Light Therapy – What Is It?
Let me try and explain this without getting all scientific on you and using words that make your eyes glaze over.
First of all it will help you to know there are several different terms used that for all intents and purposes mean the same thing, although there are some important differences depending on what condition is being treated.
- Photodynamic therapy
Laser light therapy
Heliotherapy (from the Greek I would imagine)
Deep Penertrating Light Therapy (DPL)
or just plain Light Therapy
All the methods use light from one source or another and they all have the same goal and that is to destroy something, like the acne vulgaris bacteria in our case here or make you feel better.
Perhaps surprisingly this type of therapy is used to treat a whole range of medical conditions including sleep disorders, mental conditions like depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD),
as well as skin diseases like psoriasis, eczema or in our case acne.
One or two products seem to pushing the anti-aging benefits of this kind of therapy too, I haven’t looked into this as it is of no concern to this site.
What Equipment Is Used?
This depends upon the condition being treated any of the following light sources may be used: Lasers, L.E.D’s, fluorescent lumineres (tubes), dichroic lamps or full light spectrum devices.
How Does Light Therapy Work For Acne?
Simply put it comes down to light radiation, Ultraviolet, Infra red or colors in between. It is well-known fact that the rays of the sun have a beneficial effect on certain skin conditions especially acne, the problem is exposing the skin to high volumes of strong sunlight over time can damage it and may cause skin cancer, so clearly UV light needs to be applied in a controlled fashion for it to be both safe and effective.
There are two types of phototherapy, known as targeted or untargeted.
Untargeted, as it name suggests covers the whole area of the body that may be exposed to it, such as from the sun itself, lightboxes or sunbeds such as may be found in a salon or spa.
Targeted phototherapy is applied locally only to affected areas of the skin, this is may be done with a laser but other lighting devices may be used.
The advantage of this technique is that higher concentrations of UV light may be administered to the problem areas speeding up the healing process, while at the same time avoiding bombarding healthy skin with potentially harmful Ultraviolet light rays, both uva and uvb. Devices used for phototherapy treatment are subject to FDA approval.
What It Does
The actual science here is extremely geeky, but in simple terms it has been discovered that certain wavelengths of light releases a molecule in the acne bacteria which eventually kills it, which is all you really want to know, trust me on that 🙂
What Is The Success Rate?
Most of the reported successes come from cases of mild to moderate acne, for some reason there are not many reports on the treatment being used on severe cases, so we can probably assume from that it is not that effective for cystic or nodular acne, but there will hopefully come a time when it is.
Used twice weekly, light therapy has been proven to reduce the number of acne lesions by over 60% and appears even more effective if applied every day.
It can be used by both adults and teenagers, men and women.
Apart from the face and facial area the devices can be applied anywhere on the body, including the back.
An array of devices are available for use at home.
It appears this treatment is even more efficient if used with a mix of violet light and visible red light, this increases overall lesion reduction success to over 75% after 90 days of daily use. for 80% of the those tested. Overall clearance results were as good or better than benzoyl peroxide.
Some Benefits Of Light Treatment Therapy
The good news is that people who undergo this therapy experience few if any side-effects at all, there is no pain. Better yet you don’t have any drugs (for acne, that is 😉 washing around in your system.
The bad news? well there isn’t any. 🙂
Because of the way in which the light acts within the individual bacteria it seems clinically unlikely
they will ever have any resistance to the mechanism that leads to their destruction, unlike with say antibiotics.
More Good News
Once treated, staying acne-free can be longer than with conventional creams and lotions, three or four months at a time is typical.
The Biggest Initial Drawback Of Light Therapy
This can be summed up in one word – cost. If you are going to visit a clinic, salon or whatever regularly costs are going to be quite high (and get progresively higher over time as the price goes up).
The alternative is to purchase your own equipment, and while your wallet may tremble at the prospect, you should take into account how much you are spending on conventional acne treatments, work out those costs over a year or two and you will be amazed how the costs of those little bottles of jollop add up. Once you see these figures it may help you make a decision to buy.
As Blue light therapy systems use no medication of any kind they may certainly be considered for use by folks who only use homepathic remedies to try and cure their problems. There is nothing more natural than light even if it does come from a man-made device.
So if you prefer the holistic approach this may be something you should try yourself.
Don’t get carried away though folks, light therapy is not a miracle cure and should not be viewed as such, but it may help you in keeping acne under control and with regular use prevent breakouts of pimples and zits.
You should still use a proper cleansing routine, eat a well-balanced diet and look after your skin as much as possible with regular exfoliation and hydration.
What Products Are Availble For Home Use?
There are quite a few varying in price from $50 upwards so you will probably find one to fit your budget. The following is a list of some of the best devices you might like to look at.
- Trophy Skin BlueMD Acne Blue Light Therapy Treatment $200
Tanda Clear Plus Professional Acne Clearing Solution Device $120
Beauty Essence LED Blue Red Light Spa $120
Verilux Clearwave Phototherapy System $105
Led Light Therapy 38 LED Bulb for Treatment Acne $47 (screw into lamp socket)
Sirius SS-77 Aurora Light Therapy System $83.00
Led Light Therapy LED Face & Neck Phototherapy System $180
Tria Acne Blue Light System $245.00
Tanda Clear Acne Light Therapy Starter Kit $140
Caribbean Sun Box Red/Blue Acne Treatment light Therapy-Filters 100% of the UV rays $180
Caribbean Sun Light Therapy Acne Treatment Pro new $315
Evis MD Platinum Light Therapy System, Blue $100
Healiohealth Infrared LED Light Therapy Skin Care Device
Nuve Handheld DPL Light Therapy Device
Brighttherapy SL-50 Light Therapy Cold Laser Cluster $250
Tanda Zap Acne Clearing Device $50
G Maher LED Skin Therapy Kit $95.00
UC-3500 Professional – Blue/violet Argon Gas $200
Prices are for you guidance only – Read the consumer reports on these products here.
Here are some of the latest devices…
Marvel-Mini Blue Light Therapy Acne Clearing System $80 new
Photon Therapy Facial Salon Skin Care Treatment Machine $410.00
Tanda Luxe Skin Rejuvenation Photofacial Device $120
Baby Blue Light Quasar LED Therapy System for Acne Treatment $280
Baby Quasar Baby Blue $255
Silkn Blue Acne Clearing Device $280.00
References And Sources