Light affects energy production in all cells of the body, especially the skin.
It increases energy metabolism and has been proven to help with a variety of skin conditions – acne is among them.
- Significant reduction in frequency and severity of acne
- Reduced pore size
- Skin heals much faster
- Reduced inflammation
- Helps prevent & treat acne scars
- No hormonal side effects
- Can be applied at home
Why does light help acne?
Most people who have tried will agree that natural sunlight seems to have a beneficial effect on their skin and reduces severity of spots. Why does this happen?
Sunlight itself contains a wide spectrum of light, parts of which are beneficial and other parts which are harmful. We know that:
- Ultraviolet light (UVA & UVB), at wavelength 280nm – 400nm for example, can harm and prematurely age skin and even cause skin melanomas and worsen skin conditions. It can also sterilise the skin of bacteria, not to mention helps us to produce vitamin D and perhaps other healthy hormones.
- Pure blue light at a wavelength of 415 nm can kill a range of bacteria including Propionibacterium Acnes, the main microorganism linked to acne. While not beneficial for skin health directly, blue light doesn’t harm us like excess ultraviolet will. It is used by some dermatologists and patients looking for a solution to acne, although we do not recommend it for any type of skin treatment, especially on the face. Blue light is linked directly to eye damage, but also potential DNA damage in cells anywhere on the body.
- Red light at 620nm and 670nm is also proven to kill a wide range of bacteria, again including Propionibacterium acnes, however the key difference over blue light is that red light is directly beneficial for our own skin health, soothing inflammation and helping with energy generation and oxidative metabolism. Essentially it harms acne bacteria while protecting our skin at the same time.
How does red light kill the acne-causing bacteria?
Acne causing bacteria have a weak link in their metabolism – a chemical called porphyrin.
This naturally produced chemical is sensitive to blue, red and other visible light, which energises it, sending it on a destructive path around the bacteria cell.
This activated porphyrin ultimately kills the bacteria (by creating singlet oxygen which combines with cell parts – destroying them), without harming the skin.
What type of light is optimal?
- Every light therapy device for acne treatment on the market should contain red light, which is safe and highly effective.
- A superior device must contain red light of high strength – which helps in killing the bacteria, whilst also protecting and energising the skin cells. Higher strengths of red light will also more quickly reduce the inflammation associated with acne, leading to faster healing and less chance of scars.
- Porphyrin in acne bacteria is most sensitive to wavelengths in the 400-430nm range, however blue light like this does not penetrate deeply into the skin. Deeper bacteria in pores or behind blackheads will be largely untouched by light from some devices. Near infrared light is something to consider for deeper acne because the near infrared wavelengths of light still activate porphyrin (albeit to a lesser degree than blue/red) whilst also being able to penetrate deeper into the skin.