No one enjoys waking up to a new batch of pimples on their face, whether experiencing a breakout shortly before an important event or having dealt with acne their whole lives. Fortunately, light therapy can help clear up existing acne and prevent future breakouts. A natural treatment that eliminates acne-causing bacteria and enhances the look of your skin, light therapy may sound too good to be true. But it isn't. In fact, in this article, we go deeper into how you may use light therapy for acne treatment. On top of that, we explain what causes breakouts in the first place, how often such therapy can be used, how long until the results are visible, and more.
The Cause Behind Acne
In essence, acne is a skin condition that manifests itself when bacteria, excess oil, and infection gather just under the skin's surface. Pimples, cysts, and nodules are just a few examples of the ugly and often painful blemishes that can result from this. For some people, acne is inevitable — courtesy of genetics, hormonal oscillations, or adolescence. The lack of personal hygiene could also be to blame in some instances. Furthermore, it's not uncommon for acne to be caused by more than one factor, the most prevalent of which are:
- Lack of or poor hygiene
- A diet lacking in vitamins and minerals
- Hormonal oscillations
- Medical condition
What Constitutes Acne Treatment?
Mild breakouts are usually successfully treated with the help of over-the-counter or DIY products. However, in severe cases, only expert acne treatments may be able to clear up the skin. Furthermore, scars formed due to persistent acne can often be improved only with in-office procedures. Regardless, the following are the most common acne treatments:
- Topical ointments
- Prescription drugs
- Laser therapy
- Light therapy (blue & red)
How to Use Light Therapy for Acne Treatment?
Before we go deeper into how light therapy can minimize existing acne appearance and prevent breakouts, we must note that two different types of light are typically used in treatment. Blue and red. Patients can either subject themselves to a professional light therapy session or perform one at home using a specifically designed device emitting red or blue light. In the case of the latter, it's necessary to carefully read the instructions before using them to reduce to risk of side effects. Additionally, it's important to be mindful of storing such devices, especially if children are in the household. In such situations, NYC Mini Storage advises keeping light therapy devices within the confines of the climate-controlled storage unit, where they will be safe, sound, and out of reach of the little ones.
While at-home gadgets are convenient, they aren't always strong enough to combat years-old acne and scars. That's why seeking professional assistance is often not a recommendation but a necessity.
Blue Light Therapy for Acne Treatment
Blue LED therapy and phototherapy, or simply blue light therapy, is a game-changing treatment for severe acne and scarring. It kills acne-causing bacteria and decreases oil production, resulting in clearer, healthier skin with fewer breakouts.
While wearing protective glasses, patients sit or lie in a dimly lit room during a blue light therapy session. A treatment generally takes about 30 minutes or less to perform. It's common for patients to notice their skin is red, swollen, or itchy following it. However, avoiding touching or picking at the treated skin is important to hasten the recovery from these mild side effects.
Blue light therapy's full effects may take two to four weeks to show. In addition, subsequent maintenance sessions will be needed for individuals to retain the new complexion. For a satisfactory outcome, individuals will need to commit to 2-3 weekly sessions across the period of 4-6 weeks. After that, therapy is best repeated every 3-4 months to prevent acne from flaring up again. In the meantime, patients should also develop a regular skincare routine and maintain a high personal hygiene standard.
Red Light Therapy for Acne Treatment
Like its blue counterpart, red light therapy is well-known for its use in treating acne. However, while it is incredibly beneficial for the skin, its effects go beyond that. Evidence from clinical trials suggests that red light has broad applications in the fields of healing, health, and overall well-being.
During a session, specific body areas are exposed to LED lamps emitting red light. Among all colors of the visible spectrum, red light is known to be the one that's least harmful to the skin. In fact, not only is it not harmful, but it even goes as far as to promote cell health, skin cell proliferation, and collagen synthesis.
Red light acts like a stimulant that increases cellular energy production throughout the body, notably in the skin. Its effects are comparable to taking a shot or coffee or a dose of B12 but without the following crash. Thanks to it, cells can perform at a high level for more extended periods. They are also more equipped to perform functions like healing and tissue regeneration. This is precisely why red light therapy works so well for acne of varying degrees of severity. But its benefits aren't limited to acne treatment only. In fact, they extend to a wide range of skincare uses, including treating wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots (hyperpigmentation) reduction.
Common side effects of this light therapy for acne treatment include slight inflammation, redness, and itchy skin. Most red light therapy treatments begin with three to five weekly sessions, each lasting 10 to 20 minutes. This can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the severity of the acne. Of course, should patients decide to do so after the initial phase, they can reduce the number of sessions or tone down their frequency.
We hope this article has helped you better understand how often and how to use light therapy for acne treatment. Of course, just as with any other treatment, we don't recommend you subject yourself to this one blindly. First, consult your dermatologist. After all, having treated you before, they are the ones that know your skin best beside you. And who knows? They could even give you a suggestion or two on using light therapy both in-office and at home.