March 14, 2022
Does Blue Light Therapy For Acne Really Work?
Chronic acne can be challenging to treat, with many patients cycling through multiple creams, ointments, and medications to no avail. Blue light therapy is a non-invasive acne treatment that uses specific light waves to kill acne-causing bacteria. The procedure comes with minimal side effects and a very mild recovery.
However, does blue light therapy for acne work? The good news is there is plenty of promising research that speaks to the efficacy of blue light therapy. However, no single treatment is suitable for every patient, and not everyone’s skin responds to blue light therapy. Below, we will provide a breakdown of the science behind blue light therapy and what to expect from treatment.
What Is Blue Light Therapy For Acne?
Blue light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses light to kill bacteria on the skin. The wavelength of blue light has a microbial effect that can help treat acne caused by specific bacterial strains. There is also some evidence that blue light therapy can rid the skin of free radicals, improving skin health overall.
While blue light therapy is often viewed as a new and even experimental treatment, it is actually a research-backed science that dermatologists have used for over 20 years.
Is Blue Light Therapy Effective?
Blue light therapy can be very effective, but no two patients are the same. A lot is contigent on the specific strain of acne being treated. Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) are sensitive to blue wavelengths and are the most common cause of acne.
Recent research into the efficacy of blue light therapy for acne has been promising. One study found 77% of acne patients treated for five weeks with blue light therapy saw improvement. Another study found that daily self treatment with blue light therapy significantly reduced acne lesions and improved skin condition overall.
Blue light therapy – as we mentioned earlier – can also rid the skin of free radicals, meaning it has anti-inflammatory benefits. Blue light therapy may also treat secondary symptoms of acne, such as redness, in addition to reducing acne lesions.
Can You Use Blue Light Therapy At Home?
You can purchase and use devices designed to administer blue light at home. However, this is not always a good idea.
First, not everyone’s skin responds to blue light therapy. A consultation with a professional is the best means to determine whether you are a good candidate. Self administering blue light therapy may be a waste of time and money if your skin is unlikely to respond.
Second, devices designed for home use are generally not as powerful as those used by a doctor. Blue light therapy is much more likely to be effective in a clinical setting.
Lastly, while blue light therapy is very safe overall, every procedure carries certain risks. Working with a professional is the best way to mitigate your chance of complications.
What Happens During Blue Light Therapy
Before undergoing blue light therapy, you will have a consultation with a medical professional with experience administering blue light therapy. This is to ensure you are a good candidate for the procedure and to give you detailed instructions for pre-and post-treatment care. Follow all directions closely before and after your appointment to reduce your risk of complications. You may be asked to avoid certain skin products and medications before treatment.
Sessions last between 15 and 30 minutes. You will lay your head in a device to help keep your face still while your practitioner applies pulses of light from the blue light device. Treatment is not painful, but your skin may be sensitive after treatment.
After treatment, follow aftercare instructions closely. You may need to make changes to your skincare routine for the first week, such as avoiding scrubs and exfoliants. While you should wear sunscreen every day, be especially vigilant about this following blue light therapy.
Are There Risks Associated With Blue Light Therapy?
Mild side effects may occur in the days following blue light therapy such as skin peeling, mild pain, bruising, and swelling. These symptoms should resolve on their own and do not require treatment.
In rare cases, more severe side effects may occur, such as:
- Dried pus and blisters near the treatment site
- Severe pain
- Dark pigmentation
If you experience severe side effects, contact your practitioner. Even severe complications can typically be resolved with follow-up treatment.
What If IT Doesn’t Work?
While blue light therapy is effective for most people, not all acne patients are the same. It may not be as effective for acne not caused by P. acnes. Some patients may also need multiple sessions before seeing results.
However, if you are not getting your desired results even after several sessions, your skin may simply not respond well to blue light therapy. While this can be disappointing, do not give up. Talk to a dermatologist about your other options. Today, there are many non-invasive and low-risk treatments for acne. You should be able to find something that works for you with a bit of diligence.
The Bottom Line
Blue light therapy has been highly effective for many patients seeking a low-risk, minimally invasive treatment option for acne. Acne lesions can be embarrassing and often painful. Finding a treatment route that works can have a substantial impact on your self-esteem and quality of life.
Interested in blue light therapy? At CORR, our team has experience providing innovative medical treatment and comprehensive therapies tailored to individual patients’ needs. Reach out today to learn more.