Red and Blue Light Treatments For Acne- Do They Work?
LED or Light-emitting-diode light-therapy devices have grown in popularity for skin care as of late. From Neutrogena’s light-therapy mask that uses both red and blue light, to the Foreo blue-light handheld device for acne. You might have seen the devices on Instagram or even YouTube. They’re marketed as skin-enhancing devices that could improve acne, soothe inflammation, and decrease oil production. But do these red and blue light products do all they claim?
The director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Practice, Angela Lamb, says there is science to support the products. However, one should know the limitations. By exposing yourself to different types of low-level LED light, there are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory perks, making them perfect for treating acne or redness. These home devices are much cheaper, convenient, albeit less powerful versions of the LED light treatments available at dermatologist’s offices.
There are many light treatments you can purchase for at home use. The Tri-Light LED device by Skin, Inc. uses blue, red, and yellow light. However, the most common types on the shelves are those using either blue, red, or a combination of the two lights. On the one hand, the blue light has shorter wavelengths that target acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin. Red light, on the other hand, penetrates deeper into the skin to help with inflammation. Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine, Hooman Khorasani says the combination of the blue and red light could reduce the sebaceous glands to lessen your skin’s production of oil.
Red and Blue Light Compared With Other Treatments Alone or Together
Overall, Khorasani says there is evidence for its ability to improve redness and acne. He would, however, hesitate in recommending at-home therapy used for anti-aging products. He says many small trials show modest efficacy for the at-home devices for improving acne. Most range from 30 to 50 percent improvement. The benefits can arise as soon as a few weeks and can build over the first couple months after treatment. There are no clinical trials that compare the devices to one another or other treatments for acne.
Even though light therapy might not work for wrinkles and might not be a miracle for curing acne, experts say there aren’t any downsides if you’re willing to give it a try. Both treatments have proven to be safe with little to no side effects.
LED devices shouldn’t take the place of acne fighters such as retinoids. Instead, they should be used together with a combined treatment plan — and never for extreme acne. Should you combine them with retinoids, experts suggest you alter the days you use either of them. This way, you avoid photosensitivity.