Does Red Light Therapy Help With Acne?

With LED devices being all the rage in the past couple of years, red light therapy has gained more attention due to its benefits for the skin.

But with these devices being quite the luxury splurge that, more often than not, comes with a hefty price tag, many are left wondering whether all the rage around them is justified and whether they are truly efficient in targeting some more stubborn skin concerns, such as acne, or are they just a temporary hype due to their interesting design and promise of great results?

And the answer is a little more complicated than that. LED devices can, indeed, help reduce the appearance of acne by targeting the acne-causing bacteria inside the pores and reducing the inflammation that surrounds a pimple.

However, red light therapy alone might not yield the satisfactory results one might hope for when trying to get rid of acne, and with this being just one of a few LED lights that are available on the market, it needs to be used correctly for it to work for this stubborn skin condition.

Therefore, in this article, we’re going to take a closer look at red light therapy and explain the science behind it, its benefits when used on skin concerns like acne, as well as provide some tips on how to get the most out of your red light therapy device should you decide to invest in one.

does red light therapy help with acne

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What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses light in the red spectrum to penetrate deep into tissues and stimulate natural healing processes. It has been used to treat various conditions, from wound healing and injury recovery to pain relief and skin rejuvenation.

Red light therapy has been around since 1896, when a German physician named Niels Ryberg Finsen used red light to treat skin conditions such as lupus. Since then, it has become increasingly popular for its ability to stimulate healing in soft tissues and reduce inflammation.

However, the red light therapy devices we know today were discovered by the Hungarian physician Endre Mester in the 1960s in scientific experiments with red lasers performed on rats which led to hair growth and wound healing, according to a research article published in the Journal of Biophotonics.

Once approved by the FDA in 2002, red light therapy became increasingly popular with medical professionals and skin care enthusiasts alike due to its ability to improve the appearance of many skin concerns.

The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Depending on the device, red light emits a wavelength between 630 and 700 nm.

This particular range has proven to be highly beneficial for the skin due to its ability to target what is referred to as the adnexa or appendages of the skin and derivatives of the epidermis, including sweat and sebaceous glands and hair follicles.

These being the areas of the skin where the most skin pathology occurs, makes red light therapy effective in targetting the underlying cause of many skin concerns such as:

  • Inflammation: Red light therapy can help reduce inflammation in the skin, which can help treat inflammatory conditions such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
  • Wrinkles and Fine Lines: By stimulating collagen and elastin production, red light therapy can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Pigmentation and Age Spots: Red light therapy can help reduce discoloration or hyperpigmentation, as well as age spots due to UV damage.
  • Hair loss: Red light can also reduce hair loss and promote new hair growth.

Does Red Light Therapy Help With Acne?

Red light therapy can help reduce the severity of acne due to its ability to soothe inflammation.

Inflammation is the immune system’s reaction to an overgrowth of bacteria inside the pores, and pimples are the result of that reaction.

Now, while red light therapy can help reduce one part of what’s causing the issue, it’s not effective in targeting the bacteria itself because the light goes deeper into the skin while the bacteria live inside the pores closer to the skin’s surface.

Therefore, to treat acne with light therapy, a combination of red and blue lights might show more satisfactory results.

Blue light, which emits a wavelength of 415-450 nm, is able to offer the much-needed antibacterial effects due to the wavelength depth and the strain of acne-causing bacteria, or Cutibacterium acnes, being particularly sensitive to that particular range of light.

Therefore, for the best results in clearing acne, combining blue light to help neutralize the pathogenesis of bacteria with red light, which can help boost the healing process of the inflammatory response, is a much better option.

The Best LED Treatments for Acne

When looking for the best LED treatment device for acne, choose one with a combination of red and blue light, giving you the best results.

With that said, here are some of the best LED treatment devices on the market:

FOREO – ESPADA Blue Light Acne Treatment Device, $160

FOREO – ESPADA Blue Light Acne Treatment Device

The Foreo Espada is a handheld device that combines laser-focused blue LED light and T-Sonic pulsations to destroy acne-causing bacteria in the pores and soothe inflamed pimples on the skin surface.

Easy to hold and use, the Espada comes with an exfoliating spot treatment gel that’s applied to clean and dry skin before pressing the device over the pimples you want to treat and holding it in place for 30 seconds.

The results are visible after one use, and the device can be used daily without the exfoliating spot treatment or two to three times a week with the exfoliating spot treatment.

LightStim – Acne, $169

The LightStim Acne is a device that emits a blue LED light to destroy acne-causing bacteria and red light to help soothe and calm the skin.

Both lights help clear existing breakouts and soothe inflammation, giving you visibly improved, healthy-looking skin.

The device is comfortable to hold and easy to use, and an average treatment should be wrapped up in about 20 minutes, depending on the areas you’re treating.

The LightStim Acne LED light can be used daily for optimal results or as needed, depending on your skin’s condition.

Current Body – LED Light Therapy Mask, $380

Current Body – LED Light Therapy Mask

The Current Body LED Light Therapy Mask is an excellent option for those who want to reduce the appearance of acne, discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone from the comfort of their home.

This mask emits powerful red light that penetrates deep into the skin to help reduce inflammation and boost collagen production and elastin for a firmer, more youthful appearance.

Suitable for those with mild to moderate acne and aging concerns, the mask can be used up to 4-5 times a week, with each session taking 10 minutes to be completed.

Relaxing, soothing, and mildly warming, the Current Body LED Light Therapy Mask is a great way to naturally improve your skin and reduce your skin concerns for a healthier and brighter complexion.

Omnilux – Clear, $395

Omnilux – Clear

The Omnilux Clear is one of the better acne LED devices on the market, with a high success rate in treating mild to moderate blemishes, redness, and inflammation.

The device emits both red and blue LED lights that work on a cellular level to target the acne-causing bacteria as well as soothe the inflammation surrounding a pimple.

Comfortable to wear, the Omnilux Clear can be adjusted to your face and left to work for the next 10 minutes while providing pleasant warmth on the skin and promoting relaxation.

Four 10-minute treatments per week over the course of 6-8 weeks is usually the recommended treatment protocol, although results that include reduced redness and severity of pimples can be seen after only a few uses.

Revive Light Therapy – LED Light Wrinkle Reduction & Acne Treatment Panel, $399

Revive Light Therapy – LED Light Wrinkle Reduction & Acne Treatment Panel

If you want to give yourself a professional-grade light therapy treatment at home, you should consider getting the Revive Light Therapy Panel.

This panel uses a range of light therapy wavelengths – infrared, red, deep red, amber, and blue – for versatile deep penetrating light skin therapy.

Not only does the blue light help destroy acne-causing bacteria inside the pores while the red light soothes inflammation and promotes rejuvenation, but the addition of amber and infrared lights can also help treat the consequences of healed blemishes, such as hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema.

Amber light therapy is highly efficient in targeting and healing the blood vessels under the skin that are often damaged by an inflamed pimple, leading to brown spots and red marks that can take years to go away on their own.

Additionally, due to its flexibility, you can use the Revive Light Therapy Panel as an all-over treatment, directing the light to your face, neck, chest, and other areas of the body.

Celluma – Clear, $495

Celluma – Clear

The Celluma Clear is a blue light therapy device that’s ideal for treating acne, skin discoloration, and inflammation.

Suitable for at-home use and professional settings alike, the Clear features advanced LED technology and a steady design that offers 360-degree light coverage on the skin.

Dermalux – Flex MD LED Light Therapy Device, $2495

Dermalux – Flex MD LED Light Therapy Device

The Dermalux Flex MD LED Light Therapy Device is a salon-grade device perfect for treating acne and signs of aging.

With a total of 360 LED bulbs emitting red, blue, and near-infrared LED technology, the Dermalux Flex MD is able to promote collagen production, reduce inflammation, kill off acne-causing bacteria, even out the uneven skin texture, and strengthen the skin, making it more resilient against pathogenic bacteria and environmental pollutants.

The Dermalux Flex MD is an excellent option for those looking for professional-grade light therapy treatments in the comfort of their home or for professionals looking for a high-end device that will effectively target their clients’ skin issues.

Designed for easy use, the Dermalux Flex MD is also lightweight and ergonomic, with an adjustable body that can be easily tailored to any area of the body.

Finally, a 30-minute treatment session a day that promotes warmth and relaxation along with clearer, brighter, and healthier skin is all that’s required for the Dermalux Flex MD to deliver its beneficial effects.

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