Blue/red light acne treatment is an acne treatment for mild/moderate acne where you shine bright 'blue' (actually it's violet) and red lights on your skin to prevent new acne spots. It's thought to be safe, and improves acne by ~75% for 80% of people over 3 months. Another 10% of people see some improvement. This is comparable or better to BP, and similar to other treatments like antibiotics.
The violet light kills a bacteria called P.Acnes- this is the bacteria that is killed by most acne treatment- removal of the bacteria greatly improves your skin and prevents most acne. The light activates a porphoryn in the bacteria that isn't present in human skin, and the bacteria cooks itself.
The red light is anti-inflammatory and improves healing and increases the rate of production of collagen (giving a handy gentle facelift/antiwrinkling effect that lasts as long as you keep treating). Skin tone ends up better than normal on this treatment, a nice side-effect. It also helps heal up red marks; >10% or more faster.
Does it work?
For pictures see: (managing director of Androv); he got pretty good clearance.
also http://www.caci.co.n...rary/100060.pdf (they're a couple of people who have had only violet light treatment- blue/red light treatment gives slightly better clearance and results.)
There's been one major published study in the UK:
This involved 120 people using the light everyday, at home. Also, quite a few people have tried this form of treatment to good success. Yes, it really works.
That study used fluorescent tubes, but LEDs seem to work just as well: LED study.
Also other studies: http://www.ncbi.nlm....l=pubmed_docsum and http://www.ncbi.nlm....l=pubmed_docsum
How do I get this treatment?
You need *really* almost stupidly bright blue/red lights for this to work. To get intense enough light you need to buy special lamps. Or you could go to a dermatologist, but I do not recommend that, it's nearly always much more expensive, awkward to travel to, and works less well. Plus if you buy the lamps you can use them for years, for little or no extra cost. If your acne improves you can sell them on ebay or something.
Any of these products will probably work (note: light is light, don't expect expensive ones to work any better, they won't)
Verilux happyskin acne light
The more powerful the lights are, the less time you need to spend treating, but your acne won't be any better or worse.
n.b. small handheld LED lights that only cover a small area mean you can spend ages treating; I think most people are better off with lamps that can cover a large area.
(Sci/Art Lamps- or it's cheaper to just buy the dichroic bulbs and holders: http://www.acne.org/...p...5113&st=77))
They sell dichroic lamps these seem to work, or at least a few people here have claimed that they did.
They also ship LED lamps. But the LEDs that have been shipped are a deep blue, at 470nm. These should not work since it is incapable of killing the acne bacteria. The colour that works is a deep violet colour at 405-420nm; 470nm is too far off. They claim that they will be shipping a violet lamp later on, but until they do, avoid this type at all costs.
How quickly does it work?
You'll see some improvement in a few days; that's mainly the red light acting. However the violet light will kill the P.Acnes almost completely in the first few days or so.
It will then take a good 12 weeks for the pores to completely unblock themselves and the skin to grow and the red marks to fade. In the meantime you will continue to get acne; but at an ever slowing rate. Most people don't notice any effect for the first 6 weeks, because normal variation in acne covers the effect. Some people don't get good clearance till the 12th week. Under no circumstances give up!
How long should I use the lights for?
You should follow the instructions. Some people find that using the lights slightly less than indicated gives better results (e.g. 10 minutes instead of 15). It seems to be a bad idea to use the lights longer than the manufacturer says, it tends to irritate the skin slightly and if anything causes more acne.
You should use the lights once a day (everyday!) You can however use the lights up to twice a day. So, if you miss a day, you can top up with two treatments, several hours apart the following day. Try to average 7 treatments a week.
Once your acne clears, as with benzoyl peroxide or antibiotics you need to keep using the lamp at least a few times a week.
Is it safe?
None of these lamps produce dangerous amounts of ultraviolet. Scientific experiments indicate that neither blue nor red light causes cancer.
There is a report that some of the lamps might cause a slight tan in asian or mexican people. The fluorescent lamps produce small amounts of UV-A (about the same amount per day as standing outside in the sun for 1 minute). If that's a concern, choose one of the non fluorescent lamps.
It is very important to keep the violet light out of your eyes. It's thought that normal blue light even in sunlight gradually damages the retina, so 100% protection against the blue light is essential. Closing your eyes is probably not sufficient. The lamps generally come with goggles, but at a pinch painting some swimming goggles or wrap them in aluminium foil would be good.
It's really expensive isn't it?
No, it's cheaper than benzoyl peroxide including the washes and moisturisers you need to use for that.
Sure, if you were to go to a dermatologist to have blue/red treatment, then yes it's often really expensive.
But if you buy your lamp, it's reasonably cheap. If you add up the cost of BP, moisturisers and cleansers over a couple of years you will find it comes to more than the cost of the lamps, particularly the cheaper lamps.
Who has used it on Acne.org?
Worked (i.e. >75% clearance):
biochembabe (Sci/art dichroic), wolfkeeper (dermalux), GTO, seamus (Sci/art dichroic), delboy, Locked In Grace, stanno(beautyskin), DeeAgony, Ronin (beautyskin), Rupert (dermalux)
At least some improvement (e.g. 50%):
don't look, timmytim, kanmi
Posh, B24K, Le Chiffre (dermalux)
(Posh didn't follow the instructions correctly, and gave up early, but I've still counted it as a failure; B24K saw some improvement but not enough to justify further treatment).
Anything else I need to know?
You can use it with most other treatments, except Accutane. It's important that you face is clean when you use it though. It may be a useful adjunct to tetracycline antibiotics- these antibiotics are 'bacteriostatic' in other words they don't kill the bacteria they just hold it at bay; whereas this treatment kills them. So the combination is likely to be a good one.
Some people with very sensitive skin seem to get a slight irritation/redness from their lights. This doesn't seem harmful, but indicates that they need to reduce the time. People that fail to reduce the time if this happens seem to get much less improvement. However even then the lights don't seem to be harmful- people have fallen asleep in front of their lamps for over an hour without anything really bad happening (i.e. no 'sunburn' or peeling,) but it's not a way to calm skin. Used sensibly blue/red light calms skin down and this seems to give less acne.
- I personally do not recommend buying a dermastyle pen; the beam is very narrow and the manufacturers make IMHO misleading claims as to its effectiveness (Chu's study says that it takes about 3 months to clear acne, NOT a few days- there is absolutely no evidence of any noticeable reduction in acne in his study results that quickly.) These blue/red light products largely prevent new acne in a region, and that's difficult with a pen-size treatment. It might work if you only have acne in very, very limited regions; but the vast majority of people's acne isn't like that.
- Dermalux lamps work (they're the same as Dr. Chu's study). The Beautyskin is basically the same product, and uses essentially the same kind of bulbs. You can even swap the bulbs between the units.