Have you been looking for natural and non-invasive alternatives to treatments for various skin conditions?
In this article, we’ll explore what blue light therapy is, the effects of blue light on the body, its benefits, and what you can expect after a blue light therapy treatment.
Blue light therapy can be done at home to treat a wide variety of skin concerns. Sessions can last anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes daily, depending on the condition you’re treating.
Read on to learn more about how blue light therapy can help you.
What does Blue Light Therapy do to the Body?
Blue light therapy uses specific wavelengths of light, ranging from 400 to 500 nanometers on the electromagnetic scale. This treats a variety of skin conditions with a light therapy device that emits what we perceive as the color blue.
Certain cells in the body are highly sensitive to blue light. These include some strains of bacteria, including acne-causing bacteria and cancer cells.
Blue light wavelengths are very short, so they don't absorb very far into the skin and for this reason are very useful for treating acne, inflammation, and a variety of skin conditions.
It also has a number of synergistic benefits when used with red light therapy.
Blue Light Therapy Treatments for Acne
Blue light can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne. Light therapy for acne is nothing new. Dermatologists have been prescribing sun exposure to reduce symptoms for ages.
However, sun exposure comes with UV light, which is known to be harmful to the skin after a prolonged time.
In cases of mild to moderate acne, blue light treatment reduces the number of acne lesions and improves skin condition. It works by:
- Reducing the production of oil from the sebaceous oil glands
- Killing acne-causing bacteria
- Reducing inflammation
Blue light treatment can be applied to all areas of the body, reducing the reddish appearance of acne scars. If you have widespread acne, be sure to use a high-quality blue light panel rather than a wand or mask.
The use of blue light therapy for acne will be more effective when paired with other dietary and lifestyle choices. Treatment can be combined with excellent skincare and a diet rich in antioxidants and low in sugar to create an inhospitable environment for acne-causing bacteria.
The best results for the treatment of acne seem to come from a combination of blue light and red light therapy which increases the anti-inflammatory effects of the light treatments.
It typically takes four to six treatments to reduce symptoms. Maintenance sessions are recommended to help prevent future acne flares as well.
You may also need to continue using prescription medications to clear up acne lesions. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist to rule out any photosynthesizing reactions with drugs you are taking if you want to use blue light therapy to treat acne or other skin conditions.
Reasons to Seek Blue Light Therapy Treatment
Now that you know what blue light does to the body, here’s why it can be a valuable addition to your daily self-care routine.
Reduction of Precancerous Skin Lesions and Prevention of Skin Cancer
In a truly exciting development, blue light is used to remove both precancerous and cancerous skin lesions called actinic keratoses or solar keratoses. Any actinic keratosis lesion is a precursor to skin cancer. Approximately 10% of actinic keratoses will evolve into squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated. Photodynamic therapy is non-invasive and may be the most effective treatment available.
This form of blue light treatment, called photodynamic therapy, is different from regular blue light treatments because it involves applying photosynthesizing (or light-sensitive) drugs and high-intensity blue light that activates them. The photosynthesizing agent reacts with oxygen, to create reactive oxygen species (or free radicals) which kill precancerous or cancerous cells in the treated area.
Photodynamic therapy for actinic keratosis is non-invasive and relatively painless, unlike treatment which freezes or surgically removes precancerous lesions from the skin.
Photodynamic therapy side effects like blistering, a burning sensation, and peeling are generally mild and resolve quickly.
One to four photodynamic therapy treatments about six weeks apart may be needed to completely remove actinic keratoses, and annual maintenance treatments will help keep precancerous lesions in check.
Early research shows that blue light can also have anti-metastatic effects on cancer elsewhere in the body. However, this requires internal application of blue light, which is not yet practical, but its effectiveness has been demonstrated in in-vivo studies.
Note that blue light alone will not necessarily kill cancer cells unless the cells themselves are highly photosensitive to blue light. It’s the use of a light-sensitive drug along with blue light that creates a chemical reaction that destroys precancerous and cancer cells.
Blue Light Treatment for Chronic Skin Conditions
Blue light therapy has been successfully used to improve skin texture and treat chronic skin conditions. Some research indicates that blue light can be used to treat sun damage like sun spots while other research is inconclusive. For now, we do know that blue light therapy is an effective treatment for chronic inflammatory skin disorders.
Blue light therapy is often used along with red light therapy to treat the inflammation that may be the cause of chronic skin disorders. One small case study showed that a combination of blue and red light reduced rosacea, including redness and pustules.
Two studies found blue LED light therapy can be an effective treatment of skin disorders, including mild to moderate psoriasis, where skin cells reproduce out of control, causing a buildup of dead skin on the skin’s surface. Blue light reduces keratinocytes, which are the skin cells that are overabundant in psoriasis.
Eczema, like psoriasis, and rosacea, is also an inflammatory and hyper-proliferative skin disorder that responds well to blue light treatment. Though research is still sparse in this area, several studies have found that blue light therapy reduces lesions caused by eczema.
The Synergistic Benefits of Blue Light Therapy and Red Light Therapy
While blue light therapy has many benefits of its own, it’s most powerful when used together with red light therapy.
The two work well together naturally due to the fact that blue light therapy treats the surface of the skin and just below it, whereas red light wavelengths penetrate significantly deeper.
The two combined help clear up bacteria on the skin, treat acne effectively, reduce inflammation with skin treatment benefits, help heal wounds faster, and promote blood flow to support skin health. Their collagen synthesis also helps reduce acne scarring.
Take advantage of the new BIOMAX panels that combine blue light with five other powerful red light wavelengths for maximum results and optimal skin treatment.
Results from Blue Light Therapy Treatment
Blue light therapy is emerging as a potential treatment for a variety of inflammatory skin conditions including psoriasis, acne, and rosacea. Photodynamic therapy has been proven highly successful in the treatment of skin cancer.
As more studies emerge, we expect to see more benefits of blue light therapy in the fields of dermatology and oncology. This form of light therapy is considered low-risk and may help reduce the need for medication in the treatment of mild to moderate acne, other skin disorders.
Aside from skin cancer, other skin conditions can be treated at home with a doctor's supervision.
Check out the PlatinumLED Therapy Lights Learning Center for more insights on the benefits of blue light therapy.
Also, be sure to take a look at our home-use BIOMAX panels, for treatment that is easy, affordable, and effective.