Understanding Acne Scars and How Red Light Therapy Can Help

Acne Scars How Red Light Therapy Helps
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If you’re one of the millions of Americans with acne scars on your face, you know how distressing it can be. Not only are you trying to reduce their depth and severity, but also prevent future outbreaks from forming. Here’s hoping that we can help!

Red light therapy, also referred to as low-level light therapy or photobiomodulation, has been clinically proven to reduce the depth and severity of acne scars on your skin. This article will explain the science behind using red light therapy for this purpose.


Facial acne scars cause mental and physical distress

Facial acne therapies include:

  • topical gels and creams
  • injectable fillers
  • laser resurfacing
  • red light therapy

Red light therapy reduces facial acne scars because it:

  • promotes collagen
  • reduces inflammation
  • alleviates emotional distress

Emotional Distress of Facial Acne Scars

Acne scars on the face can have a profound emotional impact on those who suffer from them. Acne scars are a common skin condition. Persistent acne can cause acne scars.

The scars themselves can take on many forms. They can appear as deep pits, raised marks, or discolored areas of the skin.

The treatment of acne scars can be challenging, and the emotional distress caused by these scars can be significant. The appearance of acne scars can cause individuals to feel self-conscious and experience feelings of low self-esteem.

One might feel embarrassed about his or her appearance. The embarrassment can cause social anxiety. The person with acne scars might avoid social situations and relationships.

The emotional distress caused by acne scars can affect people of all ages and can have a long-lasting effect on mental health and well-being.

Physical Discomfort of Acne Scars

In addition to the emotional impact, acne scars can cause physical discomfort.

Raised scars can be itchy or painful. Deep pits make it difficult to apply makeup or to shave.

The appearance of acne scars can also lead to skin irritation and inflammation, which can exacerbate existing acne or other skin conditions.

Acne Scar Treatment Options

Acne scars can be frustrating and difficult to treat, but there are a variety of options available to reduce their appearance. Options include:

  1. topical creams and gels
  2. injectable fillers
  3. laser resurfacing
  4. red light therapy

Topical Creams and Gels for Facial Acne Scars

One treatment option for acne scars is topical creams and gels. These treatments work by exfoliating the skin and encouraging cell turnover. Cell turnover stimulates collagen production, which can help reduce the appearance of scars.

Topical creams and gels may contain ingredients like retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and vitamin C. It is important to note that these treatments may take several weeks or even months to show results.

Injectable Fillers for Facial Acne Scars

Another option for reducing acne scars is through injectable fillers. These treatments involve injecting a substance into the skin. The treatment fills in depressed scars, and makes the skin appear smoother.

Common fillers used for acne scars include hyaluronic acid, and collagen. While this treatment is non-invasive and can be done quickly, the effects are temporary and will need to be repeated over time.

Laser Resurfacing for Facial Acne Scars

A more invasive option for treating acne scars is through laser therapy.  Do not confused laser therapy with red light therapy. Even “red light therapy” done with lasers is not “laser therapy.”

The confusion comes from the low energy delivery of light in red light therapy, and the high energy delivery of light in laser therapy. Red light therapy is non-invasive and does not resurface the skin.

Laser treatments work by removing the top layer of skin and promoting collagen production. This can help reduce the appearance of acne scars and give the skin a smoother texture. However, laser therapy may not be suitable for all skin types and may require several sessions to achieve desired results.

 Red Light Therapy Acne Scar Treatment

Red light therapy has been shown to be effective in improving the appearance of acne scars on the face.

Red light therapy is non-invasive, and has no side effects. Home therapy devices work well, and you do not need doctor visits or a prescription.

How Red Light Therapy Reduces Facial Acne Scars

The most important effect of red light therapy for facial scars is the triggering of collagen.

Red light therapy promotes collagen, and reduces inflammation. It does not cover up or fill in scars. It changes the skin to reduce their surface area.

Red light therapy promotes cell turnover. Old skin cells die off, and new skin cells rejuvenate the face.

Because red light therapy improves the facial appearance, it also alleviates the emotional and physical distress that they can cause.

Red Light Therapy Effects are Permanent

Facial scar treatment with red light therapy can significantly reduce acne scar depth, texture, and surface area. As a bonus, red light therapy reduces fine lines and wrinkles while it reduces acne scars.

The effects are long-lasting (permanent), because it promotes the body’s own healing abilities to work.

Plus that, red light therapy improves skin quality and tone. The reduction in inflammation reduces redness and swelling. The collagen production is accompanied by elastin production that produces fresh, tight skin.

Acne Scar Reduction Science

Red light therapy (called “photobiomodulation” in the science) is a noninvasive, low-energy delivery of light that encourages skin cells to repair themselves.

Red light therapy (RLT) also causes wounds to heal faster. Some of the same biological processes that help with wounds are what allow the therapy to reduce scars.

RLT uses LED or laser (most home devices are LED) lights that emit light in the red and infrared ranges. Certain wavelengths of light in these ranges penetrate into the skin at a cellular level.

One of the effects is to open blood vessels, allowing nutrition and oxygen to come to the skin.

Another it to trigger the shut down of chronic inflammation.

Another action of RLT is tot stimulate stem cells, which become new skin cells on the face.

RLT triggers collagen production. This rejuvenates the face, and naturally fills in acne scars.

What Type of Device to Use for Facial Scars?

You can use a panel or a handheld for RLT facial scar reduction.

Panels come in tabletop, half body, and full body sizes. They sit on a table or the floor (or hang from the ceiling or a door).

Handheld devices require you hold them to your face in various spots. In exchange for the extra work you do, the handheld wands are usually cheaper than even the smallest panels.

Red Light Therapy Safety

Thankfully, red light therapy can effectively treat acne scars without side effects. Unlike other types of light like UVA and UVB rays, red light does not damage skin tissue nor cause burning or blistering.

However, some people should avoid light therapy of all kinds.

  • People with epilepsy should avoid pulsation red light therapy. The pulsing flickers the light, which can be dangerous for epileptics
  • People with facial burns should not do self treatment with RLT, but a dermatologist can advise exactly what to do.
  • People with facial tattoos should not use RLT unless their dermatologist says it’s OK. Tattoos absorb red and infrared light, and therefore will heat with exposure.
  • People on photosensitive medications should check with their doctor before using RLT. These are medications that include advisories not to get sun exposure while taking the medicine. The sun’s rays include a significant amount of infrared, the same wavelengths as used in RLT.


The Therapy Wrap
Phototherapy in this spectrum promotes muscle relaxation. It also stimulates collagen production, and reduces swelling and inflammation bringing relief to athletes, sufferers of arthritis, and those with chronic pain.
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Caroline Bogart

Caroline Bogart is a red light therapy (photobiomodulation) and author. She runs the EMFChannel.com, Regenerlight.com, and BestRedLightTherapy.com websites. Caroline is the auhor of the forthcoming book "Brain Light: Alzheimer's Edition," about using photobiomodulation to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. More about Caroline Bogart.

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