Blue light therapy and red light therapy for acne

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What I am trying now: Blue light therapy (and red LED light therapy) for the skin.

If you read my turmeric for acne post, you know that my son was suffering with acne earlier in the year that was alleviated by turmeric. The turmeric masks were very helpful, but he disliked them because he is sensitive to having anything on his skin. So he took turmeric (and zinc) internally and his skin remained clear. It was great, but this summer he got a little lax at taking the turmeric and zinc, and all of a sudden his face erupted like I have never seen it before (I am guessing due to hormones).

My son went from some bad breakouts to severe cystic acne. I resigned myself to the fact that he would probably need accutane, which is the strongest thing out there to fight this type of acne. Unfortunately, he could not take accutane due to liver enzymes, and his skin was getting worse. His skin is incredibly itchy and dry despite the fact that he has numerous cysts, pimples and blackheads all over his face. The dermatologist injected about 15 cysts on his face with cortisone (waste of pain and money – didn’t help). His self-confidence took a nosedive and my once socially-active son started avoiding going out in public or being with other people. As his mother this has broken my heart into pieces and I am desperate to find anything to help him.

We eliminated dairy and sugar from his diet, added more anti-oxidant rich foods (such as nuts and green tea) and supplements and are exceptionally vigilant with his skincare routine. After discussion with the dermatologist and hours upon hours of research, his skincare regimen consists of a gentle toner of diluted apple cider vinegar, aloe vera water and witch hazel, and prescription anti-bacterial gel and a retin-A cream. He also uses ice packs and occasionally cortisone to help with swelling and itching.

Unfortunately we are not seeing any results for him. The ice packs seem to work the best for reducing the inflammation and redness but the results are temporary. While I have been able to pretty much cure my adult cystic acne without prescription interventions by: ditching washing my face with soap, switching to an all-natural shampoo and using only twice a week, using gentle toners such as green tea, diluted apple cider vinegar, aloe vera water and witch hazel, and supplementing with turmeric and zinc, he is not having the same luck. At this point I would and will try anything to help him. I spend hours every week researching what might help. I want my son with his confident, funny and engaging personality back!

Blue light therapy and red light therapy – will it work?

So I had heard about blue light therapy and asked the dermatologist about it. She said that it can work but it is time-consuming and expensive (not covered by insurance). I decided to try an at-home blue light therapy first before doing it at the dermatologists office. If it works, I will have saved thousands of dollars and a ton of time. I am only out a much smaller amount of money and time if it does not work. The results are supposed to be fairly quick if it does work, but with the severity of his acne, I think it could take a while.

Which blue light therapy and red light therapy device?

I spent hours researching many different brands and ultimately chose Project E Beauty because this is the brand that had the best reviews and least negative reviews.

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I considered Trophy Skin Blue-Md and liked that it did not have to touch your face, that you did not have to hold it, and that the red and blue lights were combined together for less time spent using it. However, some of the reviews were mixed and the price tag was over a hundred more dollars! A smaller hand held unit had a lot of positive reviews, but it did not have the red lights, would require much more time to use because of the smaller area it would be able to cover on the face, and was even more expensive than the Trophy Skin product. There were several cheap models on the market, including some that are sold in store, but they don’t have the best reviews and you have to pay to continue to use them.

Why try blue light therapy and red light therapy?

The blue light therapy and red light therapy works like this: The blue light is supposed to mess up a substance in the bacteria, leading to the bacteria’s death and reduction in acne (but it doesn’t work on all forms of acne). The red light is supposed to decrease inflammation and stimulate collagen production leading to firmer skin and less wrinkles. The product I bought is shaped like a mask that you wear on your face and the red lights and blue lights are not combined, so you have to run them separately.

For me I am using the device, not so much for acne (because I have found non-prescription ways to keep my adult cystic acne at bay) but to see if the red light helps with firming up the face since it is supposed to stimulate collagen.

Setting up and using the blue light and red light therapy device

It is fairly easy to use, has a timer and you can choose the intensity level. You simply plug it in and turn it on! The mask is too heavy to use sitting up with only the strap to support it, you must actually hold it on. It is easiest to lay down with it and let it rest on the face. There are holes for the eyes and mouth so breathing isn’t difficult and you aren’t blinded by the lights. In fact we were able to actually read with it on!

We started my son with the lowest intensity on 10 minutes of blue light, 10 minutes of red light. The next morning I did not detect any measurable difference in inflammation though I did notice that he did not have as many new whiteheads (typically I pick him up from school and notice his face is newly covered in white heads)… So if the blue light and red light therapy device at least works for that it would be amazing enough for me!

blue light and red light therapy
son using the blue light therapy device

For me I have some acne scarring, some lines at the corner of my mouth, the “1” (almost a full “11”) between the brows and some saggy skin on my neck that could use some collagen stimulation!

I will provide an update in a month with before and after pics! Wish us luck!!

9/19/16 Update – another day of use of the light therapy mask, for the 2nd day in a row he had less whiteheads and overall his skin looks a little less red and swollen. Hoping for continued improvement!

10/6/16 I will post a full update very soon.  I have noticed that the days he does not use the device he is sure to have a lot of whiteheads the next day.  When he does use it, the next day he hardly has any.


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