Phototherapy is the exposure to bright light sources with a specific wavelength or broad range of wavelength for a specified amount of time. Different wavelengths of light produce varying effects on the human skin. The basis of phototherapy is the anecdotal evidence that sunlight improves the condition of acneic skin. However, prolonged exposure to the sun would cause skin damage and to some extent skin cancer because of ultraviolet rays. Manufacturers have designed devices to simulate the beneficial effects of sunlight on human skin without the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays. Phototherapy has been used by NASA astronauts and US Navy submariners to promote wound healing.
II. How does Phototherapy works on ACNE?
For Blue Light Therapy 405nm-420nm (optimal 415nm)
Kills Bacteria – Acne causing bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes excretes porphyrins. When these porphyrins are exposed to a specific wavelength of light (blue-violet light from 405 to 420 nanometers ),oxygen is separated from the porphyrin molecule producing free radicals which kills the bacteria.
For RED Light Therapy 655nm-665nm (optimal 660 nm)
- Anti-Inflammatory Action – reduces the redness and inflammation associated with acne lesions.
- Promotes wound healing and tissue growth – this action is beneficial for acne scars which is common with moderate and severe acne.
- For Near Infrared Light Therapy (730nm and 880nm)
- Stimulation of the production of collagen
- Increases cell activity during wound healing
- The heat generated by infrared light increases local blood circulation
- Makes the texture of the skin smoother
- Improves skin firmness and elasticity
- Decrease of minor muscle and joint pain
Minimal side effects
Blue light therapy is an alternative to antibiotics
There are claims that Blue-light therapy may cause DNA damage and some researchers believe that it makes the skin more susceptible to skin cancer and may suppress the immune function of the skin. The long-term side effects of blue-light is still unknown..
It can be used to treat mild to moderate acne only.
The ideal peak wavelength for Blue light therapy is 415 nanometers and 660 nanometers for Red light therapy. The required exposure time is typically 15 minutes but darker skin may require longer exposure times to be effective.
The percent improvement in non-inflammatory and inflammatory lesion counts of the treated side was significant compared to the control side (p( Source: Red Light Phototherapy Alone Is Effective for Acne Vulgaris: Randomized, Single-Blinded Clinical Trial Authors: NA, JUNG IM1; SUH, DAE HUN1, Dermatologic Surgery, Volume 33, Number 10, October 2007 , pp. 1228-1233(6))
In this study we have evaluated the use of blue light (peak at 415 nm) and a mixed blue and red light (peaks at 415 and 660 nm) in the treatment of acne vulgaris. After 12 weeks of active treatment a mean improvement of 76% (95% confidence interval 66-87) in inflammatory lesions was achieved by the combined blue-red light phototherapy. We have found that phototherapy with mixed blue-red light, probably by combining antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action, is an effective means of treating acne vulgaris of mild to moderate severity, with no significant short-term adverse effects.
( Source: P. Papageorgiou, A. Katsambas, A. Chu (2000) Phototherapy with blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris British Journal of Dermatology 142 (5), 973–978.
Subjects were treated over eight sessions, two per week 3 days apart, alternating between 415 nm blue light (20 minutes/session, 48 J/cm2) and 633 nm red light (20 minutes/session, 96 J/cm2) from a light-emitting diode (LED)-based therapy system. Patients received a mild microdermabrasion before each session. CONCLUSIONS: Combination blue and red LED therapy appears to have excellent potential in the treatment of mild to severe acne. Treatment appears to be both pain- and side effect-free.
( Source: Combination blue (415 nm) and red (633 nm) LED phototherapy in the treatment of mild to severe acne vulgaris.Goldberg DJ, Russell BA. Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of New York/New Jersey, and Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10022, USA. email@example.com)
III. Forms, Dosage and Administration
Blue light therapy specifies at least 15 to 30 minutes of exposure which is done once or twice a week for 8 to 12 weeks.
- People with photosensitive skin condition
- People who have Phorphyria
- LED light might trigger epileptic seizure
- People with thyroid condition should consult their doctors first
- If you are photo-allergic or if are taking medication that may cause light sensitivity such as Tetracycline.
V. Side Effects
- Slight redness of the skin
- Brand Names
http://www.revitalight.com/consumer_announcements.asp (REVITALIGHT Nancy Trent/Pamela Wadler Trent & Company)
http://www.acnelamp.com ( Dima-Tech, Inc 2007 )
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