Alternative Acne Treatments
If you have unsuccessfully tried a multitude of acne medications and products to treat breakouts, then an acne treatment light therapy may be the answer you are looking for. Light-based acne treatments are very well tolerated by many different skin types and do not require any pill popping or irritating topical medications. Patients who incorporate a light therapy into their acne-fighting regimen find their skin becomes clearer much sooner than if they did not add these treatments.
LED Light Therapy for Acne
LED stands for light emitting diode. LED therapy can give impressive results when used to treat acne. The most common LED therapy for acne is blue light and red light. When focused on the affected areas, blue light directly kills the P. acnes bacteria that lead to acne; red light helps to decrease inflammation and reduce the residual red marks left behind after old acne lesions. Usually a series of treatment are needed to get the desired results. Blue light is antibacterial, it actually kills the P. acnes bacteria that can lead to acne; Red light helps to decrease inflammation and to reduce the residual red marks left behind after old acne lesions.
Blue Light Therapy to Fight Acne
One of the most commonly used light therapy treatments to treat acne is the blue light. This particular wavelength is proven to kill the P. acnes bacteria that resides in the pores and can lead to pimples and cystic acne breakouts. Clinical studies show that blue light therapy kills about 55% of pimples. It’s important to note that blue light therapy is not a cure to acne, but it does greatly reduce breakouts and helps clear the skin. The blue LED light penetrates the epidermis. Patients of all skin tones can feel safe receiving blue light therapy treatments.
Photodynamic Therapy for Acne
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive treatment that utilizes a blue light to activate a medication called 5-aminolevulinic acid. PDT works to reduce acne by two separate mechanisms. First, it shrinks the sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) of the skin. This reduces acne by decreasing the amount of oil in each pore (remember, P. acnes bacteria live to eat oil.) Photodynamic therapy also directly targets the P. acnes bacteria that lives on the skin surface and causes acne breakouts. After PDT treatments, the overall texture of the skin is usually improved. In addition, PDT helps post-inflammatory erythema and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the red and brown marks that linger after acne lesions).
At-Home Blue Light Devices
While in-office blue light treatments are much stronger than at-home blue light devices, the take home devices still have a place in a good skincare regimen. Some patients whose schedules don’t allow them to come into the office for regular in-office treatments will benefit from use of the at-home blue light devices. The most effective treatment regimen is often a combination of in-office blue light treatments and at-home blue light treatments. There are many at-home blue LED light devices. There is not one single “best” device across the board. Each device has certain features that many appeal to some people (ie. length of treatment, design of hand piece). Popular brands of blue LED acne treatment light therapy devices include Tria®, Tanda®, and Baby Quasar® devices.
Fighting acne can be a frustrating process. When you’ve exhausted your arsenal of over the counter products and antibiotics, it might be time to try a light therapy treatment. The antibacterial blue light wavelength is the best at killing the P. acnes bacteria, while red light helps reduce inflammation. A combination of the right skincare products and acne treatment light therapy procedures will help you achieve clear skin.