How I Use Light Therapy To Treat My Acne
While mild acne may not seem like such a big deal, just the mere thought of walking with little pustules on your face freaks out even the most self-confident amongst us.
I have suffered from mild acne since I was a teenager. Like most people who battle acne, I have had sporadic success with tropical ointments—sometimes it worked and other times the acne would get worse depending on the tropical treatment. The first time I tried using light therapy to minimize the breakouts was when I was just out of college and was looking for a job. Given that I was attending a series of interviews, I needed to have a clear face, if not for my own self-esteem, to give the proverbial good impression.
I will be honest: I was disappointed that the light treatment did not work as fast as I wanted it. But, after about 4 weeks of exposure, the pustules cleared out completely. Since then, regular exposure has really helped to minimize the frequency and severity of the flare-ups.
So, How Does Light Therapy Help To Treat Acne?
First off, light treatment is most effective for mild and moderate acne. Severe acne such as cysts needs an advanced treatment regimen. I am only going to talk about alleviating mild acne using blue light therapy.
Specific handheld light therapy devices are used for acne treatment. Alternatively, you could use the tabletop devices. The advantage of hand held devices is that they let you bring the light close enough to the affected area, thereby facilitating deeper light penetration.
I have used both handheld and tabletop light therapy devices and I have not seen much of a difference in terms of one being more effective at reducing the flare-ups better than the other does.
The main advantage of the handheld type is that it is simply more convenient especially if you are looking to treat acne lesions on other regions apart from your face such as the chest or back. I have seen optimal result from using the handheld device for about 45 minutes, two times a day. The tabletop offers a much shorter treatment time of about 15 minutes.
Both types of devices utilize blue light to stimulate the production of porphyrins, substances found inside the acne causing bacteria. The porphyrins are especially helpful in killing bacteria from within. A lot of light therapy kits for acne combine red and blue light—the red light helps to minimize inflammation while the blue light is helpful in stimulating the porphyrins.
What Are The Pros And Cons of Using Light Therapy to Treat Acne?
What I love about using light therapy to treat my acne is the fact that this method does not have any side effects. As you might have experienced first-hand already, tropical treatments can cause the skin to dry out or trigger further breakouts. The downside of light treatment is that it could take a while before you start seeing results.
Also, I have found that this treatment mostly working on people with mild acne and will not be suitable for systemic or severe breakouts. Overall, I recommend using light therapy together with other treatments to see the best results within a shorter time.