Acne Blue/Red Light Treatment
Acne is a skin condition that affects nearly 50 million people, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The common symptoms of acne are inflamed red pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. Acne develops when pores become blocked. The tendency to develop acne can be hereditary, though it is often caused by hormonal changes. Among the most successful acne treatments are benzoyl peroxide, retinoic creams (Retin-A) and oral antibiotics, including tetracycline. A newer FDA-approved acne treatment, known as blue light therapy or blue/red therapy, may be effective in some acne cases.
Blue light therapy uses a thin band of high-intensity blue light to eradicate the acne causing bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes. P. acnes commonly gather on the skin, but tends to grow more rapidly when pores are clogged. Blue light therapy is often used in conjunction with the application of a red light. Manufacturers say this can enhance the effectiveness of blue light therapy as well as rejuvenate the skin.
Blue/red light acne therapy may be a viable treatment option when topical agents and oral medications have failed to produce the desired results. The AAD says stubborn, inflammatory cases of acne often responds well to blue light therapy.
Manufacturers say blue light therapy uses a precise wavelength of moderate to heavy power that has a therapeutic effect on skin tissue. The patient wears goggles to protect the eyes from the intense light. A typical course of treatment involves eight, 20-minute sessions that are spread over four weeks. The red light is designed to expedite healing and refresh the skin.
Unlike the light therapy acne treatments of the past, the blue light method is easier on the skin because it does not produce harmful UV light. The American Cancer Society says long-term exposure to UV rays can cause premature wrinkling, age spots and precancerous skin changes.
The possible side effects associated with blue/red light acne therapy are typically mild. They may include swelling, dryness and temporary pigment changes.
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