The Ultimate Guide Through Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy is a non-invasive and effective way to improve skin health and treat acne, plus a range of other skin conditions. Let’s see how it can benefit you.
Blue LED light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that can help alleviate a wide range of skin and health conditions. Since it can target anything from acne to eczema – without any downtime or discomfort – blue light skin treatment seems to be a very popular choice for a facial add-on.
Let’s explain how it works, which conditions it can help with, and compare its benefits and downsides.
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What Is Blue Light Therapy?
Blue light therapy is a type of phototherapy that uses a blue-violet light source that has the shortest waves and carries the most energy.
This therapy is based on exposing the skin to a specific range of wavelengths that trigger the body’s natural healing process. This way, it improves the production of collagen, elastin, and other important proteins.
It also helps decrease inflammation, improve tone and texture, and skin clarity from the inside out by killing bacteria.
It should be noted that there is a clear distinction between blue light used for therapy purposes vs. the blue light being emitted from our phones, computer screens, etc.
Image source: Instagram @beautybygerda_esthetics
How Does Blue Light Therapy Work?
Blue light therapy works by using blue light to penetrate the skin and trigger a photochemical reaction.
Seeing how blue wavelength is targeting bacteria that cause acne, it’s used to help reduce inflammation and breakouts. A blue light facial can also improve skin texture, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and promote a more even skin tone.
Blue Light Therapy Benefits
There are several benefits to blue light therapy, including:
- Reduces acne
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps clear up breakouts
- Improves the overall texture and tone of the skin
- Stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which are important for maintaining skin health.
- Unlikely to produce long-term complications
- Non-invasive and doesn’t cause scarring
- Suitable to be combined with other treatments or acne therapies
- Appropriate for all areas of the body
Image source: Instagram @candicemieleskincare
What Is Blue Light Therapy Good For?
Blue light therapy is mostly recommended to clients with acne-prone skin, given that this treatment is most effective in treating mild-to-moderate acne.
But this wavelength is also effective for a large range of concerns including fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, redness, psoriasis, and muscle or joint pain.
Let’s see some of the conditions blue light therapy is commonly used for.
Blue Light Face Treatment
While it is known as the best light therapy for acne, it can also help treat a number of other skin concerns.
Blue Light Therapy for Acne
Blue light for acne treatment seems to be the go-to for most oily-skinned clients.
Because P. acnes (also known as the acne-causing bacteria) emits a photosensitizer, which renders it particularly sensitive to light and susceptible to harm by certain wavelengths, blue light kills acne bacteria so effectively.
Image source: Instagram @the_monaco_facialist
Blue Light Therapy for Inflammation
When there’s an underlying inflammation due to skin irritation, it leads to chemical alterations that make the skin a breeding ground for P. acnes.
By addressing this underlying inflammation issue, you can maintain healthy skin and lower the chances of having acne breakouts and other skin conditions that are caused by underlying inflammation.
Blue Light Treatment for Sun Damage
This treatment can help repair sun damage by encouraging skin cell turnover. It’s also effective in treating other skin diseases like precancerous lesions and skin cancer.
Blue light treatment for actinic keratosis (AKA skin sun damage) works by targeting the diseased tissue with minimal effect on surrounding tissue.
Also, some research suggests that this treatment may have some anti-cancer properties since blue light treatment for skin cancer can destroy and prevent the formation of melanoma cells.
Blue Light Therapy for Hyperpigmentation
Blue light therapy for hyperpigmentation uses a specific wavelength that targets the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) – which are responsible for dark patches and discoloration.
By penetrating the skin and concentrating on these cells, blue light helps reduce melanin overproduction and treat discoloration.
Image source: Instagram @glowbeautypreston
Blue Light Treatment for Wrinkles
Blue LED light is believed to stimulate collagen production, which can help to firm and tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and shallow wrinkles.
However, red LED light treatment is more often associated with anti-aging properties.
Blue Light Body Treatment
Blue light body treatment can treat any skin concern face treatment can, only the device used differs slightly.
Seeing as body skin issues are on the larger area, bigger panels are used. These are mostly beds similar to the ones for tanning or a wall of panels. In some cases, if the area isn’t as big the technician might opt out to use a handheld wand over the area you’re looking to treat.
Either way, blue light body treatment can help with:
Blue Light Therapy for Skin Wounds
Blue light skin treatment has been shown to be effective in accelerating the body’s healing process.
Since blue light wavelengths are exceptionally absorbed into the skin, especially by the hemoglobin and melanin (which carry oxygen throughout the body) to achieve significant effects in cells.
Blue Light Therapy for Skin Conditions
Blue light therapy can help treat different skin conditions like rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.
Blue Light for Rosacea
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that is characterized by visible blood vessels on the face and accompanying redness.
Blue light for rosacea has proven to be effective as it helps reduce inflammation associated with rosacea. It’s all about reducing the severity of outbreaks and improving the overall appearance of the skin.
Blue Light Therapy for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches of skin. Since blue light has anti-inflammatory effects, it can help slow down the overproduction of skin cells.
This way blue light therapy for psoriasis can serve as a good way to keep the condition under control.
Blue Light Treatment for Eczema
Mild to moderate cases of eczema (otherwise known as atopic dermatitis) can be successfully reduced with a few blue light therapy sessions.
Similarly to blue light therapy for psoriasis, anti-inflammatory effects help slow down the overproduction of skin cells – which are a contributing factor to eczema.
Image source: Instagram @the_beauty_emporium
Blue Light Scalp Treatment
Blue light scalp treatment can be used to improve scalp health and treat conditions such as dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.
Blue light wavelengths target bacteria and yeast that can contribute to scalp irritation and inflammation. Reducing the presence of these microbes, blue light therapy can help to soothe the scalp and reduce symptoms such as itching, flaking, and redness.
Other Uses for Blue Light Therapy
Aside from skin, blue light has several other beneficial uses:
- Regulating your circadian rhythm – Melanopsin, an important photoreceptor in the control of circadian rhythms, reacts strongly to blue light. So there’s a theory that being exposed to blue light may aid in the treatment of sleep disorders.
- Helps sharpen mental abilities – Since blue light delivers a signal to wake up, it can boost alertness and mental clarity. It’s also believed to be helpful with memory retention and learning.
- Helps relieve depression and anxiety – Some research suggests that blue light can lessen the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder since sunlight contains natural blue light in it.
- Helps cure jaundice in newborns – Jaundice blue light treatment is used to degrade bilirubin, the substance that causes the skin and eyes to appear yellow, allowing the body to eliminate it naturally and restoring normal skin color.
Combining Blue Light Therapy with Other Treatments
There are studies that suggest that blue light therapy is the most effective when used in combination with red or near-infrared light since it can penetrate deeper into the tissue.
But, other than being combined with other LED lights, blue light therapy can also be used in combination with other skin treatments.
For example, blue light after a chemical skin peel can be used to improve the healing process and enhance the results of the peel. The same goes for skin microneedling.
And since blue light therapy has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, it helps soothe and protect the skin and lessen the chance of infection.
Image source: Instagram @lbaestheticsandskin
Blue Light Therapy Contraindications
It is important to note that while blue light therapy is generally considered safe and effective, it may not be suitable for everyone. It’s not recommended for:
- People with a history of skin cancer
- Pregnant or breastfeeding clients
- People suffering from lupus
- People who have an allergy to porphyrins
- People who are using a photosensitizing drug, as they’re increasing sensitivity to lights
- People with porphyria (a rare blood disorder that causes increased sensitivity to light)
What to Expect During a Blue Light Therapy Session
Blue light therapy is a very quick and easy skin treatment. It consists of:
If blue light therapy is done on its own, your skin will be gently cleansed beforehand to remove any makeup residue or debris.
The technician may apply a topical product to your skin beforehand to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment.
If it’s done in combination with some other treatment, the preparation can vary.
In any case, before the light is turned on, you will be provided protective goggles or your technician will protect your eyes with gauze.
If you aren’t doing a blue light facial, but are treating some other body area instead, you will have to remove clothing from that area.
The procedure itself lasts between 15 to 30 minutes and is quite simple – you’ll be seated in a comfy position and the blue light device will be positioned close to your skin. It will be left to shine light on the area for a while.
The procedure is totally pain-free. You may feel a warm or tingling sensation, but if the intensity or the duration of the session needs to be adjusted, let your technician know.
After the Procedure
Your skin may appear slightly red or warm, but this is a normal reaction that should subside quickly.
After the treatment, you can return to your normal activities right away. There is no downtime or recovery required. Since you’ll be needing multiple sessions, it’s important to follow the technician’s advice on how to take care of your skin in the meantime.
This can help amplify the results of blue light therapy – especially if you’re looking to treat a specific condition. Combining topical or oral therapy with blue lights LED therapy will fasten/accelerate the results.
Image source: Instagram @skintasticmedispa
Blue Light Therapy Aftercare
Unless your technician suggests otherwise, you don’t need to make any major changes in your skincare routine. Just make sure to follow blue light treatment aftercare tips as they help you avoid any potential side effects.
Following your blue light facial, you should:
- Protect your skin from the sun – especially in the first 24 hours after the procedure (blue light therapy can make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation)
- Avoid unnecessarily touching your face to reduce the risk of infection
- Avoid using harsh skincare ingredients (like exfoliating agents or retinoids) to prevent skin irritation
- Allow your skin to heal properly
Blue Light Therapy Risks & Side Effects
Blue light therapy is generally considered a safe and non-invasive procedure – when done properly. It doesn’t seem to pose any serious long-term side effects, but there can be some temporary, minor ones. Those include:
- Irritation or itchiness
- Tingling or slight burning sensation (similar to a sunburn)
These adverse effects usually resolve quite quickly. But when talking about more long-term difficulties, you should be aware of the risks this treatment has when not done incorrectly:
- Increased skin sensitivity
- Increased sensitivity to UV radiation
- Eye damage
- Allergic reactions (including itching, redness, skin irritation, and rash)
- Slight peeling or flaking of the skin
How Much Does Blue Light Therapy Cost?
The average blue light therapy cost is around $50 per session. But blue light skin treatment cost varies depending on the:
- Type of treatment you receive (in combination with other skin treatments or as a stand-alone)
- Which area you’re treating
- Exclusivity of the salon
- Number of sessions
So the price range is quite wide as a single session can cost anywhere between $30 and $275.
And, since you’ll need multiple sessions, it’s recommended you speak with a licensed skincare professional to get an accurate cost estimation for treating your specific condition.
Blue Light Therapy at Home
Since this treatment is so simple, blue light therapy at home is widely available. There are a few different types of devices, but LED light masks and handheld wands seem to be the most popular choice.
Note that blue light therapy at home might not be as effective as equipment used in a professional setting, and the effects might not be as obvious. But, it’s a good addition to upgrading your skincare routine.
For people who want to benefit from blue light treatment without needing to go to a professional, these blue light therapy at home devices are practical and economical solutions.
Here are our product recommendations:
To ensure you’re using the device safely and successfully, carefully follow the instructions. The devices are easy to use, but the directions differ depending on the manufacturer.
Blue Light Therapy – Main Takeaways
For a variety of skin issues, blue light therapy is a secure alternative to a lot of other, more invasive treatments.
Blue light skin treatment has proven effective in lessening acne, enhancing the texture of the skin, and calming inflammation – among many other benefits. The biggest downside of this treatment is that it has to be done in multiple sessions to be able to see results.