Blue light acne treatment: how does it work?
We are used to warning you against the harmful effects of blue light and we constantly tell you to protect yourself from it... 🤨 and yet, today, here we are praising its benefits?
Don't worry, we're still very strict about protecting your eyes against blue light, but since we were asked the question recently, we're going to talk about your skin and how LED therapy (or light therapy) can fight acne.
In this article :
🔵 Blue light, what is it?
💡 The effects of blue light on acne
🚨 The benefits of light therapy
👉 Our advice to fight against acne
Blue light, what is it?
We suspect that if you are around here, you know the answer to this question. But a little reminder doesn't hurt, right?
Blue light is part of the light spectrum (the famous white light from the sun), which is made up of red, orange, yellow, green and blue rays, each associated with a well-defined wavelength and amount of energy.
Blue light is therefore the part of the light spectrum whose wavelength is between 380 and 500 nanometers , ie the shortest visible to the human eye.
The danger of blue light comes mainly from exposure to artificial blue light: that which is contained in natural light is useful in our functioning, in particular on the day/night rhythm!
On the other hand, overexposure to blue light from screens or LEDs can cause:
😴 Sleep and falling asleep disorders,
👀 Eye irritation,
👁 And more generally eye fatigue.
➡️ To learn more about blue light and its effects, we advise you to read our practical guide: the truth about blue light .
The effects of blue light on acne
But blue light is not only harmful! Light therapy based on blue or white light is also used to combat depression.
More recently, phototherapy (treatment of the skin with light) has been increasingly used to combat acne . Indeed, each color of light would have an effect on our skin and the treatment by light-emitting diodes of certain skin problems is becoming popular in the office as well as at home.
To fight against acne, a combination of blue light and red light is used:
🔵 Blue LEDs would have a particularly useful anti-bacterial effect against the bacteria responsible for inflammatory acne: propionibacterium acnes 🦠
By attacking P.acnes, we would avoid its proliferation and therefore, acne breakouts.
🔴 Red LEDs have a healing, anti-inflammatory action and stimulate collagen production.
According to specialists and studies that have looked into this technology, photomodulation (another name for treatment based on LEDs) would therefore be the solution to imperfections, blackheads, acne, lesions, oily skin and other skin problems.
Obviously, if we combine all these verbs in the conditional, it is not to show you our extensive knowledge of Bescherelle but because for the moment, the information is to be taken with a grain of salt : some studies tend to demonstrate the benefits blue light therapy for acne, but it's still very recent.
The benefits of light therapy
🤔 But then, why use phototherapy as an acne treatment?
If you are concerned, you surely know that the treatments that exist on the market are often restrictive and have many side effects for variable effectiveness. We are thinking in particular of antibiotics and drug treatments such as roaccutane which, even if they are often administered, are not always well tolerated or do not necessarily give the expected results.
Light therapy is therefore presented as an alternative without pain or side effects , unlike laser or aesthetic medicine because it is carried out using the cold light of a UV-free LED lamp.
Please note, we are not advising you to do an anti-acne treatment by sticking your face to your screen or providing you with an excuse to increase your screen time: this phototherapy treatment is performed using a device dedicated LED , preferably at a dermatologist. Because even if it is a painless treatment, there are still contraindications and precautions to take.
Finally, this treatment is rather recommended for young patients with moderate acne and the protocol includes several sessions of 10 to 20 minutes. The results would be visible after a few weeks.
You should know that to date there is still little perspective on the effectiveness of phototherapy against acne. Some studies have started to show positive effects but they are still too few.
Some examples of research and studies on blue light and acne:
🔬 In a 2004 study , out of 28 people testing blue light therapy over 8 sessions for 4 weeks, 65% saw an improvement.
🔬 Another study in 2011 compared the effects of light therapy and a placebo: out of 30 people, those who received the blue light treatment saw effects earlier than those who received the placebo.
🔬 In a Japanese study , out of 10 people with severe acne, 8 saw their imperfections decrease significantly with 2 sessions per week, without feeling any pain or side effects.
The Disadvantages of Blue Light Skin Treatment
Even if this technique seems promising, we allow ourselves to bring a little nuance and to draw your attention to certain points:
The lack of hindsight and the few independent studies conducted on the subject,
The price of the sessions which can vary from simple to double according to the establishments (from around 40€ per session to a global package of up to 1500€)
The price of devices to test acne light therapy at home remains high (from 100€ for the most famous brand)
Our tips for fighting acne
Before resorting to an acne treatment, the basic is to take care of your skin. Without necessarily having to go to the spa every week, you can easily apply some valuable tips to prevent and treat imperfections:
Cleanse your skin morning and evening with a suitable gentle product: avoid using overly aggressive products which amplify the problem instead of solving it.
Remove your make-up every night if you use make-up: an essential gesture to avoid the panic of the sebaceous glands and to avoid panda eyes when you wake up.
Moisturize your skin with daily care : if you have combination to oily skin, choose water-based and alcohol-free moisturizers.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle: drink enough water to hydrate your skin cells and make sure you have a balanced diet rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals essential for your health.
Protect your skin from UV (and your eyes too, witheffective sunglasses ) which accelerate cellular aging.
Do not touch your pimples , at the risk of aggravating the inflammation!
If necessary, consult a professional who will recommend a suitable treatment to fight against your acne.
The final word: blue light against acne
🔵 Blue light is not only harmful: it helps our body to adjust to the day / night rhythm and it can even be used in facial care!
💡 It is the combination of two types of LED lamps that will be used: blue light to eliminate the bacteria responsible for acne and red to boost healing.
🧑 🔬 The effects of phototherapy are still at the study stage and it will probably take a few years of hindsight to draw conclusions: think about consulting to find out if this treatment is suitable for your skin.
➡ The basis, even before treating acne with light therapy, is obviously to take care of your skin by cleaning it regularly, moisturizing it and adopting a healthy lifestyle.