different ways to use those colors in your treatment.
Here’s how you choose which light to start with, and how to add others as you go.
Always start with red, at least.
If you have burning, itching, tightness or acne like symptoms, you start with red for sure.
When to start with a combination of red and amber.
If you have some of those symptoms AND permanent redness or broken capillaries, you can start with a combination of red and amber light. It doesn’t matter if the lights are separate or combined, just follow the directions that came with the light.
Never start with green or blue for rosacea.
Why not? Rosacea is an inflammatory condition of the skin, among other things. Red light is what treats that. There are now decades of research behind red light therapy proving it effective for reducing inflammation and healing skin.
Amber light is very closely related to red light. It does exactly the same thing, it just doesn’t penetrate as deeply, so it has it’s effects nearer the surface of the skin.
Red light is the cornerstone of light therapy for rosacea. Amber is a secondary choice when there is constant redness and broken capillaries visible on the surface of the skin.
Green light has been helpful for some rosacea suffers, but it has a small fraction of the proven benefits of red light for skin conditions. I am not saying it doesn’t work or that you shouldn’t try it, I am only saying don’t try it first.
Blue light kills bad bacteria, and reduces oversized sebaceous glands in the skin. Rosacea is not caused by acne bacteria. In my 15 years of experience in light therapy for skin conditions, I have more often heard that blue light, specifically 415 nm blue light, made rosacea symptoms worse. It’s not like I heard this once. I received many returns and processed many refunds because people bought an acne light (415 nm blue) for rosacea and it made it worse instead of better.
It’s true, some people are finding that blue light is helping them. If you want to try that out for yourself, pick a blue light with a longer wavelength, like 450-470 nm. That should contain zero UV and be less harsh on sensitive skin. Also, do not overuse the light. Light therapy is not a “more is better” type of thing.
When and how to add amber, green or blue light to a rosacea treatment routine.
When to add amber.
Let’s say you have been using red for 4 weeks consistently and now you want to add amber. Here’s how you can do it.
Option #1. Quit red and just use amber for 4 weeks.
To find out exactly what the difference is between red and amber for you, you can quit using red and use only amber for 4 weeks. That will give you the most information the fastest about which light is doing what for you.
Option #2. Use red and then amber.
If you are using red light therapy once daily, then to add amber you would use red light one day, then amber light the next day.
If you want to increase your treatments to twice daily, then you would use red light in the morning and amber light at night.
If you want to use them both at the same time, then you would use them each for 1/2 the recommended treatment time, because essentially you are doubling the treatment to the surface of the skin. Doubling recommended treatment times can lead to less effective or ineffective treatments.
So, for example, let’s say you already have a red light that you are using for 3 minutes per area. Now you have an amber light and you want to use it, too, but you only have opportunity to do your treatments once per day. In this case you would use the red light for 1.5 minutes per area, and the amber light for 1.5 minutes per area. This avoids doubling the dose.
When to add green or blue and how.
After you have used red or combination red/amber daily for at least 4 weeks, then you can add green or blue and see what it does.
In this case you can simply add the new color to your regimen. It is okay to use green or blue immediately after red or amber, and for the full recommended treatment time.
Don’t add both green and blue at the same time, because you won’t know which color is having what effect.
As I said, I have about 15 years experience in helping people use light therapy to treat various skin conditions. Rosacea has been the most challenging of them all. Everyone experiences rosacea differently. Everybody’s skin type is different, everybody’s symptoms are different, everybody’s triggers are different, and now there are 4 different colors of light involved.
Light therapy for rosacea can be very effective. And I know you are eager for relief. But it is best to take a slow (I’m sorry), and methodical approach to using light therapy as treatment. That is how you are going to find out if light therapy is going to work for you or not, and exactly which color or combination of colors is going to work best for your unique situation.
I hope this has answered your questions about how and when to use which lights.
If this leaves you with more questions, please contact me, I’ll be glad to help you.