Blue Light Therapy
- About Blue Light Therapy
- Causes of Acne
- What can I expect
- Safety / Side effects
- Before treatment instructions
- After treatment instructions
About Blue Light Therapy
In Blue Light Therapy, the blue part of the visible light spectrum is used to eliminate the bacteria that cause acne.
When exposed to Blue Light Therapy, acne-causing bacteria (P.acnes) create free radicals which can turn around and kill the bacteria itself.
Once the bacteria start to die off and lessen in numbers the body's immune system response diminishes, the inflammation lessens and the acne begins to clear up.
Causes of Acne
Acne is a very common skin problem and can be recognized by the distinctive blackheads, whiteheads, and painful red bumps or pustules that can feel like and are similar in appearance to boils. In severe cases, acne can leave permanent scars on the skin. There are many factors that contribute to the development of acne, including genetics and hormones. Individuals may inherit an increased chance of suffering from acne if their parents also had acne.
However, the most common reason for acne is due to the effect of hormones on the skin. The surge of hormones that accompanies the onset of puberty, pregnancy and even menopause causes the sebaceous glands – the area where acne occurs - to enlarge. Most sebaceous glands are located on the face, chest and back and produce sebum which sticks to the dead skin cells that are shed from the lining of the hair follicle wall. Over the course of several days or even weeks, this mixture of sebum and skin cells plugs the hair follicle under the skin surface. This plug cannot be removed or dissolved by washing and is what gives rise to blackheads and whiteheads and eventually pimples.
In addition, the mixture of sebum and dead skin cells are an excellent medium for promoting the growth of the bacteria that naturally occur in the pores. As the number of bacteria increase, our immune system responds by sending special defense cells (pus) into the blocked follicle in an attempt to clean it out. The resultant pressure may damage the follicle wall and when it gives way, the sebum and dead skin cells form a plug together with the bacteria and pus to invade the outer tissue surrounding the pore. This is what causes the painful, boil-like lumps, pimples, pustules and skin bumps that we know as acne which in some cases can cause scarring.
- Minimal discomfort
- 100% non-invasive
- 100% natural
- No adverse side effects
- No downtime
- Safe for all ages
What Can I expect?
Blue Light Therapy is a remarkably simple and pain-free procedure. You will be asked to sit in front of a blue light source for a period of around 10 minutes or less, probably once a week. The actual duration and frequency of treatment depends on your skin condition and what you hope to achieve from the treatment and will be discussed with you at your first consultation. Blue Light is also an ideal therapy to use in conjunction with other acne treatments. In particular, it is often used with another topical medication called aminolevulinic acid (Levulan or ALA). The aminolevulinic acid increases the skin's sensitivity to blue light and is applied to the skin about an hour before the Blue Light Therapy so that there is time for it to be absorbed thoroughly. The combined treatment enhances the efficacy of the Blue Light in many patients. Treatments will be repeated as necessary and a customized treatment schedule will be discussed with you at your first consultation.
Safety and Side Effects
The FDA gave approval to Blue Light Therapy as a treatment for mild acne in 2003. Side effects and discomfort are extremely rare and Blue Light Therapy is generally recognized as a safe, effective and gentle form of acne treatment. There may be some slight dryness and redness at the treated area but this is temporary and soon disappears.
Before Treatment Instructions
Blue Light Therapy can also be used in conjunction with additional pre-treatments. Most commonly, topical applications of ALA or Levulan® (aminolevulinic acid) are used with the blue light source to help treat acne vulgaris. To better prepare your skin, the ALA solution, which helps increase photosensitivity, is applied and remains on the skin for roughly 30-60 minutes. The Blue Light treatment is then delivered and lasts for approximately 6-10 minutes. The severity of your condition will determine the necessary amount, frequency, and duration of treatment.
After Treatment Instructions
You'll notice improvement soon after your first treatment. You will see that your acne is starting to diminish and will go on clearing up as you progress through your treatments. Many patients who experience just 10 sessions of Blue Light Therapy remain acne-free for up to two years after completing their course of treatment. Others with more severe conditions may have to occasionally repeat a course if their acne breaks out again. The combined aminolevulinic acid and blue light treatment has had particular long-term success in clearing up acne for good.