We get a lot of questions each week here at Trophy Skin about the science and effects behind red and blue light therapy for treating acne, which is more effective, and if either are really proven. This post is going to examine both of the colors and help explain the differences.
First, blue light in the right wavelength spectrum (405-420nm) is the only color proven to be therapeutic in actually killing p. acnes bacteria, the most common source of acne in the developed world. There have been numerous studies done by clinical teams going back 10 years proving that blue light, of high enough intensity, starves these bacteria of oxygen and causes them to atrophy and die over time. That is a key part, "over time", as this is not a process that happens in a single treatment or overnight. Its a process that takes several weeks or more, and is gradual but noticeable after the first few sessions for most people. This is why when you visit your dermatologist for acne light therapy treatments, they will almost always have you sit in front of a high intensity blue light device. Dermatologists understand the power of blue light therapy for acne treatment, and have been offering this type of service in their offices for years.
So now the real question, what is the role of red light therapy in acne treatment. And why do dermatologists not offer red light therapy as part of their acne regimen? The simple answer is that red light is not beneficial in reducing or eliminating acne. However, it can be beneficial in treating the damage caused by acne, mainly the inflammation and some of the scarring. It helps the body speed up the natural healing process, and so some people do find it useful in treating the after-effects of acne.
Our belief is that the entire focus of the BlueMD blue light therapy acne treatment device is to treat and eliminate active acne. So we have created our device with a very high intensity, narrow band of blue light to accomplish this goal. Using repairing serums and topical creams, it is possible to generate a lot of healing and scar reduction once the acne is gone. But first, you must concentrate on eliminating the acne itself in order to go down the path towards clear skin.
UPDATE: Check out the new AcneApp for the iPhone! Very cool "toy" idea, not really something that would work because of the low intensity, but a great acne light idea nonetheless.