Acne Light Therapy

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.

Benefits

  • 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
  • Non-invasive
  • 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 and has been used successfully for years by dermatologists and patients looking for a solution to acne.acne bacteria killed by light therapy
  • 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 blue 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 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?

  • colours in red-blue cobEvery light therapy device for acne treatment on the market has to contain blue light, which is safe and highly effective.
  • Unlike many on the market though, a superior device must also contain red light – which helps in killing the bacteria, whilst also protecting and energising the skin cells. Red light gently reduces the inflammation associated with acne too, 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. Orange and green light are essential in a fully optimised light device because they still activate porphyrin (albeit to a lesser degree than blue) whilst also being able to penetrate deeper into the skin.

Recommended light to treat acne

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6 thoughts on “Acne Light Therapy

  1. Radha says:

    Can we uses near infrared LED 850nm on scalp for hair growth ??? LLLT always uses 650 nm for hair growth , why not near infrared ?
    Do you have any info regarding this ? If you any links to the related articles, please share.

    • Joe says:

      Hey there,
      There are animal studies pointing to near infrared being better for hair growth, but it might just be down to the better penetration of that over red, and the dose. With a low dose of infrared light, a greater proportion of it would penetrate down to the hair follicle relative to red.
      LLLT doesn’t always use 650nm red light for hair growth, it’s just a few initial studies used that wavelength and everyone got excited, without any direct comparisons to other wavelengths. There’s no reason to believe it is somehow a magical wavelength for hair growth, and every reason to believe it would be worse than 620nm or 670nm.

  2. Radha says:

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the reply. So you mean we can use near infrared LED (~850 nm) on scalp for hair growth ??? without any side effect ?
    Because on of my friend had used 850nm LED on the scalp & he reported slow & less hair growth. not sure if it stops hair growth or promotes hair growth.

    • Joe says:

      Hey Radha,
      Yeah sure. All light between 600-900nm works on that same mechanism of improving energy production in cells. 850nm LEDs definitely won’t make your hair fall out. It will be basically as effective as 650nm for hair health, with minor differences.
      If your friend is getting side effects from LED light, I would first check the EMFs (and make sure the device is earthed) and then check the heat coming from the device. I would also make sure to know the power density of the light, so you can calculate a reasonable dose and not overstimulate the scalp.

  3. krirag12 says:

    Hi,

    I have had mild acne and rosacea in my face for some time and would like to know more about the device you mention in the text above. I was interested in buying the it but noticed that it’s no longer available in your shop, how come? Can I get it somewhere else or do you recommend a different device instead?

    Thanks.

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