In recent years, red light therapy has emerged as a groundbreaking treatment for various skin conditions, including acne. This non-invasive and painless therapy utilises specific wavelengths of red light; blue light and NIR light to target acne-causing bacteria, reduce inflammation, and promote skin healing. If you’re tired of battling acne with conventional chemical based treatments, it’s time to explore the potential of red light therapy for acne. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the science behind red light therapy and its efficacy in treating acne, supported by references to evidence based clinical studies. There is a lot of noise in this space and it is so important to rely on solid science backed evidence when considering the appropriate products and wavelengths to use.
Before we delve into the benefits of red light therapy, it is important to understand what acne is and what causes it. Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. This can result in the formation of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and even cysts. Acne is often influenced by hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, but it can affect people of all ages.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Understanding the Basics of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy, also known as low-level light therapy or photobiomodulation, involves exposing the skin to specific wavelengths of red light. These wavelengths penetrate deep into the skin and stimulate cellular activity. When applied to the skin, red light therapy helps to increase blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. It also stimulates the production of collagen, a protein that is essential for maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin. Please watch this great video explainer for a deeper understanding.
Addressing Acne with Red Light Therapy
Reduction in Inflammation
One of the primary benefits of red light therapy for acne is its ability to reduce inflammation. The red light wavelengths have anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm the skin and reduce redness associated with acne. By decreasing inflammation, red light therapy can also alleviate pain and discomfort caused by acne breakouts.
Killing of Bacteria
Acne is often caused by the presence of bacteria on the skin. Red light therapy has been found to have antibacterial properties, making it effective in killing the bacteria that contribute to acne development. Blue Light also targets and destroys these bacteria and light therapy helps prevent new acne breakouts and promotes clearer skin.
Minimised Oil Production
Excessive oil production is a common factor in acne development. Red light therapy has been shown to regulate sebum production, the oil naturally produced by the skin. By reducing oil production, red light therapy helps keep the pores clear and minimises the likelihood of clogged follicles, leading to fewer acne breakouts.
Another significant benefit of red light therapy is its ability to accelerate the healing process. The red and NIR light wavelengths penetrate the skin, reaching the deeper layers where the acne lesions originate. This stimulates the production of new cells, increasing collagen; helping to repair damaged skin and promote faster healing of acne scars.
Clinical Studies on Red Light Therapy for Acne
- Study 1: Summary : Significant progress has been made so far in light-based treatment of acne. The strongest evidence for efficacy of light-based therapies for acne is for blue and blue-red light, with the greatest effect on mild to moderate inflammatory acne lesions. There is also evidence that PDT is effective in treating inflammatory acne lesions, although the adverse effects, mostly short term and self-resolving, tend to be more severe than blue light. “Light-based therapies in acne treatment”
- Study 2: Summary : The present study has shown that treating acne with both MAL-PDT and red-light-only PDT under an altered treatment regime of 20 J/cm2 after a 1.5 h occlusion time could be a good treatment modality, achieving an effect that can last for 20 weeks with tolerable side effects “Optimizing treatment of acne with photodynamic therapy (PDT) to achieve long-term remission and reduce side effects. A prospective randomized controlled trial“
- Study 3: Summary : Our study showed that LLLT using 630-nm laser (red spectrum) significantly reduces active acne lesions after 12 sessions of treatment during 10 weeks follow-up. “Comparison of Red and Infrared Low-level Laser Therapy in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris“
- Study 4: Summary : It has also been proven that phototherapy can significantly affect the activity of sebaceous glands and reduce the keratosis of the hair follicles outlets.Li et al conducted a study on the biological effect of red LED radiation in acne, using an in vitro model and obtained normalization of keratinization within the sebaceous glands. In turn, Jung et al used light-emitting diodes (LEDs) emitting both blue (415nm) and red (630nm) light to verify their effect on lipid production in human sebaceous cells in vitro. They showed that blue light inhibits their proliferation and red radiation reduces lipid production, which is one of the acne pathogenetic factor. “The Anti-Acne Effect of Near-Infrared Low-Level Laser Therapy“
- Study 5: Summary : Phototherapy with visible light, specifically blue light, has been shown to improve skin condition in cases of acne and blemishes. It is further reported to control the condition before an outbreak occurs. This blue light therapy is clinically shown to control acne without harsh chemicals or prescriptions and improves the skin’s appearance.It has been shown both in vivo and clinically that acne may be treated successfully with blue visible light phototherapy. Clinical Efficacy of Self-applied Blue Light Therapy for Mild-to-Moderate Facial Acne
Selecting the Right Light Therapy Device
There are many options around when it comes to light therapy and it can be quite daunting to work out which is the best and most appropriate for your situation and budget. If you intend to give Light Therapy a try then you should be investing in a quality product from a reputable local supplier.
As it is for acne you should make sure that the product offers all 3 wavelengths of Red; Blue and Near infrared (NIR) so that you tackle the conditions at all dermal levels and beyond to ensure that you are not just treating one area. Attacking all types of acne, from all angles, will provide the best outcomes and you will be more satisfied with the quicker results.
An example of a product that combines all 3 wavelengths is the Flexi Light Therapy Wrap R&B as shown above. It also has the added advantage of using either constant or pulsed lighting. it comes with sturdy acrylic base stands for facial treatments but it can also be applied direct to skin on other areas of your body.
Another product worthwhile considering is the T2Freedom torch as below. It is lightweight, has an internal rechargeable battery and perfect for when you are on the go or for spot treatments when you get an annoying flair-up. It also comes standard with a travel pack and screw on probe for internal bacterial treatments for nasal; ear or throat infections. Great for herpes lesions too.
Benefits of Light Therapy for Acne
- Non-Invasive and Pain-Free Treatment
- Reduction of Inflammation, Bacteria and Redness
- Stimulation of Collagen Production
- Minimal to no Side Effects
- Can be used ongoing without any reduction of efficacy unlike many topical treatments
- No drugs, so no harm or negative side effects to major organs from prolonged use
- Backed by many peer reviewed clinical studies
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- FAQ 1: Can red light therapy completely cure acne?
- Light therapy cannot guarantee a complete cure for acne. However, it can significantly improve the condition by reducing inflammation, killing acne-causing bacteria and promoting skin healing.
- FAQ 2: Is red light therapy safe for all skin types?
- Pretty much Yes, red light therapy is generally safe for all skin types. However, it is recommended to consult with a dermatologist to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific skin condition.
- FAQ 3: How long does it take to see results from red light therapy for acne?
- Results may vary from person to person, but noticeable improvements can often be observed after a few sessions of regular red light therapy.
- FAQ 4: Can red light therapy cause any side effects?
- Red light therapy is considered a safe treatment with minimal side effects. However, some individuals may experience mild skin redness or dryness, which usually subsides quickly.Also if you are taking certain medications that can cause photosensitivity then it would be best to check first with your current treating wellness professional or doctor.
- FAQ 5: Can I combine red light therapy with other acne treatments?
- Yes, red light therapy can be used in conjunction with other acne treatments. It is important to inform your dermatologist about any other treatments you are undergoing to ensure compatibility.
- FAQ 6: Can I perform red light therapy at home?
- Yes, there are numerous red light therapy devices available for home use. However, it is essential that the products you purchase are from quality local suppliers to ensure safety and effectiveness. Also it is worthwhile mentioning that International Suppliers should be avoided at all costs as their products can not be serviced locally and if anything were to go wrong you would be at a total loss. Also you may have to pay added customs duties and taxes for the importation and wait a long time for the product. It is worthwhile to check independent Review companies such as Trustpilot and not the sellers glowing website reviews (which are monitored by them), to gain a proper understanding of real customers experiences with that company.
In conclusion, red light therapy is a revolutionary treatment option for acne that offers promising results backed by clinical studies. By harnessing the power of specific wavelengths of red ; blue light and NIR, this therapy effectively targets acne-causing bacteria, reduces inflammation, and promotes skin healing. Its non-invasive nature, minimal side effects, and compatibility with other acne treatments make it a viable option for individuals seeking an alternative to traditional acne therapies.
Red light therapy for acne provides hope for those struggling with this common skin condition. With consistent and proper use, this therapy has the potential to transform the way we approach acne treatment.
So why wait? Explore the possibilities of red light therapy and embark on a journey towards clearer, healthier skin.