October 30, 2021
Your Guide to Blue Light Therapy
Digital blue light doesn’t have a lot of fans these days, and for good reason – too much exposure from screens can zap energy & do long-term damage to the eyes. But when it comes to the original, nature-made wavelengths, there’s actually a bounty of benefits to be had, particularly for the skin. Blue light therapy treatment harnesses these benefits and delivers them directly to the patient.
In the sections ahead, we’ll show you exactly what blue light therapy is, and how it can help a wide variety of ailments – from the mild to the major. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a firm understanding of what this cutting-edge technology can do, and whether or not it’s right for you. Most importantly, we’ll show you why feeling blue can actually feel pretty great.
The biggest benefit to blue light therapy? Your skin – in all sorts of ways. The most common use for it at present is as an acne treatment. Most acne is caused by a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes (or P. acnes for short), which is photosensitive to wavelengths between 405 and 470 nanometers and thus makes it prone to blue light’s effects. It doesn’t work for every case of acne, and for some, multiple treatments plus a regimen of creams may be required to fully get the job done, but for the vast majority of acne sufferers, blue light therapy can significantly aid the condition, and fast-forward your skin to a clearer, sunnier complexion.
Acne’s only the tip of the blue iceberg, however, when it comes to positive effects for your skin. Blue light therapy can also help prevent and clear up staph infections, which are caused by staphylococcus bacteria – a strain that’s also vulnerable to the wavelengths’ effects. Blue light can even treat MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus); staph which is unresponsive to most antibiotics. Other skin conditions that benefit from blue light therapy include psoriasis and rosacea.
Regretting a history of too much outdoor time with too little sunscreen? Most notably, blue light therapy can even tackle sun-damaged skin and help prevent skin cancer, as part of a greater regimen known as photodynamic therapy. Sun-damaged patches of skin called actinic keratoses can develop into squamous cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer. After treating the skin with a photosensitizing medication, the technician applies blue light to the sensitive area, which kills all skin cells that absorbed the medication, and ultimately sheds the layers of damaged, precancerous skin.
Ultimately, three to four treatments is ideal to treat cancer-prone skin patches, ideally spaced about four to six weeks apart. Aside from the preventative benefits from the procedure, photodynamic therapy can reduce fine lines and leave your skin looking fresher and younger, making it a procedure that’s as helpful for your confidence as it is for your health (not that confidence alone isn’t a healthy thing to have).
New Frontiers For Blue Light Therapy
Beyond the surface, blue light therapy offers exciting benefits for the rest of your body, too – and even your mind. New research offers an evolving picture of all its uses, and its potential to do even more. What gives this treatment versatility is the customization of its wavelengths. Blue light is measured in nanometers, specifically 400 nm – 495 nm. From 400 – 420 nm, blue light barely penetrates the skin, and offers a wealth of antibacterial benefits to the surface. On the higher end of the spectrum, blue light offers less antibacterial benefits but can penetrate much deeper into the skin. These are just a few of blue light therapy’s applications, on both lower and higher wavelengths:
- Liver Treatments – On higher settings, blue light can penetrate deep into the liver and clean out toxin traffic jams. Most strikingly, it’s used on newborns born with neonatal jaundice (which also speaks to the general safety of the procedure), and anyone born with Crigler-Najjar Syndrome, but it can also be used for regular liver maintenance.
- Periodontal Disease Treatment – Lower-level blue light can assist with killing the bacteria that causes a variety of teeth ailments. On top of that, it can also be used to whiten your smile.
- Treatment for Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder – While the sun itself offers many of the same benefits, blue light therapy can also target and reduce the effects of mood disorders, specifically in the winter, when the sunlight can be harder to come by.
- Better Sleep – While electronic blue light can actually harm sleep patterns, the natural version can realign your circadian rhythm & provide a quick fix to insomnia, both Delayed and Advanced Sleep Phase Syndromes, or simply jet lag.
- General Antibacterial Assistance – From scrapes to bruises to the surface of your phone, low-level blue light can be harnessed in a variety of gadgets that keep both you and your environment clean & clear of illness-causing bacteria.
Aside from the antibacterial at-home accessories mentioned above, it’s highly recommended that you receive your blue light therapy from a licensed professional in a controlled environment, like CORR. While the procedure is safe, it can come with a few side effects – red, itchy skin that gives way to peeling layers (often necessary to reveal the fresh skin underneath), along with sun sensitivity, and on the less common but more severe side, stomach aches and dizziness. These adverse reactions are easier to avoid when under proper supervision, from someone that knows what they’re actually doing – instead of a friend with a fancy, expensive blue light tool.
If you identify with any of the conditions listed above, and want to know more about blue light treatments (or are simply curious about the broader benefits of light therapy) reach out and contact the team at CORR. We’re here to answer any questions, and get you started towards a clearer, healthier you – inside & out.