Most people have heard of antibiotic and antiseptic creams for controlling and preventing acne. Chemical peels are also widely known for helping to eliminate the appearance of acne scars. What is less commonly heard of is the application of certain kinds of light for acne treatment.
How Blue Light Therapy Works
Photodynamic Therapy (PTD) is a medical skin treatment that utilizes a light-sensitizing drug for sending light waves into the skin to kill bacteria that causes acne. This procedure is also called blue light therapy.
The reason acne causes redness and swelling is a kind of bacteria that can be eliminated by shining certain kinds of light into the skin to be absorbed. Usually the color of the light waves used are blue in color, although the use of blue and red waves is common also.
A kind of skin ointment called a photosensitizer is applied to the skin to intensify the skin’s sensitivity to light for better absorption of light waves. The kind of light waves that are used can be pulsing or constant, depending on the severity and kind of skin being treated.
Blue light for acne treatment can also reduce the production of oil in the skin’s oil glands. Oily skin is often times more likely to develop acne than dry skin. Oil clogs the pores and gives bacteria an opportunity to multiply.
The Blue Light Treatment Procedure
Blue light for acne treatment doesn’t take very long. The first step is to apply the photosensitizer ointment to the skin. There is a necessary incubation period after the ointment is applied. This gives the ointment a chance to penetrate the skin so the procedure is the most effective. The incubation period usually lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. It all depends on the severity of the acne, scarring and the condition of the patient’s skin.
Then a specific wavelength of blue light is aimed at the areas of the skin to be treated. This activates the photosensitizing lotion on the skin. The wavelengths of blue light are absorbed into the skin and acne-causing bacteria are killed during the process.
The side effects of blue light for acne treatments are very minor. The most common is redness in the treated area. Some peeling and crusting of the skin may occur a day or two after the procedure. This is nothing to worry about; it’s part of the process and goes away on its own.
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