What 's LED Blue light Therapy?
Nearly 50% of sunlight reaching the earth's surface is visible light, providing us light, warmth and tremendous immune benefits such as the production of Vitamin D in our bodies and elevating our mood. However, there are draw backs that arise from extensive sun exposure relative to its connection to skin cancer, collagen breakdown and premature aging due to UV exposure.
LED Light Therapy (Light Emitting Diodes) is a non-UV, safe and effective alternative treatment that's quickly rising in popularity, offering incredible non-invasive solutions to various skin conditions and ailments. It was first developed by NASA to help grow plants in space (replacing sunlight) but, in recent decades, evolved into use in the medical and cosmetic fields.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on the benefits and uses of Red Light Therapy in treating inflammation, premature aging and various medical concerns. This blog will focus on blue light, its uses, counter-indications and devices.
What is the difference between LED Blue Light and visible blue light? / EMF
LED blue light is emitted from LED light therapy devices, and can be used in many different ways; namely acne treatment, sleep regulation and sensitive skin conditions.
The EMF light from refrigerators, laptops, Wifi, cell phones, and other devices; is a type of radiation that has been studied for its potential to cause cancer. You can read more on this topic here.
In contrast, there have been a multitude of studies showing that LED's do not emit enough radiation to hurt our health - they are safe, according to scientific studies, the FDA and the American Academy of Dermatology.
How does it work and what does the science say?
According to a recent review in PubMed.gov, blue light therapy at 400-500nm induces an anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effect, ameliorating chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. The exact mechanism is still not yet fully understood. Exact treatment lengths & protocols are yet to be determined by the medical community, but various studies have shown visible improvement in 3 weeks of treatment with optimal results at 8 to 12 weeks. No major side effects have been noted yet.
A study on 21 patients with moderate acne concluded that blue light is a beneficial in acne treatment, noting significant decreases in inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions count.
How long before I see results from Blue Light Therapy?
A double-blinded randomized control study conducted on 35 subjects with evaluation in 12 weeks, showed that the group that used the light therapy twice a day for 4 weeks, saw a 77% improvement in inflammatory lesions and 54% in non-inflammatory lesions. Similar results have been found in various other studies with variations in reported improvement, ranging from 50% to 90% with treatment time averaging 5 weeks, and no reported side effects.
Some LED Light Therapy device manufacturers report that notable results can be expected in as early as two weeks of treatment, the equivalent of 10 sessions (5 per week).
In short, the duration of treatment varies by individual and frequency of use. For best results, please follow the instructions on your specific device. also recommend administering the treatment on clean skin to allow the light to absorb, then follow with the appropriate skincare routine.
Is LED Blue light Safe?
The FDA and the American Academy of Dermatology deem LED Light Therapy safe for home use, following manufacturers' indications. Blue Light Therapy is a non-invasive, painless and effective alternative treatment with no potential of burns or irritation, compared to common cosmetic procedures such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and lasers.
There have been np reports of thermal damage and there is no recovery time needed. Also, important to note that it is non-UV, hence cannot contribute to melanin production and discoloration.
What are the best LED blue light devices?
Medical grade / FDA cleared devices that combine red & blue LED's for wrinkles, inflammation & acne treatment. Please note that the main difference between devices listed in this category is the size of the device, although the panel offers a wider array of light therapies.
- Glo – LED Light Acne Treatment $79
- Clinical — LED Light Acne Treatment $99
- dpl® IIa – LED Light Wrinkle Reduction & Acne Treatment Panel $399
- Light Therapy Mask ($179) offers red, green or blue light for separate use.
- Solawave Skincare wand ($139) combines blue light, massage & therapeutic warmth to effectively treat acne, reduce bacteria, while reducing swelling & increasing skin's radiance and glow.
- Larimar 5-in-1 Face Therapy Wand – LED Facial Light Therapy Device – Ion Therapy Stimulation Massager $49.
- Medical grade
- Uses optimal wavelengths:
- Blue 415nm (Acne)
- Amber 605nm (pigmentation)
- Red 630nm (wrinkles)
- Deep red 660nm (inflammation)
- Infrared 880nm (Pain management)
Image from LEDtechnologies.com
The ReVive Wrinkle Reduction & Anti-aging handheld device also combines red, deep red, infrared, amber & blue light in an easy to use, portable device that's also economical ($99 instead of the $399 panel price). You'll need to use it for 3-minutes per area. So it will take a bit longer than the panel if you have larger areas you'd like to treat.
Image from ledtechnologies.com
What are top LED blue light benefits & uses?
Acne is one of the most challenging conditions to treat by dermatologists and aestheticians. They often resort to prescribing antibiotics, which come with major side effects, or Benzoyl Peroxide (tumor promotor), which significantly dries out the skin as it eliminates bacteria. Other common treatments are Retinoids, which can be affective, but also irritating and drying. Salicylic Acid (BHA) has been proven effective in eliminating surface bacteria with less side effects, if used in correct concentration and safe formulations. I like recommending the latter in moderation, but I am always on the hunt for non-invasive, non-drying treatments with minimal to no side effects. And, to me, LED Light Therapy falls right into that category. I find it ideal to recommend alongside a BHA cleanser or its natural counterpart; tea tree oil.
Image from LEDthechnologies.com
This is a chronic condition I've lived with for nearly two decades. It's characterized by inflammation, redness, bumps and itching around the mouth. It is easily exacerbated with skincare, toothpaste, stress and other triggers. I credit blue light, along with a clean skincare regimen, for helping me keep my Perioral Dermatitis under control, with hardly any flare-ups unless I use skincare with aggressive ingredients, petrolatum, fragrance or essential oils.
Image from solawave.co
Blue Light is used by dentist in conjunction with a whitening gel, in 30-minute sessions, as an effective method to whiten teeth. I had this professionally done a few years back. The results were great, but that set me back several hundred dollars. I believe treatments today can cost up to $1000.
Fortunately, for me, teeth-whitening blue light devices are starting to make their way to retail. My device of choice is dpl oral care, which is not only medical grade and FDA cleared, but combines blue and red light making it worth the $99 price point. Blue light reduces bacteria & boosts the effects of your whitening gel, while red light increases gum health and reduces inflammation.
How does LED Blue Light whiten teeth? The light activates the hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide whitening gel, helping break apart the gel faster, lifting stains off your teeth.
One of the best over the counter Teeth-Whitening Blue Light devices is FDA-cleared dpl Oral Care Light Therapy System. It combines Infrared and red LED's which increase circulation, relieve pain, heal cold sores and enhance gum health, while blue LED's boost the function of your whitening gel.
Image from LEDthechnologies.com
According to Sleepfoundation.org, LED blue light can help realign the body's circadian rhythms, hence improve sleep. Blue light suppresses the body's release of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Wearing blue light glasses for a few minutes in the morning can boost energy & reset your circadian rhythm for a better night sleep.
Azhien Light Therapy Glasses - Wearable Blue Light Therapy Glasses for better sleep and enhanced mood.
Some of the other noted uses of LED Blue Light Therapy are:
- Improving acne scars.
- Reducing Sebaceous Hyperplasia (enlarged oil glands).
- Skin cancer growth (photodynamic therapy).
- Reversing sun damage.
- Accelerated healing from cosmetic procedures.
- Managing depression.
Who should avoid using Light Therapy?
- Those suffering from migraines or seizures.
- If you have a tendency to get skin rashes.
- If you have been on Accutane treatments in less the last 6 months.
- If you have Lupus or Porphyria.
- If you are sensitive to light or use medications that cause light sensitivity.
It is best to consult with your doctor prior to starting a light therapy treatment.
For more information on other LED light therapies, please read my comprehensive guide on LED Light Therapy here.
Be well. Be safe. Be beautiful!