The best medical research comes from observation of natural processes. This is how acne blue light therapy has come about – from observing how acne works and when it does and does not appear. Acne blue light therapy has come about from the observation that under strong sunlight, there are fewer cases of acne in the general population of people. Let’s look at the natural processes involved before looking at the therapy options to tackle acne using blue light.
Blue Light Kills Bacteria…
Acne blue light therapy is a year-round solution for regions with long periods of low sunlight. In different parts of the world people take advantage of the sun at different times of the year. In a very hot, tropical country like Australia or the far southern US states, people tend to hide from the sun in the heat of summer and emerge in winter to enjoy their barbecues and beaches. Alternately, the Northern US and Canada people tend to hang out outside in the peak of summer to feel the rays, that are substantially less strong than in southern climes of the world.
During these periods, scientists observed that the rates of acne fall. Acne forms when the skin’s sebaceous glands release oil. The oil should be released through the skin’s pores but sometimes the pores get blocked with dirt. Bacteria see a big meal in the oil and dirt so congregate and feast. Therefore, the body sends white blood cells to fight the bacteria and this results in inflammation and pus forming – you have your acne spot.
Sunlight is described as a ‘white light’ but is in fact a mix of different colored lights that you can see separated in a rainbow or through a prism. Light penetrates the surface of the skin and reaches the tiny organs under the surface of the skin.
Using the Power of Light
Fortunately, scientists observed that visible red light slows the production of the skin’s oils. Visible blue light causes slow deaths of the bacteria that feeds on the oil. Ultraviolet (UV) light is different to pure blue light, and can cause damage or even cancers to form in the skin. UV light isn’t the right wavelength of light to do the work that sunlight does on bacteria.
More or less, acne blue light therapy activates organs on the cell membranes of the bacteria and causes them to shake apart. The bacteria bleed out their contents and die over a few days. While this isn’t very good for the bacteria – a slow death is pleasant for nothing – it is great for treating your acne as the production of pus is reduced, and the spot starts to deflate.
There is an important point to note though – sunlight never kills all of the bacteria that are having a munch on your skin’s oils.
Acne Blue Light Therapy
From these observations, home and therapy centers have been developed and licensed by governments around the world. Instead of white light, acne blue light therapy involves shining a visible spectrum blue light onto the affected skin. Actually, it doesn’t involve UV light and is not dangerous for the recipient of the light therapy.
Fortunately, there are different options for those considering getting acne blue light therapy – paying a dermatologist for the therapy or getting a home light therapy kit. You will pay the dermatologist a lot of money for each session and as such for low levels of acne, it might not be strictly necessary. If you have severe acne with the risk of scarring, then obviously consider paying a professional. There are home blue light therapy masks available that are licensed by medical authorities and these will cost a lot less.
Sadly, there are a lot of false claims out there when it come to treating blemishes. Acne blue light therapy is emphatically not one of them. It may only be really useful though if you are at risk of scarring – for ordinary spots, do consider the cheaper and less involved routines of good skincare and washing the dirt from your pores before it causes the spots in the first place.
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