How Effective is Light Therapy for Acne?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 July 2019
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Light therapy for acne tends to vary in effectiveness. Some people report having good results using light therapy, while other people notice little to no difference in the severity of their acne after using the therapy. The people who have success using light therapy for acne often claim that the therapy helps with larger cyst-like acne, but that it does not help much with smaller pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Light therapy for acne may be used alone or in conjunction with other acne treatments. People who use the therapy along with other acne medications may notice more positive results than people who use the therapy alone to treat their acne.

There are basically two types of lights used in light therapy for acne: blue light therapy and red light therapy. Sometimes both lights are used together, and it is also common to just use one type of light or the other. The blue light tends to be most effective for healing large, cyst-like acne by killing the bacteria that causes it, while the red light is considered helpful for reducing redness and irritation. Acne light therapy devices typically contain only small amounts of UV, or ultraviolet, light, and this amount is not considered to be harmful.


Most people who use light therapy for acne use their light devices twice a day for 15 minutes at a time. The devices tend to work best when people sit very close to them with their faces bathed in the light. It is necessary to wear safety goggles during therapy, particularly if blue light is being used, because of potential eye damage. There are very few people who report side effects from using light therapy for acne, and when side effects are reported, they are typically very mild and are usually characterized by slight skin irritation.

Light devices for acne range in price, but most of the devices are not inexpensive to purchase. Additionally, there are some people who would not want to use this method of acne treatment because they might not want to spend 30 minutes out of every day sitting in front of light only to get mixed results. Light therapy for acne may not be the best choice for everyone when the cost is factored in with no guarantee of improvement in acne symptoms. People who decide to use light therapy for acne might want to consider using the therapy along with some other type of acne treatment method to help ensure they will get better results.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

@donasmrs-- Have you considered getting a light therapy product for home? They're not cheap, they cost about the same as two light therapy sessions at the dermatologist. But you can use it regularly. I'm using one and I think it's helping.

Post 2

@SarahGen-- I think light reduces sebum production and that's how it works for acne. But in order to benefit from it, light therapy has to be used everyday the way you did on the beach.

I don't think that this is safe or feasible. You certainly can't sunbathe everyday or you might end up with skin cancer. I don't think that blue light therapy for acne is dangerous but it costs a lot. I personally can't afford to get it regularly and one single session doesn't do anything for skin. There are cheaper, safer and more effective acne treatments out there.

Post 1

I spent my whole summer at the beach this year and I realized that light is beneficial for acne. I have acne on my face and my back. Within a week of being at the beach, my cystic pimples and regular pimples completely dried up.

I was hanging out at the beach, swimming and sunbathing everyday. I'm not sure if it was the sunlight, the salt water or both, but it did wonders for my skin. I'm back home now and I'm considering getting blue light therapy for acne throughout the year.

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