In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of blue light therapy.
This includes considering the many health and lifestyle benefits as well as the potential side-effects.
Ultimately, blue light therapy is an effective treatment for a variety of things, including acne and surface-level skin treatment.
This is partly why it has been integrated into the BIOMAX Panels, along with a variety of red light wavelengths for maximum treatment.
Are There Risks and Side Effects from Blue Light Therapy?
We typically recommend 20 minutes maximum of panel exposure per day in the morning, given that this is enough to meet therapeutic needs.
The Safety of Blue Light Therapy for The Skin
Unless users have a specific skin condition, blue light wavelengths are not within the wavelength range that would be damaging to the skin, when used under treatment guidelines.
The blue light traces in the BIOMAX Panels are 480nm. It is not until significantly lower wavelengths in the 410nm to 420nm range that prolonged exposure to these wavelengths becomes harmful.
A mere 20nm or 30nm in difference can be enough to change the light tone completely. With this in mind, blue 480nm wavelengths have a completely different impact on the skin than wavelengths in the low 400s and below.
Other studies state that low-energy blue light sources combined with low exposure times can safely treat skin problems. Meanwhile, users should avoid prolonged exposure.
We recommend checking with your doctor to see how light therapy can fit into your treatment regimen. It may be more important for those with photosensitivity disorders to do so.
The BIOMAX light therapy panels have traces of 480 nm blue lights in addition to their R+ and NIR+ lights.
The intensity of the blue lights accounts for about two percent of the overall power output, and the rest is all R+ and NIR+ light.
Given this, the panels come pre-adjusted to account for the fact that the slightly more intense blue wavelength should be emitted at a lower intensity than the others.
PlatinumLED therapy lights continue to create innovative photobiomodulation units that deliver now six therapeutic wavelengths of light to include blue light, low level red light, and near infrared light. Blue light monotherapy has been discovered to be both harmful and beneficial when used independently; however when combining the best therapeutic wavelengths of blue and red light an amazing synergistic effect is created through integration of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects respectively.
Functional Medicine Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Dr. Alayna Newton, PT, DPT, FAFS
How Does Blue Light Therapy Work?
Blue waves are very short, which means that they only affect the outermost layer of the skin.
This is partly why they’re so powerful at treating surface-level skin conditions like acne.
As the light absorbs into light-sensitive molecules called chromophores, it stimulates various effects, including boosting mitochondrial function.
The mitochondria are your cells’ ‘batteries.’ For various reasons, the mitochondria may not produce enough cellular energy. This depletes the cell and causes poor cellular function, and it may lead to disease.
The main benefits of blue light are its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative properties.
The light slows the reproductive rate of keratinocytes (the most common type of skin cell). This is useful for treating hyperproliferative skin disorders like psoriasis, where skin cells form faster than the body can shed them.
Acne Treatment with Blue Light Therapy
The most common use for blue light therapy is for treating acne.
In one 2009 study, researchers treated 21 female and three male subjects with mild to moderate acne every day for three weeks. The results were a significant reduction in blackheads and whiteheads, as well as better skin tone.
An Alternative to Antibiotics
This non-invasive treatment could be ideal for patients who don’t tolerate topical anti-acne treatments, steroids, or antibiotics well.
Some strains of acne, including Propionibacterium acnes, can develop antibiotic resistance. However, when exposed to light therapy, P. acnes have not shown an ability to develop resistance.
Blue Light Therapy for Prevention
Blue light therapy can potentially treat acne before any bacterial growth sparks an immune response that appears, including blackheads, whiteheads, swelling, and redness.
Thus, it’s a sensible treatment for individuals who get acne from time to time and are interested in regular treatment to prevent outbreaks.
Other Benefits of Blue Light Therapy
In addition to light therapy for mild to moderate acne, you can use blue light for other skin conditions with effects similar to red light therapy.
A preliminary study showed that 90% of patients with androgenetic alopecia (male/female pattern baldness) experienced an increase in hair density and hair shaft width after twice-weekly blue light treatments for 10 weeks.
Reduction of Hypertrophic Scars and Keloid Scars
The antiproliferative effects of blue LED light therapy may help reduce hypertrophic scars and keloids.
Both hypertrophic and keloid scars are exaggerated responses to wound repair. They are raised, lumpy, inflexible, and sometimes painful.
Hypertrophic scars are limited to the injury site and may slowly disappear over time. Keloids are larger than the injury site and do not disappear.
Chronic Inflammatory Skin Disorders
The anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects of blue light therapy make it useful as a treatment for acne and chronic inflammatory skin disorders. These include eczema and psoriasis.
In one study, 17 psoriasis patients were treated with blue light daily for 4 weeks. As a result, they enjoyed a significant improvement in psoriasis plaques. One group received a lower-intensity blue light treatment and the other, a high-intensity blue light treatment. Two patients in the high-intensity group experienced complete resolution of their psoriatic lesions.
This study also found that blue light also effectively treats atopic dermatitis and eczema. As a result of their treatment, patients experienced less itching and an improvement in eczema lesions.
In a study focused on its effects on drug-resistant bacteria in wound infections, researchers found that the treatment inactivated Acinetobacter baumannii after just one exposure, reducing the wound's bacterial burden.
This suggests that blue light therapy can be used to prevent infections in wounds where antibiotics have been ineffective or are poorly tolerated.
The antimicrobial effect of blue light is not dependent on using photosynthesizing drugs. The light alone is sufficient to kill photosensitive bacteria by causing severe oxidative stress.
To date, bacteria have not developed resistance to blue light. A. baumannii did not become light-resistant over repeated treatments. In fact, the opposite happened. With each subsequent light therapy cycle, the bacteria became even more susceptible to blue light inactivation!
Potential Treatment for Actinic Keratosis and Skin Cancer
Two studies suggest that blue light exposure alone may inhibit the growth of melanoma skin cancer cells. It may also kill cancer cells when used in conjunction with vitamin B2.
Many more studies are needed in this area as these were in vitro studies and no human trials have been performed to date.
Blue Light Therapy Treatment Guidelines
The best way to benefit from blue light therapy is frequently and consistently. Treatment can be anywhere from 3 minutes a day to 20 minutes every other day. Some effects may be immediate, and some will manifest over time.
Users get more light intensity by sitting closer to the device, and a larger coverage area by moving further away.
There are no side effects to using a combination of blue, red, and near-infrared light. They can be used short term to get fast relief from chronic skin conditions and to quicken wound healing.
Meanwhile, long-term use helps prevent the recurrence of chronic skin disorders and helps maintain skin health.
BIOMAX Panels for Optimal Blue Light Therapy Treatment
The BIOMAX Panels provide the optimal set of red and blue light wavelengths for therapeutic light therapy treatment.
The combined benefits include:
- Reduced inflammation on the skin surface.
- Antimicrobial effects.
- Increased collagen production in all layers of the skin and in muscle and connective tissue.
- Improved blood flow.
- Increased cellular metabolism.
Meanwhile, near-infrared light reaches deeper into the body, treating skin tissue and the mitochondria.
It benefits muscles, joints, and nerves. It can even absorb into the gut to improve gut health.
Panels come in a variety of sizes, including the smaller and affordable BIOMAX 300. Or, increase light energy output with mid-sized LED panels BIOMAX 450 and BIOMAX 600. Finally, the BIOMAX 900 is the ultimate in power and treatment coverage.
While blue light therapy has a host of benefits, its combination with a variety of R+ and NIR+ wavelengths is what makes it truly powerful.