Blue Light Therapy: Side Effects

Blue Light Therapy: Side Effects

 

 

Blue light emitted from electronics such as smartphones and computers has been maligned in some circles. 

But, in reality, not all blue light is bad. Blue light is an effective acne treatment and when part of photodynamic therapy, is used to treat non-melanoma skin cancer. 

This treatment can also reduce symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions and accelerate wound healing. 

Does blue light have any side effects? Here’s what you need to know!

For more information, check out our BIOMAX Series panels, which offer blue light therapy treatment and red light therapy treatment simultaneously. 

 

Does Blue Light Therapy Have Side Effects?

Blue light therapy is part of the visible light spectrum.

Using blue light therapy exposure for treatment is a safe, painless, and noninvasive treatment.

We generally recommend that users of blue light therapy keep their treatment sessions to a max of 20 minutes per day. There are no serious side effects from using blue light therapy treatment. 

The only potential minor side effects take place when users extend their treatment time well beyond the recommended 20 minutes per day. In these cases, minor side effects can include temporary skin tightness or redness. 

No negative long-term effects from low-intensity blue light therapy have been reported.

One of the other often-raised concerns is with regard to potential eye strain. It’s important that we address this head-on. 

 

Does Blue Light Therapy Cause Eye Strain? 

Smartphones, computer screens, and light-emitting diode (LED) light fixtures are believed to cause eye strain. Other studies dispute this, saying that any kind of bright light exposure after sunset can disturb the circadian rhythm.

It is partly also for this reason that we recommend that light therapy panel treatment be done earlier in the day. 

Blue light therapy treatment sessions are no more damaging to the eyes than looking at a computer screen. There is furthermore no reason to be looking directly at the light diodes during treatment. The idea is to expose the skin to the blue light rays. 

However, for those who remain concerned, treatment goggles can be used for eye protection. We also include these in packages with our BIOMAX Series red and blue light therapy treatment panels

 

Does Blue Light Therapy Cause Disrupted Sleep? 

When you use a blue light therapy device to treat moderate acne, sun damage, or inflammation on the skin, you don’t have to worry about disrupting your circadian rhythm as long as you use light-blocking goggles. It may also help to seek treatment earlier in the day. 

In order to signal the hypothalamus that it’s time to wake up, blue light has to enter through the retina. Blue light can’t do that if you wear light-blocking goggles, and meanwhile, shining blue light onto the skin won't disrupt the circadian rhythm.

 

Does Blue Light Therapy Cause Skin Damage? 

The key to using blue light therapy safely is to only use specific wavelengths within the blue light spectrum (450-480nm) rather than blue light in the low 400-nanometer range (410-420nm). The lower ranges of blue light have very similar effects to ultraviolet light. 

With the BIOMAX Series, you are safely within the desired optimal wavelengths for treatment and above those that may cause concern. 

Blue light in other light therapy panels can be a different story, depending on the wavelength. Those in the lower 400nm range have been shown to increase oxidative stress in skin cells. They may also be toxic to human fibroblasts, which are responsible for collagen production in the skin. This means that blue light in the low 400nm range which is well below our diodes, can lead to DNA damage, cell death, eye damage, and premature aging of the skin.

That’s why it was key for us to ensure that our blue light therapy diodes emitted at 480nm. 

The challenge is that small handheld blue light therapy devices rarely disclose which blue light wavelengths they are using. If these devices feature blue light wavelengths in the low 400nm range, then blue light exposure mimics UV light exposure. Don't take that chance!

Using an FDA-cleared medical-grade blue light therapy device where the light source is calibrated to 470-480nm is the only way to ensure the light reaching your skin is not too close to the UV spectrum.

"Blue light therapy is an effective option for addressing skin concerns when used responsibly. When complemented with PlatinumLEDs' powerful red light wavelengths that penetrate deeper into the body's tissue layers, it addresses systemic inflammation, leading to enhanced therapeutic healing potential.

Functional Medicine Doctor of Physical Therapy,  Dr. Alayna Newton, PT, DPT, FAFS


Blue Light Therapy Usage Guidelines

Other than doctor-administered photodynamic therapy to kill cancer cells on the skin, blue light therapy panels allow you to treat various skin problems at home.

Blue light therapy is applied to clean, bare skin. Simply sit at a short distance from the device, set the desired time, and relax for the duration of the session! A short treatment time every day or every other day is easier to fit into a busy day and make blue light therapy part of your regular skincare routine.

If the treated skin feels tight or red afterward, don't worry, this reaction will go away shortly.

Blue Light Therapy Treatment

Blue light therapy has several applications that support your health and well-being. 

 

Blue Light Therapy for Hair Growth

Blue light therapy may be well-known as an acne treatment but it can also help regrow hair. The treatment:

  • Stimulates the hair follicles to enter the growth phase
  • Reduces inflammation that could be contributing to inactive follicles
  • Increases blood circulation in the scalp
  • Stimulates keratin production for thicker, stronger hair

 

Blue Light Therapy for Mild to Moderate Acne

Blue light is known to kill acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin. Blue light can kils bacteria, improve skin texture, and calm inflammation to clear up mild to moderate acne without the use of harsh drugs or steroids. The treatment also reduces sebaceous hyperplasia (enlarged oil glands) to help clear up scarring caused by acne. 

Fortunately, the most common acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), contains its own photosensitizing agents which make the bacteria extremely sensitive to blue light wavelengths. 

A single blue light treatment can kill P. acnes. However, consistent blue light treatment is recommended to ensure the bacterial infection is completely eliminated. Using blue light regularly may lower the risk factor of recurring P. acnes infections.

Masks and handheld blue light wands are not powerful enough to effectively kill bacteria except in a few mild cases. Patients see much better results using a medical-grade light therapy panel — especially one that contains red/near-infrared light.

While blue light reduces inflammation on the skin’s surface, its short wavelengths can’t absorb into the skin. Therefore, the best way to use light as an acne treatment is to use a combination of blue light to kill bacteria on the skin surface along with red light therapy to reduce inflammation in all layers of the skin.

 

Blue Light Therapy for Psoriasis and Atopic Dermatitis

Blue light has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It also reduces the hyper proliferation of keratinocytes (skin cells), which makes it a useful treatment for psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema.


Blue Light Therapy for Sun Damage and Skin Cancer Prevention

Blue light therapy as part of routine skin care or acne treatment is not the same as a special type of blue light therapy called photodynamic therapy (PDT) used to treat skin cancer, which uses photosensitizing drugs and high-intensity blue light. Photodynamic therapy is an outpatient procedure administered by a doctor.

Photodynamic therapy is a treatment for reddish, scaly patches of UV-damaged skin cells called actinic keratosis. This treatment addresses sun damage and helps prevent skin cancer because left untreated, actinic keratosis may become tumor cells.

A photodynamic therapy treatment uses high-intensity blue light along with a photosensitizing agent to destroy actinic keratosis before these cells become malignant. Blue light photodynamic therapy is an option for people who have a lot of sun damage or multiple actinic keratoses.


Blue Light Therapy for Skin Cancer (Photodynamic Therapy)

Photodynamic therapy is a special blue light treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma. This treatment involves photosensitizing agents such as aminolevulinic acid and high-intensity blue light. This light treatment is administered by a doctor.

First, photosensitizing agents are applied to the skin. Then, blue light is applied to the affected area. This causes the photosensitizing agents to react with oxygen. Photodynamic therapy kills cancer cells in the treated area without harming surrounding tissue. The treatment also an immune system response to the malignant cancer cells.

Most patients require two to three photodynamic therapy treatment sessions four to six weeks apart to completely kill cancer cells in the treated area. Although photodynamic therapy often comes with negative effects like redness, flaking, and peeling, these are temporary.

 

Blue Light Therapy for Wound Healing

Blue light can be used to heal skin wounds that are at risk of infection. Blue light treatment accelerates clearance of the infection by killing bacteria exposed to the light. This makes wounds less likely to become septic.


Blue Light Therapy with The BIOMAX Series 

To recap, blue light at 480nm is safe for the skin. 480nm is the wavelength of blue light that is used in all BIOMAX series LED light therapy panels. These panels also contain two red light wavelengths (part of the visible light spectrum) and three near-infrared light wavelengths which are invisible to the human eye. 

Red and near-infrared (NIR) light also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Red light therapy treatment also increases cellular fuel production, improves circulation, and stimulates collagen production in the skin and underlying tissues.

Using all of these wavelengths at the same time boosts the therapeutic benefits of blue light, which can only affect the outermost layer of skin. Red light absorbs through all skin layers, and NIR light absorbs into deeper tissues including bone and muscle.

The BIOMAX series red light therapy devices come in four different sizes. They deliver the most light energy power in their class and come with an industry-leading three-year warranty.

The panels are modular so you can link two or four panels together to increase treatment area and light energy output. This allows you to treat areas anywhere in the body, from targeted applications like facial skin rejuvenation and hair growth, or widespread skin problems, muscle aches, neuropathy, or joint pain.

Blue light therapy remains an excellent treatment option for anyone seeking to optimize their health and lifestyle, offering convenient and affordable at-home treatment.  

Back to blog