Blue light therapy is gaining considerable attention due to its numerous ability to help the skin heal.
Blue light therapy benefits include the reduction of acne and seasonal effective disorder (SAD).
Blue light is also used with medicine in what is called photodynamic therapy.
Clinicians use photodynamic blue light therapy to manage eczema, psoriasis, and pre-cancerous actinic keratosis
- Blue light therapy at home helps with:
- reducing acne symptoms
- reducing insomnia (when used in the morning)
- reducing the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- speeding up wound healing
- reducing acne scars
- Blue light therapy at the doctor’s office helps with reduction in symptoms from:
- actinic keratosis
Blue Light Wavelengths
It uses very short wavelengths just above the ultraviolet range.
But ultraviolet can be quite dangerous, whereas blue light therapy is very safe.
It can help with acne, psoriasis, eczema, winter blues (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and it can be used as a non-toxic anti-bacterial air and surface cleaner.
Blue light therapy is non-invasive, effective, and available without a prescription.
Firstly, blue light operates within a the 400 to 500 nm (nanometer) wavelength range.
The science of which wavelengths have specific effects is only partially complete.
We can say, for example, that 420 nanometer (nm) blue light reduces acne, while 475 nm has never been tested, and so we can’t say if that wavelength is useful.
The chances are, though, that the entire blue range is effective for most if not all symptom reduction of acne, eczema, psoriasis, and sleep/mood issues.
This is because the experiments performed with light emitting diodes (LEDs) are not one-wavelength studies.
By nature, LEDs output a range of wavelengths on either side of the main light.
A 450 nm LED outputs some 400 nm light, more 410 nm, even more 420 nm, etc.
until it reaches the maximum output at 450 nm.
On the other side, it outputs quite a bit 460 nm light, less 450 nm, even less 440 nm, and so forth.
Studies performed with LEDs are, by nature, showing that multiple blue wavelengths are effective for many therapeutic interventions.
Benefits of Blue Light Therapy
I wish more people knew about using bllue light therapy at home to relieve symptoms of distressing conditions such as acne and eczema.
How Blue Light Helps Sleep Health
Circadian rhythm is our body’s internal clock that regulates various bodily functions, such as sleep and wake cycles.
Exposure to blue light near the 480 nm wavelength has been shown to reset the ciradian rhythm.
It suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.
Consequently, timing is crucial in blue light therapy.
Exposure to blue light during the day can help maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, while exposure late in the evening might interfere with sleep.
Psoriasis and Eczema Relief
It’s been shown that blue light therapy can also provide relief for individuals suffering from psoriasis and eczema.
The therapy could help reduce itchiness, redness, and inflammation associated with these conditions.
Although not a cure, consistent treatments can help manage symptoms and improve the overall skin appearance.
Sun Damage and Wrinkles
Lastly, I discovered that blue light therapy could be an effective tool for treating sun damage and wrinkles.
By stimulating collagen production, it helps improve skin elasticity and reduces the visible signs of aging.
It’s important to note that results may vary, and multiple sessions may be required for optimal outcomes.
By exploring the benefits of blue light therapy, I have gained confidence in its ability to help manage various skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, eczema, sun damage, and wrinkles.
As with any treatment, remember to consult a qualified professional before starting a new therapy to ensure it’s the best option for your specific needs.
Mood and Sleep Improvements
Seasonal Affective Disorder Relief
I’ve discovered that blue light therapy is beneficial for individuals suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a type of depression that occurs during certain seasons, particularly the winter months.
Research has shown that exposure to blue light helps alleviate symptoms of SAD by improving mood and increasing energy levels.
A study demonstrated that low-intensity blue-enriched white light (750 lux) and standard bright light (10,000 lux) are equally effective in treating SAD.
By regulating the circadian rhythm, blue light therapy effectively lifts mood and eases SAD symptoms.
The best specifications for a SAD light is a combination of several wavelengths output at 10,000 lux power, such as the Verilux HappyLight Bright Light and Vusihoo Light Happy Sunlight Lamp (those links go to my reviews of those lamps).
Sleep Disorder Treatment
In addition to improving mood disorders, blue light therapy has also been found to be beneficial for those with sleep disorders.
The therapy helps to regulate circadian rhythms, making it easier for individuals to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
A randomized clinical trial involving Parkinson’s disease patients experiencing sleep and daytime sleepiness issues found that timed light therapy improved multiple sleep metrics.
Furthermore, blue light therapy has shown promising results in helping seniors with cognitive impairments and sleep disorders.
One study found that blue light treatment led to significant cognitive improvements as well as improvements in sleep quality.
By exposing individuals to blue light, this therapy effectively synchronizes the body’s internal clock and helps regulate sleep patterns.
Thus, it can be a valuable treatment option for those struggling with sleep disorders or looking to improve their overall sleep quality.
Skin Cancer Treatment
As a knowledgeable and neutral source, I would like to discuss how blue light therapy has shown promising results in treating certain types of skin cancer.
Among these are actinic keratosis, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
Blue light therapy, in combination with photodynamic therapy, has been gaining recognition for its potential to treat these skin conditions.
Actinic Keratosis Treatment
In my research, I’ve found that actinic keratosis (AK) is considered to be a precancerous skin condition.
It manifests as small, rough, scaly patches on sun-exposed areas such as the face, scalp, and arms.
Blue light therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for AK.
When used alongside a photosensitizing agent, this therapy targets only the affected skin cells, thus minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
During the treatment, the application of the photosensitizing agent makes the affected cells more susceptible to blue light exposure.
When these cells are exposed to blue light, a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in the destruction of the damaged cells.
This process is not only safe but also non-invasive and usually well-tolerated.
Squamous and Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer.
I’ve observed that they both respond well to blue light therapy, particularly when used in conjunction with photodynamic therapy.
Similar to the treatment of actinic keratosis, blue light therapy for SCC and BCC begins with the application of a photosensitizing agent to the affected skin.
The blue light triggers the production of reactive oxygen species within the cancerous cells, leading to their destruction.
One major advantage of blue light therapy for treating SCC and BCC is that it offers a non-surgical alternative for managing these skin conditions.
This therapy carries fewer risks and complications compared to more invasive procedures such as surgery.
To sum up, blue light therapy, when combined with photodynamic therapy, has shown potential in effectively treating actinic keratosis, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
This non-invasive treatment poses fewer risks and complications, providing a viable alternative to traditional surgical methods.
Precautions and Side Effects of Blue Light Therapy
While blue light therapy offers numerous benefits, it is important to be aware of potential side effects, risks, and necessary precautions.
In this section, I will discuss minor side effects and the precautions individuals should take to avoid any adverse effects.
Minor Side Effects
Although blue light therapy is generally safe, some minor side effects may occur.
These include skin redness, swelling, and dryness in the treated area.
Typically, these side effects are temporary and will resolve on their own over time.
In more sensitive individuals, blue light therapy may also cause headaches or eye strain.
To minimize eye strain, it is important to wear proper eye protection, such as goggles, during treatment sessions, particularly when undergoing photodynamic therapy (source).
Risks and Precautions
There are a few risks associated with blue light therapy that I should mention.
Firstly, those with photosensitive skin conditions or certain medications that increase sun sensitivity should exercise caution when considering this treatment.
Blue light therapy may exacerbate sun sensitivity and increase the risk of sunburn (source).
To minimize the risks during blue light therapy, it is vital to take appropriate precautions.
As I mentioned earlier, wearing eye protection such as goggles is crucial to reduce eye strain and protect your eyes from any potential harm.
Additionally, it’s important to follow the recommended treatment protocols and timings for each therapy type to avoid overexposure.
Remember that while blue light therapy can provide many benefits, being informed about potential side effects, and risks, and taking the necessary precautions can help ensure a safe and effective treatment experience.
Consulting a Healthcare Professional
When considering blue light therapy, it’s essential for me to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist, to ensure that the treatment is appropriate for my specific needs and condition.
A healthcare provider can provide insights into the potential benefits and risks, as well as recommend the most suitable therapy system for me.
I can trust institutions like the Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center, which houses dermatologists and other medical professionals who are well-versed in blue light therapy.
By choosing such highly-regarded organizations, I can receive accurate, high-quality advice from experts in the field.
When discussing blue light therapy with my healthcare provider, some essential topics we may cover include:
- My current skin condition: They can evaluate if blue light therapy is the right fit for my specific skin issues and if it’s the most effective option among other treatments.
- Potential side effects: Though generally considered safe, blue light therapy may have some side effects, and discussing them ensures I am well-informed before beginning the treatment.
- Correct usage and frequency: My dermatologist can recommend the appropriate therapy duration and frequency based on my individual needs and the specific device I use.
- Combination with other treatments: In some cases, blue light therapy can be used in conjunction with other treatments or medications for improved results.
It’s crucial for me to understand how these treatments interact and any potential risks involved.
By involving a healthcare professional in my decision-making process and following their guidance, I can confidently embark on blue light therapy treatment with the knowledge that it’s tailored to my particular needs and carried out safely.
How Blue Light Reduces Acne Symptoms
First and foremost, blue light therapy is known for its effectiveness in treating acne vulgaris.
With the bacteria destroyed, the inflammation, redness, and blemishes recede. In the table below, I’ve listed seven recent studies showing that blue light reduces acne up to 80%.
|Effects of Blue Light in Reducing Acne|
|Study||Light Source||Treatment Protocol||Number of Subjects||Outcome|
|Kawada et al., 2002||407–420 nm halide lamp||Treatments twice a week for 5 weeks||30||77% of patients showed improvement|
|Noborio et al., 2007||405–420 nm intense light||On average 12.4 treatments once a week||10||80% of patients showed improvement|
|Ammad et al., 2008||415–425 nm intense light||Two treatments a week for 4 weeks||21||Significant improvement in the Leeds Acne Grade and both inflammatory and noninflammatory lesion counts|
|Omi et al., 2004||420 nm intense light||Eight serial biweekly treatment sessions||28||64.7% improvement in acne lesions|
|Wheeland and Dhawan, 2011||410 nm LED||Twice daily for eight weeks||28||More than 90% of subjects reported improvements in their skin’s overall appearance, clarity, radiance, tone, texture, and smoothness by week 8|
|Gold et al., 2009||414 nm LED||Blue light applied once daily for six minutes for eight weeks||21||Significant reduction in the total number of comedones on the face by day 7 and day 28|
|Morton et al., 2005||409–419 nm LED||Eight 10- or 20-min light treatments at 40 W/cm2 over 4 weeks||30||Overall effect on inflammatory counts observed at week 5, and a statistically significant decrease in inflamed counts was detected at the week 8 assessments, which continued to week 12|
Exposure causes the bacteria to produce reactive oxygen species, which ultimately leads to their destruction.
This also leads to the reduction of future acne breakouts.
Blue light therapy leads to visible improvements in skin clarity, tone, and texture.
As a result, blue light therapy can be a valuable addition to an acne treatment regimen, particularly in cases of antibiotic resistance or sensitivity.
Here are 7 studies in which researchers used blue light to diminish and even eliminate acne. The references after each summary are listed in the end notes of this article: Blue light for infectious diseases
- Utilizing a 407–420 nm halide lamp as a source of blue light, this study subjected 30 participants to treatments twice a week for five weeks. The findings were quite promising, with 77% of patients demonstrating significant improvement in their acne conditions. (Kawada 2002)
- This research employed a 405–420 nm intense light and treated 10 subjects on average 12.4 times once per week. The outcomes were even more encouraging than the previous study, with 80% of patients showing noticeable improvements in their acne. (Noborio 2007)
- By using a slightly different range of blue light (415–425 nm) emitted from an intense light source, and delivering two treatments a week for four weeks, this study observed a significant improvement in 21 patients. The Leeds Acne Grade, which is a measure of acne severity, was substantially reduced, as were both inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesion counts. (Ammad 2008)
- In this study, 28 participants received eight serial biweekly treatment sessions using 420 nm intense light. The result was a 64.7% improvement in acne lesions, suggesting a strong correlation between the application of blue light and acne reduction. (Omi 2004)
- This experiment used a 410 nm LED light source to treat 28 subjects twice daily for eight weeks. The results were extremely positive, with more than 90% of subjects reporting improvements in their skin’s overall appearance, clarity, radiance, tone, texture, and smoothness by the end of the 8th week. (Wheeland 2011)
- Utilizing a 414 nm LED light, blue light was applied once daily for six minutes for a period of eight weeks on 21 subjects. The study found a significant reduction in the total number of comedones (a type of acne lesion) on the face by day 7 and day 28. (Gold 2009)
- This research used a 409–419 nm LED light source to give eight 10- or 20-min light treatments at 40 W/cm2 over four weeks to 30 participants. There was an overall effect on inflammatory counts observed at week 5, and a statistically significant decrease in inflamed counts was detected at the week 8 assessments, which continued to be noticeable up until week 12. (Morton 2005)
How Blue Light Reduces Acne Scars
Apart from acne, blue light therapy has also been found to improve wound healing.
By stimulating the production of collagen, elastin, and cell turnover, and reducing inflammation, it can aid in reducing the healing duration and minimizing scar formation.
In some cases, blue light therapy can also be an effective treatment for a variety of skin issues, such as psoriasis and eczema, by reducing itchiness and redness. The antimicrobial property of blue light makes it a potential treatment for skin infections as well.