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Pimples are a problem.
Topical medication works on them, but it can wreck your skin.
Lucky for you, there is another option.
The best at-home blue light therapy for acne has no side effects.
Plus, it’s cheaper than a visit to the dermatologist.
- What is blue light therapy?
- How long does blue light therapy take to work?
- Is blue light therapy safe?
- Similar devices to clear up acne
What is blue light therapy?
Scientists experimenting with blue light discovered that it kills bacteria (1).
Specifically, it gets rid of acne bacteria, also known as Propionibacterium acnes.
The frequency of light between 405-470nm has a natural antimicrobial effect.
What’s more, it’s not destructive to human cells like ultraviolet light is.
A review of various clinical trials found that up to 85% of patients treated with blue light ended up with 50% fewer pimples after only a few sessions (2).
In other words, blue light therapy works for most people.
But it requires consistent, regular treatment. One session isn’t enough (3).
That’s why at-home devices are so convenient.
You can make blue light therapy a part of your routine.
The cost is likely less expensive than constantly buying scrubs, creams, and so on.
How long does blue light therapy take to work?
Blue light devices for home use have LEDs, not lasers.
They aren’t as powerful as machines in the dermatologist’s office.
But that’s not a bad thing as you’re unlikely to end up with any redness, swelling, or discomfort.
In general, you’ll need to treat yourself at least once or twice a day for up to a month before you see a big reduction in acne.
Each treatment session is only a few minutes long.
And users who found it effective had fewer papules within a week (4).
Is blue light therapy safe?
Happily, yes, blue light therapy is safe.
It’s not drying and won’t make your skin peel.
Moreover, anyone of any age with any skin tone or type can benefit from it.
You can use it on your face, neck, back, or chest.
Most devices that you can buy online are FDA-cleared.
They shouldn’t cause burns or irritation. Just follow the directions and don’t exceed the recommended time limit.
Now, there are two crucial things you need to know.
First, blue light therapy only works on inflammatory acne, not cystic acne.
And second, Neutrogena pulled its LED acne mask off the market (5).
That was because there was a risk to a small number of people with eye conditions.
If you take medication that makes you more sensitive to light, be careful about which device you choose.
Wear eye protection if you use a mask or a light panel.
Or better yet, skip the hands-free devices in favor of wands that do spot treatments.
Let’s begin our reviews with handheld devices for light therapy.
LightStim for Acne
LightStim is an American manufacturer that has been around since 2002. Their device for acne is FDA-cleared and extremely easy to use.
It has thirty-six LEDs mounted in a two-inch circle.
Once you press the button, the built-in timer counts down for three minutes. That’s how long it takes to treat a single patch of skin. Then move it to the next area if needed.
It works best if you apply it to clean skin.
mē clear Anti-Blemish Device
The me clear is made by Iluminage Beauty, which is a collaboration between Unilever and Syneron Medical. I want you to know that little detail because there are so many foreign-made knockoffs on the market.
This device was clinically tested on volunteers. After only one treatment, 19% of their blemishes were smaller.
Then, after two treatments, 77% of the pimples had improved.
Finally, after three treatments within a twenty-four-hour period, 87% of the blemishes were either gone or noticeably improved.
So why does this device work so well?
For one, it doesn’t just emit blue light. It also vibrates ultrasonically and warms up slightly to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. It opens pores to help the light reach deeper into the skin and kill the bacteria.
The built-in timer beeps after two minutes. Again, you can stop there or move on to the next part of your face.
The me clear is rechargeable and portable. It provides blue light at 414nm wavelength.
Have you ever used a Silk’n depilator? This device is made by the same company.
It’s FDA-cleared and painless.
Not only does it put out blue light, but it also warms the skin.
Each session takes between three to four minutes.
An interesting side effect is that the heat dries up the oil-producing glands so that your skin is less shiny.
Tanda Zap Facial Spot Treatment
The Tanda Zap vibrates and warms up slightly while it emits a bright new light. It works similarly to the device above.
Use it on whiteheads and papules for two minutes at a time up to three times per day.
You know when time is up because it will stop vibrating.
The main complaint is that it consumes batteries quickly. It runs on three AAAs. Users recommend rechargeables.
The different kinds of acne
I’m going to pause right here to tell you about the different kinds of acne (6).
Feel free to skip this part if you already know the difference.
Otherwise, take a minute to understand them so that you choose the right device for your needs.
Blue light therapy works best on whiteheads and inflammatory acne. These are the comedones that form when a pore clogs and becomes inflamed. Sometimes this is called acne vulgaris or hormonal acne.
Meanwhile, it’s not as effective on blackheads. Blackheads are clogged pores that are congested with dead skin and oxidized oil.
Sadly, blue light therapy won’t help in the case of cystic acne. Cystic acne is deeper inside the skin, and the pimples are larger. It’s very painful and likely to leave scars.
Pulsaderm ACE – Acne Clearing Eraser
Pulsaderm recommends their device for ages fourteen and up. It’s FDA-cleared.
It runs on three AAA alkaline batteries.
You’ll notice that it has both blue and red light. That’s a good thing as red light promotes healing.
Therefore, that only are you killing acne bacteria, but you’re also helping the skin to recover faster.
Each treatment requires two minutes. The device will shut down automatically when it’s done. You can use it up to three times per day.
Apply it to clean, dry skin. Then remember to moisturize once you’re done.
reVive Light Therapy Essentials Acne Treatment System
The reVive device resembles a model made by Conair. It’s FDA-cleared and considered a Class II medical device.
I wanted to include the Conair True Glow, but it wasn’t available at the time of writing.
If you have a choice between the two, I’d go for the Conair because it comes with a warranty.
Project E Beauty Light Photon LED Therapy
Project E Beauty emits blue light at 415nm wavelength. It operates in either continuous or pulse mode.
The continuous mode lasts for up to ten minutes.
But you don’t need to press a single button to turn on either function. The device senses when it’s pressed against the skin and lights up by itself. That’s a handy safety feature as it prevents you from zapping your eyes on accident.
There are forty LEDs embedded in the disk. It’s 100% free of UV light.
This device is also FDA-cleared. The manufacturer says that 98% of the participants in a clinical study had a “significant reduction” of acne within days.
They anticipate that you’ll get up to three years of use out of it before the light fails. That’s about typical for an LED device that works daily.
It’s all well and good to do spot treatments with a handheld device. But if you have acne on more than one or two areas, it gets old fast.
Try a hands-free device like a mask or light panel instead.
Trophy Skin BlueMD
Trophy Skin started with a medical spa in Texas. Now they distribute their skincare products worldwide.
The BlueMD light panel is FDA-cleared and comes with a sixty-day money-back guarantee.
It’s an accessory for their RejuvateliteMD system, which you’ll need in order to use it.
The panel has six rows of blue LEDs, four rows of red, and two rows of infrared lights. While the blue kills acne, red, and infrared heal inflamed skin.
They also reduce oiliness and blackheads. So, you won’t just have fewer zits; you’ll have a clearer complexion and smaller pores.
dpl IIa-Professional Wrinkle Reduction and Acne Treatment Light Therapy Panel
The dpl panel doesn’t just get rid of pimples. It also provides anti-aging benefits for your face, neck, chest, back, or anywhere you need it.
That’s because it has two hundred and sixty-two LED lights – a mix of blue, red, and amber. You can use each light separately if you wish.
I hope to write an article about red light therapy soon. It’s very healing as it increases circulation and the amount of collagen to erase fine lines and firm the skin.
Pulsaderm – Acne-Clearing Mask
Earlier, I showed you the Acne Clearing Eraser from Pulsaderm. They also make an acne-clearing light mask.
It features both blue and red LEDs.
Wear it for ten minutes a day to clear up breakouts. Then continue to use it daily to prevent new pimples.
It’s similar to, although heavier than the mask that Neutrogena used to sell. But it has a much-needed improvement. It runs on AA batteries so that you never need to buy an activator power pack.
Be sure to wear the included protective goggles, though.
NORLANYA LED Mask
NORLANYA recommends using their mask for twenty minutes each day until you’re satisfied with results.
Then drop down to two or three treatments per week to prevent acne.
The mask has red, blue, and green light settings. You’ll use each color individually.
So far, we’ve mentioned red and blue light. But green is also helpful for nourishing the skin and fading scars.
Project E Beauty 7 Color LED Mask
Project E Beauty goes the extra mile with a seven-color mask. Don’t worry; there’s no UV light included.
There are one hundred fifty LEDs in blue, red, green, cyan, yellow, purple, and white.
Why so much variety?
Well, it appears that they’ve created an all-purpose beauty device. Yet it still only takes up to fifteen minutes per treatment.
You can control the settings with the remote. Besides managing the color of the light, you can choose the power setting.
Similar devices to clear up acne
Science has discovered that electrodes with argon gas also zap zits (7).
The argon releases oxygen that kills bacteria and soothes inflammation on contact.
Better yet, this appears to work on cystic acne if you have the right electrode.
The same device can also fix puffiness under the eye.
Here’s one now.
NuDerma Professional Skin Therapy Wand
NuDerma’s high-frequency skin therapy device comes with a selection of six wands. Three of the applicators have neon, and three contain argon and tungsten.
The wands deliver an intense dose of oxygen to your skin. It improves cellular turnover and boosts elasticity.
But most important for this article is that this is a natural acne treatment.
It speeds up healing time by up to 90%.
The selection of applicators is appropriate for your body and your hair. That’s good news if you have pimples on your scalp.
Get a blue light therapy device, and you will literally have the power in your hands to beat acne.
No chemicals or medications are needed.
It’s an inexpensive, gentle, and effective way to get rid of pimples.
All you need is the commitment to treating your skin for a few minutes each day.
If you discovered a light therapy device for acne that’s working great for you, tell us about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14756640 by M Elman and J Lebzelter, published February 2004, accessed January 6, 2020
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3438385/ by Tianhong Dai, et al., published July 28, 2012, accessed January 6, 2020
3. https://www.aad.org/lasers-lights accessed January 6, 2020
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20729943 by Gold MH, et al., published March 2009, accessed January 6, 2020
5. https://www.neutrogena.com/light-therapy-statement.html accessed January 6, 2020
6. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/ss/slideshow-acne-dictionary accessed January 6, 2020
7. https://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2008/hm_3.html accessed January 6, 2020
8. https://www.thezoereport.com/p/are-high-frequency-acne-treatments-legit-heres-what-derms-think-18555837 accessed January 6, 2020