Light Therapy for Acne Treatment: Benefits and Side Effects

All about light therapy for Acne treatment: the benefits and possible side effects

Last updated on May 11th, 2020 at 12:29 pm

I am a natural person and I personally prefer to use natural remedies to address all of the concern, including skin issues. But at the same time, I do agree to the fact that technology has advanced a lot, and it has reached new high as far as the cosmetics and beauty industry is concerned. The latest buzz and obsession for today’s generation is the use of light therapy for acne treatment and that’s what we are going to discuss in today’s post. We are discussing what is light therapy for acne treatment, how and what types of lights are effective in treating acne, what are the major benefits and possible side effects of this procedure. So stay tuned and continue reading the post.

As you know, acne is a very common skin issue, and on an average, 3 out of 10 individuals suffer from the problem of moderate to serious acne problems. In teenage years, it is more common, but the cases of adult acne is also increasing very fast, thanks to the unhealthy lifestyle habits and increasing levels of pollution all around us.

If in your case, normal medicine or the natural remedies or ingredients fail to treat your acne, you can definitely try light therapy for acne treatment and get rid of it permanently.

However, before jumping to the conclusion, it is always better to understand all about light therapy for acne treatment. You should do proper research, consult skin experts and then take a call on whether it is for you. Today, I am sharing everything worth knowing about the light therapy for acne treatment, its benefits and possible side effects. So if you are considering light therapy for acne treatment, then continue reading this post and I am sure you will get very good understanding of the procedure.

After all, you want the best results after investing so much of money, time and energy involved in light therapy, right? Well, to make it easier for you, I am sharing all that’s worth knowing about light therapy for acne.

Continue reading.

What is light therapy for acne treatment?

Most of us have heard about the light therapy treatment for acne but the idea about what happens here is vague to many of us, isn’t it? So, first let us learn about what the light therapy treatment is.

Well, light therapy, also known as phototherapy is accepted to be one of the effective ways to treat the problem of acne. In fact, studies have been done on it and The American Academy of Dermatology has already found it to be promising as far as treating the acne is concerned.

Light therapy or phototherapy is actually a non-invasive process where the doctor exposes the affected portion of your skin to lights of various wavelengths for a prescribed amount of time. This is done by using a special light-emitting device. 

Acne is quite common and there are various reasons that trigger the occurrence of acnes. Starting from over exposure to dust and dirt, lack of proper skin care, excessive oily skin to hormonal imbalances, everything may contribute to acne occurrence.

But, in general what happens is the oil, dirt and the dead skin cells get trapped inside our skin pores. And, bacteria P.acnes gets inside these pores and lead to inflammation and acne. Some acne gets cured quickly but some are of serious types and can lead to a lot of pain. What is more disgusting is many times, the acne leaves permanent marks on our skin making us look really ugly.

Fortunately, some lights of specific wavelengths can actually kill the bacteria causing acne and inflammation, and that is exactly what phototherapy for acne is all about.

The reason behind it being so effective is because of the bacteria that thrives on your skin is very sensitive to light. Hence, when the affected skin is exposed to certain light, the bacteria dies immediately and you are able to get rid of your acne issues.

In addition to that, photo therapy also helps to control the production of excess oil (which may make your skin more acne prone) by shrinking the oil glands in your skin which in turn, makes your skin produce less pore-clogging oil.

However, light therapy does involve certain precautions. Like for example, your doctor will tell you to stay out of the sun and avoid tanning beds for about a week or more before you undergo the treatment. Also, you might be advised to stop using certain skin care products.

Many times, the doctor also gives special medicines to you in order to make your skin more sensitive to the light. These are medically termed as photosensitizers. They mainly include Methyl Aminolevulinic (MAL) and Alpha lipoic acid (ALA).

What types of lights are effective against acne?

Initially the doctors used to treat acne with Ultraviolet light which is nothing but the radiation that comes from the sun. Well, UV light definitely helped in acne but it also damaged the skin and increased the chances of other skin complications, including cancer.

So the usage of UV light to treat acne was stopped.

Instead certain wavelengths of blue and red lights are used today. Doctors use them individually or combine them in order to treat acne. Both of them are painless procedures and are very effective in treating acne.

Blue light therapy for acne

Doctors use blue light therapy when you are just about to have breakouts or if the acne is already present on your skin. Blue light has the ability to penetrate beneath the skin and treat acne that is mild to moderate. If it is used continuously, the blue light can actually completely clear your acne lesions along with all other types of inflammation pressure on your skin making it absolutely flawless.

Studies have already been made on it and found to be positive. In one of the studies, it was seen that using blue light therapy for around 5 weeks reduced the acne lesions by 64%.

In another study, involving 10 Japanese patients having face and back acne, a significant reduction in the severity of the acne was seen in 8 of them with blue light therapy treatment done two times in a week.

Although the other two patients discontinued the study in the middle, because they were not satisfied, none of them complained about having any sort of major side effects.

Red light therapy for acne

Red light goes deeper into your skin in comparison to the blue light. Here, the doctor uses visible light that penetrates into your skin. While the blue light kills the bacteria leading to the acne, the red light therapy helps in the reduction of the molecules production which otherwise is responsible for the occurrence of inflammation and acne.

If you have got lot of swelling and inflammations on your skin, then using the red light therapy will be very effective and beneficial in treating acne. It will also help you improve the overall functioning of the cells which will also result in the reduction of the skin aging signs and leaving your skin clear and flawless. In addition, it is also helpful in shrinking the skin pores and controlling the production of excess oil.

What are the benefits of light therapy in treating acne?

Light therapy is a great and effective way to treat acne. In fact, they not just treat the problem of acne, but also is a solution to many other skin problems. Hence, there are several reasons to opt for light therapy treatment to treat acne.

Listed below are a few of the key benefits of light therapy for acne.

Benefits of blue light therapy for acne

  • It is great in treating cystic acne. The P.acnes bacteria are very sensitive to blue light and hence they die when exposed to the blue light for a prescribed period of time.
  • Blue light therapy is also very helpful in treating the damage caused by the sun. That is why, in many cases, the blue light is utilized to treat the precancerous sun spots.
  • Blue light also significantly reduces the blemishes that are caused due to your acne.

Benefits of red light therapy for acne

  • It is very effective against inflammation and painful swelling
  • Gives proper boost to cell metabolism which results in better functioning of the cells
  • Red light is also known to help in the development of the collagen. This helps keep your skin plum and elastic and reduces the fine lines.
  • Improves the circulation of the blood in the face. This leads to more flow of nutrients and oxygen to your face which in turn, makes the cells perform better
  • Very beneficial in healing the acne scars. Go for some regular sessions and enjoy the results yourself.

Procedure involved in light therapy for acne

As you can see that the light therapy is extremely beneficial and it has got a lot of skin benefits besides treating acne. But, before opting for the light therapy, it is best to learn a little more about the procedure. This will help you take call on whether to go for light therapy for acne or not.

In most cases, the light therapy is done in the doctor’s chamber, strictly under his supervision. Depending on your skin condition, you may have to go for multiple sessions. The time required for every session generally depends on the severity of your acne. But in general, the average time for every session is around 15-30 minutes.

While going for the treatment, make sure that your face is totally clean and free of any makeup. Your eyes will obviously be protected with the goggles during the sessions. The number of times you need to sit or lie under the light will depend on your condition.

However, in high probability, you will notice some kind of redness or inflammation in the affected portion of your skin. But worry not, as they will go away fast. You need to be quite diligent and regular with your sessions and if you do that, you will yourself notice the significant improvements by the second or the third week of the treatment. But if you are lucky and your skin is responding fast, you may experience faster results as well.

However, while undergoing the light therapy treatment for acne, it is best to avoid toughing or pricking your acne because it will not do any good to your acne, instead it will make the situation adverse.

Also, avoid usage of any kind of skin products, without taking the permission of your doctor. And if you take care of these little things, you are going to gain maximum benefits from the light therapy for acne.

Possible side effects of the light therapy

Undoubtedly light therapy is very beneficial and safe for treating acne. But it does involve some minor side effects, which is listed hereunder.

  1. You may experience redness in your skin after the treatment.
  2. Your skin may get dry.
  3. Some of you may have some inflammations or swelling in your skin.
  4. Some also undergo some rashes in the skin.
  5. It may also lead to peeling of the skin.
  6. Crusting may also be a side effect.
  7. Although rare but some experience dark spots in the skin after the treatment.
  8. Prolonged exposure to the red light may lead to blisters or burns. However, if your doctor is experienced enough, he/she will definitely know for how long it is safe to expose your skin to the light, so not need to worry about it.
  9. In case the device used is broken or faulty, it may result to blisters on your skin. So, it is better to ensure that the device being used in your treatment is working fine.

Who can undergo light therapy treatment for acne?

Although light therapy is effective against acne, not all will get the same benefits. Also, while the side effects are minor in case of most individuals, some may suffer from adverse effects.

So, you need to be aware of the fact whether you are eligible to undergo light therapy treatment or not. The ones who do not fit here, they should avoid light therapy and try other natural remedies or medications to treat acne.

  • Avoid going for light therapy in case you are taking any antibiotics for other health complications.
  • In case you are too sensitive to light, avoid this treatment.
  • If you are pregnant and lactating, you should avoid going for the light therapy treatment for acne
  • In case you are suffering from cancer or have got epilepsy, you can’t go for light therapy treatment.
  • If you are allergenic to Methyl aminolevulinic (MAL) and Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), it is best not to go for light therapy for acne.


Acne is a very common but serious skin issue, that mostly occurs in teenage, but it may occur in grownups and adults as well. There are many natural remedies to treat teen age acne and adult acne. However, the natural remedies do take a little time to show the results in case of severe acne.

Although natural remedies for acne works for many, for some the severity is so much that the natural remedies do not work effectively. This is when you need to take doctors help to treat acne issues. If the doctor gives you medications for acne and it works for you, then that is fine. But if you have faith in technology, then you can also go for the light therapy for acne, but only after consulting your doctor.

I know that there are many who are so pissed off with acne issues that they want to get rid of it once and for all and for that they are ready to invest in light therapy treatment for acne.

However, it is important to consult a doctor and follow the advise before undergoing the light therapy for acne treatment.

Apart from taking advise of the doctors before undergoing the light therapy treatment, you should seriously consider the possible side effects (although minor) of the light therapy.

We all have different skin type and our skin and health condition may vary greatly. For some, the light therapy treatment may work wonders, but others may get the side effects. Therefore, you should always consult a dermatologist or a good doctor, consider your skin condition and then decide about going for the light therapy acne treatment procedure.

The cost of the light therapy treatment for acne may vary based on the severity and the doctor you have consulted with. However, in case you find the treatment to be costly, then you may also try the do-at home devices as that is comparative much cheaper than the in-clinic procedures.

There are many skin care brands that offer the light therapy devices to treat acne and other skin issues. You can consider these devices, but only if your doctor have investigated your case and he is recommending you to use one of these light therapy devices.

Have you ever tried light therapy for acne treatment? Please share your experiences and result by commenting below.

Stay healthy and look gorgeous.

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About Babi Ghosh 269 Articles
Babi the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.