Blue light therapy for acne can reduce up to 60 percent of your acne. If you combine blue light therapy with traditional treatments, such as prescription creams and antibiotics, you can keep your acne completely under control. The best thing about it is that it’s a natural treatment that basically kills Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the bacterium that causes acne inflammation. It’s also completely painless.

These therapies can also improve skin texture and lessen the appearance of scars, so they may be good treatment choices for people with both active acne and acne scars.

How Does Blue Light Therapy Work and Is It Proven Scientifically?

To put it simply, it has been proven that blue light therapy for acne – in the 405nm-420nm spectrum – actually kills Propionibacterium Acnes(P. acnes) bacteria. P. acnes bacteria create tiny molecules called porphryins. When porphyrins are exposed to blue light they produce free radicals that kill the bacteria that cause inflammatory acne. It sounds quite complex, but it’s a wonderfully simple solution.

In 2000 an independent research study performed by the Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital in London determined: “We have found that photo therapy with mixed blue-red light, probably by combining antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions, is an effective means of treating acne vulgaris of mid to moderate severity, with no significant short-term adverse effects”.

Remember: P. acnes multiply very fast, so ongoing treatment is necessary for best results.

Blue Light Therapy for Acne – Tabletop Device or Handheld Device?

Tabletop light therapy devices usually require 10-15 minutes of treatment once a day and you have to sit very close to the device. Handheld devices require you to hold the device directly on the acne areas for at least 30 minutes – twice a day. Obviously hand held devices are cheaper than the tabletop devices and it really depends on how much time and patience you have for your self treatment.

Side Effects and One Important Warning

Possible side effects of blue light therapy include temporary redness and dryness in the treated areas, but these are only temporary.  The level of UV light in these devices is also very low and appears to be well within the range of safety.

Warning: One type of acne that does not respond well to blue light therapy, and which may actually worsen as a result of treatment is called nodulocystic acne. Don’t use this therapy if you have this kind of acne.