Radio Frequency (RF) Therapy

Radiofrequency (RF) Therapy for Acne Scars

Radio Frequency (RF) therapy uses beams of radio waves to heat sub-cutaneous tissue. RF Therapy is most widely used in treatments designed to improve skin laxity and diminish the appearance of cellulite. There are several different types of RF Therapy systems. High-power Radio Frequency platforms can also be used for ablative treatments. Certain types of RF Therapy are occasionally used for the treatment of active acne and acne scars.

How does Radio Frequency (RF) Therapy Work?

RF Therapy systems produce intense beams of high frequency radio waves (generally around 5 MHz). These beams of radio waves are absorbed by the target tissue, producing heat. Most RF therapy systems have a coolant system that sprays the surface of the treated area with cold gas. This prevents the surface from heating to the same degree of the internal tissue.

RF Therapy has many dermatological and cosmetic applications. The intensity of the radio beams and their specific frequency are optimized for specific types of treatments. Low-power RF Therapy is used for to tighten skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite. This application works by inducing small amounts of thermal damage that then stimulate the production of new collagen, elastin and other components of the Extra-Cellular Matrix (ECM) that supports the skin.

RF Therapy can also be used with high-power radio beams. High-power RF therapies are used for ablative treatments, such as resection of cancerous or damaged tissue.

RF Therapy for the Treatment of Active Acne and Acne Scars.

RF Therapy is generally used for the treatment of acne scars. It is primarily used for the treatment of mild acne scars, and it is frequently combined with complementary scar treatments. RF Therapy has also been tested as a treatment for active acne, but this is an uncommon application of RF technology.

RF Therapy is most effective for the treatment of mild to moderate to acne scars. RF Therapy can help improve the smoothness of the surface of the skin by inducing the growth and remodeling of the underlying tissue that supports the skin (eg. the Extra-Cellular Matrix “”ECM””). Dermatological applications of RF Therapy generally use low-power RF systems. These low-power RF systems are designed to cause small amounts of thermal damage and are considered non-ablative. Because effective treatment of moderate-to-severe acne scars often requires more aggressive skin resurfacing treatments (eg. ablative treatments), RF Therapy tends to be ineffective for the treatment of severe acne scars. For the treatment of moderate-to-severe acne scars, ablative laser treatments (eg. CO2, Er:YAG and Nd:YAG) are more frequently used.

RF Therapy has also been tested as a treatment for active acne. RF Therapy is rarely used for this application (and is not currently FDA-approved for this application at the time of this writing). However, some preliminary clinical research has indicated that RF therapy may be an effective treatment for active acne and some dermatologists are currently offering this treatment..

In the studies that have examined the efficacy of RF Therapy for the treatment of active acne, researchers have observed significant improvements in acne symptoms following treatment. However, it is important to note that relatively few clinical studies have been done on this topic, and many of those were funded by the manufacturer of the RF Therapy systems being tested. RF Therapy for acne is generally considered “”off-label”” and is not widely available. That may change if continued research supports the initial findings about the general efficacy of RF acne therapy.

In the treatment of active acne, RF Therapy may have two mechanisms of action that explain the observed benefits. First, the increased temperatures in the skin caused by RF Therapy may directly damage acne-causing bacteria (eg. P. acnes). The reduction in bacterial load following therapy could lead to a decrease in inflammation. Second, RF Therapy may decrease the size and activity of the sebaceous glands, causing a decrease in sebum production. Both of these effects could cause an improvement in acne symptoms.

How and Where is RF Therapy Administered?

RF Therapy is administered in many spas, dermatology offices, cosmetic surgery clinics and hospitals. RF Therapy is not widely available as an acne treatment.

The cost for RF Therapy can vary significantly depending on the application, area treated and system used. Generally speaking, RF Therapy tends to be fairly expensive. For example, treatments with Thermage (a popular RF therapy platform) generally cost over $2,000. Since RF therapy is not widely available as an acne treatment, there is little information available on the cost for that application.

RF Therapy should only be administered in a professional medical setting by trained professionals. Improper use of RF Therapy can permanently damage the tissue that supports the skin. This kind of damage can lead to permanent skin damage and scarring. Because RF Therapy targets the tissue underneath the skin, damage caused by improper use of this technology may not be immediately apparent after treatment.

Some RF Therapy platforms are capable of delivering fractionated (pixelated) radio beams. Fractionated RF systems tend to have fewer side effects, but can require additional treatments to achieve the same end result as complete (unfractionated) RF treatments.

Common RF therapy Systems

3DEEP Fractional, Aluma, Duet RF, eLIGHT, Exilis, INFINI, Intensif, Pixel RF, SecretRF, Sublative RF, Syneron Matrix RF, Thermage, VelaShape, Venus Freeze.

References

Nonablative Radiofrequency for Active Acne Vulgaris: The use of Deep Dermal Heat in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Active Acne Vulgaris (Thermotherapy): A Report of 22 Patients. Ruiz-Esparza, et al. 2003.
Nonablative Radiofrequency Treatment of Facial Laxity. Fisher, et al. 2005.
Laser Treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Jih, et al. 2007.
Procedural Treatments for Acne Vulgaris. Taub, et al. 2007.
Evaluation of pulsed light and radiofrequency combined for the treatment of acne vulgaris with histologic analysis of facial skin biopsies. Prieto, et al. 2005.
A novel fractional micro-plasma radio-frequency technology for the treatment of facial scars and rhytids: A pilot study. Halachmi, et al. 2010.
Novel technology in the treatment of acne scars: The matrix-tunable radiofrequency technology. Ramesh, et al. 2010.

Red Light Phototherapy

Red Light Phototherapy

Red Light Phototherapy is a treatment that involves exposing the skin to high intensity red light in the red spectrum. The purpose of the treatment is to reduce skin inflammation and accelerate healing.

Red Light Phototherapy and Acne

Red Light Phototherapy is primarily used as a treatment for minor acne-scarring and to facilitate healing after an acne outbreak. It is also occasionally used for the treatment of active acne symptoms.

Red Light Phototherapy is most commonly used for the treatment of acne scars. It does not appear to be an effective scar treatment by itself, but it can be combined with other types of scar treatments (eg. Laser Resurfacing, Microdermabrasion) to accelerate the healing process.

Results from several clinical research studies indicate that Red Light Phototherapy can be partially effective as a treatment for active acne symptoms. However, the improvement in active acne symptoms in response to Red Light Phototherapy is likely to incomplete and temporary. For example, one study that evaluated Red Light Phototherapy found that treatment caused a small decrease in inflammation, but did not reduce the levels of acne-causing P. acnes bacteria or the production of sebum by sebaceous glands. This indicates that Red Light Phototherapy may be helpful by decreasing inflammation, but does not address some of the more fundamental causes of acne.

How Does Red Light Phototherapy Work?

Red Light Phototherapy is most commonly used for photo-rejuvenation procedures. Several research studies have reported that red light (600-900 nm) stimulates the growth of new skin tissue and the production of collagen. However, the underlying science of many of these studies is questionable.

High intensity Red Light Phototherapy also appears to assist in the resolution of inflammation, redness and other types of uneven skin tone. Scientists have some ideas about how red light might cause these changes in skin tissue, but the exact mechanism (or mechanisms) are not well understood. Nonetheless, the results from clinical research studies of Red Light Phototherapy have been generally positive. Although these study results may overstate the benefit of Red Light Phototherapy, the treatment is becoming more popular.

Researchers of Red Light Phototherapy have reported that the treatment induces the production and remodeling of collagen and elastin fibers. Collagen and elastin are protein based fibers that form an interconnected matrix (Extra-Cellular Matrix, ECM) that provides structural support and elasticity to the skin. A healthy ECM is one where the fibers form a three dimensional, interconnected structure that is capable of stretching and compressing in all directions. When skin is damaged or ages, the density and organization of the collagen and elastin matrix tends to deteriorate. Increasing the production of healthy collagen and elastin in the skin is one of the primary goals in skin rejuvenation procedures.

Researchers have also reported that specific wavelengths of light in the red spectrum appear to stimulate certain cellular functions. Some specific cellular components, mainly enzymes, have been shown to absorb light in the red spectrum. The most well studied of these red light absorbing enzymes is cytochrome c oxidase, an essential component of mitochondria, which are the power sources of a cell. The absorption of photons (light) by cytochrome c oxidase apparently increases the metabolic activity in a cell, which may explain the accelerated rate of healing observed after Red Light Phototherapy.

How is Red Light Phototherapy Administered?

Most Red Light Phototherapy procedures use large panels of LED lights to create a high intensity source of a specific color (wavelength) of red light. Depending on the treatment, the precise wavelength of the light used can range from 600 nm (orange/red) to 850 nm (infra-red). Achieving therapeutic benefits from Red Light Phototherapy appears to require a very high intensity light source.

Home use Red Light Phototherapy systems are available for purchase on the internet. Home-use phototherapy systems range between $20 and $700 dollars, with large variations in the size, intensity and quality of the various systems. Small and inexpensive home-use phototherapy systems are unlikely to be capable of generating the intensity of light that is required for the therapeutic benefits reported in the clinical research studies.

References

Influence of 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and Red Light on Collagen Metabolism of Human Dermal Fibroblasts. Karrer, et al. 2003.
cDNA MicroarrayAnalysis of Gene Expression Profiles in Human Fibroblast Cells Irradiated with Red Light. Zhang, et al. 2003.
Clinical Trial of a Novel Non-Thermal LED Array for Reversal of Photoaging: Clinical, Histologic, and Surface Profilometric Results. Weiss, et al. 2005.
Effect of NASA Light-Emitting Diode Irradiation on Wound Healing. Whelan, et al. 2001.
Single Low-dose Red Light is as Efficacious as Methylaminolevulinate Photodynamic Therapy for Treatment of Acne: Clinical Assessment and Fluorescence Monitoring. Horfelt, et al. 2009.
A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, and split-face clinical study on LED phototherapy for skin rejuvenation: Clinical, profilometric, histologic, ultrastructural, and biochemical evaluations and comparison of three different treatment settings. Lee, et al. 2007.
Phototherapy with blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Papageorgiou, et al. 2000.
Non-invasive diagnostic evaluation of phototherapeutic effects of red light phototherapy of acne vulgaris. Zane, et al. 2008.
Red Light Phototherapy Alone Is Effective for Acne Vulgaris: Randomized, Single-Blinded Clinical Trial. Na, et al. 2007.

Red Light Phototherapy Images

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Acne Treatment

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is the generic name for a class of treatments that use specialized medications called photosensitizers to increase the effectiveness of a light-based treatment. PDT is used treat certain types of skin problems, including acne and some forms of cancer.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) for the Treatment of Acne

Numerous clinical research studies have reported that Photodynamic therapy (PDT) can decrease bacterial levels in the skin and help improve acne symptoms. PDT appears to be more effective for treating inflammatory acne lesions (Acne Types: 2-4) than non-inflammatory acne lesions (Acne Types: 1-2). PDT has also been reported to be more effective at improving acne symptoms than Blue Light Phototherapy or IPL alone.

However, PDT treatment alone rarely results in complete resolution of acne symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that PDT, like most light therapies, provides only temporary benefit and treatment must be repeated regularly to achieve and maintain significant improvements.

In addition to killing acne-causing bacteria, PDT has been shown to damage the sebaceous glands and temporarily decrease sebum production. Because of these effects, PDT can be a very useful treatment for patients with inflammatory acne that also have sebaceous hyperplasia or excessively oily skin. The effect of a PDT treatment regimen on sebaceous gland activity and sebum production appears to be semi-permanent.

How Does Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Work?

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) involves topical application of a photosensitizer followed by exposure to a specialized, high-intensity light source. The photosensitizer causes certain kinds of cells to produce large amounts of light-absorbing molecules called porphyrins. The photosensitizing agent helps target the treatment to the appropriate cells.

The acne-causing Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacterium produces a unique porphyrin molecule that absorbs light in the blue spectrum (~415 nm). When this porphyrin molecule absorbs blue light, it produces free radical molecules that can kill the bacteria.

Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) is the most common photosensitizer for PDT-based acne treatments. But three other photosensitizers are also occasionally used: MAL (methyl aminolevulinate), LA (levulinic acid) and IAA (Indole-3-Acetic Acid). MAL is generally used with red light sources and is more commonly used against cancer than acne.

Summary

PDT popular technique for many dermatologists, but it has received mixed reviews from acne patients. Because PDT requires the careful application of a photosensitizer and controlled light exposure, effective PDT treatments for acne can become quite expensive and time consuming. There are also potential risks associated with the photosensitizers themselves, such as allergic reactions, hypersensitivity to sunlight, redness and inflammation. In summary, while PDT can be an effective acne treatment, many people prefer frequent Blue Light Phototherapy over PDT because of the decreased risk of side effects.

References

A Comparative Study of Topical 5-Aminolevulinic Acid Incubation Times in Photodynamic Therapy with Intense Pulsed Light for the Treatment of Inflammatory Acne. Oh, et al. 2009.
A comparison of intense pulsed light, combination radiofrequency and intense pulsed light, and blue light in photodynamic therapy for acne vulgaris. Taub, et al. 2007.
The use of a novel intense pulsed light and heat source and ALA-PDT in the treatment of moderate to severe inflammatory acne vulgaris. Gold, et al. 2000.
Treatment of Inflammatory Facial Acne Vulgaris with Intense Pulsed Light and Short Contact of Topical 5-Aminolevulinic Acid: A Pilot Study. ROJANAMATIN, et al. 2006.
Effectiveness of Photodynamic Therapy with Topical 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and Intense Pulsed Light versus Intense Pulsed Light Alone in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris: Comparative Study. Arianee, et al. 2005.
A comparative study of intense pulsed light alone and its combination with photodynamic therapy for the treatment of facial acne in Asian skin. Yeung, et al. 2007.
Photodynamic therapy of acne vulgaris with topical aminolaevulinic acid and incoherent light in Japanese patients. Itoh, et al. 2001.
Photodynamic therapy of acne vulgaris using 5-aminolevulinic acid versus methyl aminolevulinate. Wiegell, et al. 2006.
Photodynamic therapy for acne vulgaris with topical 5-aminolevulinic acid. Itoh, et al. 2000.
Photodynamic therapy of acne vulgaris using methyl aminolaevulinate: a blinded, randomized, controlled trial. Wiegell, et al. 2006.
Photodynamic Therapy of Acne. Sandberg, et al. 2001.
Topical ALA-photodynamic therapy for the treatment of acne vulgaris. Hongcharu, et al. 2001.
Photodynamic therapy for acne vulgaris: a pilot study of the dose-response and mechanism of action. Horfelt, et al. 2007.
Topical aminolaevulinic acid photodynamic therapy for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a study of clinical efficacy and mechanism of action. Pollock, et al. 2004.
In vivo porphyrin production by P. acnes in untreated acne patients and its modulation by acne treatment. Borelli, et al. 2006.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Images

Pulsed Dye Lasers (PDL)

Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment and Acne

Pulsed Dye Lasers (PDL) are occasionally used for the treatment of both active acne symptoms and acne scars. Although they can be used for multiple applications, Pulsed Dye Lasers are not usually not the first-choice of treatment for either active acne or acne scars.

On average, Pulsed Dye Laser treatment of acne and acne scars is reviewed as poor to moderate by patients after treatment. It is likely that PDLs are popular because they are a relatively inexpensive, versatile and common platform – but not because they are an effective for active acne or acne scars.

Pulsed Dye Lasers and Active Acne

There are a handful of clinical research studies that found Pulsed Dye Lasers may be effective for treating active acne infections. There are also a few studies that found PDLs were not effective treatments for active acne. This disagreement is likely because there are several different kinds of PDLs, and the treatments being researched are not all the same for every study.

Research studies on the use of PDL systems for the treatment of active acne for acne found that optimum results required at least four treatments. In addition, PDL-based treatment of active acne usually only provides temporary relief, and acne symptoms eventually return.

Pulsed Dye Lasers can be used as part of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), which is a treatment that targets sebaceous glands and acne-causing P. acnes bacteria. Photodynamic Therapy works better with adjustable PDLs that are capable of producing a laser with a wavelength near 415 nm (ultraviolet), instead of the more common 595 nm (green/yellow). However, PDLs are rarely used for PDT because there are easier-to-use (and less expensive) light sources available for this treatment.

Pulsed Dye Lasers can also be used to directly kill acne-causing bacteria. The acne-causing Propionibacterium acnes bacterium produces a special molecule called porphyrin. When porphyrin is exposed to high intensity light at a wavelength around 420 nm (ultraviolet/blue) it generates free radical molecules which can kill the bacterium. This process is called Blue Light Phototherapy. Pulsed Dye Lasers are available that can generate high intensity light in this spectrum. However, other high-intensity sources of blue light (eg. LEDs) are substantially less expensive than PDL and are generally used for this type of acne treatment.

PDLs are also being studied as a way to selectively ablate the sebaceous gland, which then inhibits sebum production and reduces acne symptoms. While the research indicates using PDLs is a a viable approach, there are alternative lasers (eg. Diode Lasers) with longer wavelengths that are better suited for this application.

Pulsed Dye Lasers and Active Scars

The most popular dermatology application for Pulsed Dye Lasers is for the removal of birthmarks and other hyper-pigmented marks on the skin. Low-power Pulsed Dye lasers are also used to improve the appearance of wrinkles by stimulating regrowth of the tissue immediately underneath the skin.

Pulsed Dye Lasers can be used for two ablative and non-ablative treatments. Ablative treatments (ablative means to be removed or vaporized at very high temperature) utilize longer laser pulses and/or high light intensity to thermally damage or destroy the target tissue. Certain molecules, like oxyhemoglobin (found in red blood cells), preferentially absorb energy from Pulsed Dye Lasers. This feature makes Pulsed Dye Lasers a viable treatment for spider veins, erythematous acne scars and other skin discolorations caused by damaged or dilated blood vessels.

Both ablative and non-ablative PDL treatments are available for treating acne scars. Pulsed Dye Lasers are generally only used for the treatment of mild acne scars. Improvements in acne scars following PDL treatment are usually modest and superficial. The Pulsed Dye Laser platform is not well suited to correct severe acne scarring. This is because most PDL systems do not penetrate deeply enough into the skin tissue to correct significant acne scar damage.

How Do Pulsed Dye Lasers Work

Dye Lasers get their name from the fact that they use a specialized liquid dye suspension, instead of a crystal, as the source of the laser beam. Pulsed Dye Lasers (PDLs) are designed to deliver short bursts of light that last only a fraction of a second. Many Pulsed Dye Lasers can be adjusted (tuned) to create lasers of several different wavelengths (colors). For dermatology purposes, Pulsed Dye Lasers that produce laser beams at ~495 nm (green/yellow) are the most common.

Popular Pulsed dye laser (PDL) Systems

C-Beam, Cobra, Cynergy, Navigator, N-Lite, PhotoGenica, Regenlite, Vbeam.

References

Laser Treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Jih, et al. 2007.
Investigation of the Mechanism of Action of Nonablative Pulsed Dye Laser Therapy in Photorejuvenation and Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris. Seaton, et al. 2006.
Treatment of Acne Vulgaris With a Pulsed Dye Laser: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Orringer, et al. 2004.
Improvement of Facial Acne Scars by the 585 nm Flashlamp-Pumped Pulsed Dye Laser. Alster, et al. 1996.
Comparison of a 585-nm pulsed dye laser and a 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser for the treatment of acne scars: A randomized split-face clinical study. Lee, et al. 2008.

Diode Lasers

Diode Lasers are quickly becoming the preferred laser treatment for inflammatory acne. Diode Lasers are used to selectively target and damage the sebaceous glands, reducing sebaceous hyperplasia, sebum secretion and acne symptoms. Diode Lasers are also commonly used in hair removal and scar treatment applications.

The long wavelength of Diode Lasers is capable of penetrating deeply enough into the cutaneous tissue (skin) to reach the sebaceous glands. The energy from the laser beam is then absorbed by the tissue, which causes thermal damage. This damage can often cause a reduction in the size and activity of a sebaceous gland.

The use of diode lasers to treat inflammatory acne is a relatively new procedure. However, there are an increasing number of studies that indicate that diode laser treatment can be an effective treatment for inflammatory acne. Diode Lasers can be used in combination with many other Pharmaceutical and NaturopathicAcne Treatments. Diode Lasers (and other Light and Laser Acne Treatments) are also excellent options for women who are pregnant because there is no risk of exposing the fetus to medications.

Because Diode Laser treatment can target the sebaceous glands themselves, it is one of the few Light and Laser acne treatments that can offer the promise of providing long-term acne relief. Diode Laser treatment has a semi-permanent effect on the treated sebaceous glands and can lead to long-term reduction of sebum production in the treated region.

Because hyper-active sebaceous glands and the overproduction of sebum directly contribute to the development of acne symptoms, Diode Laser treatment can significantly improve symptoms for many acne patients. Several scientific research studies have reported that Diode Laser treatment can provide-long term improvement in acne symptoms for many patients.

Diode Lasers are also occasionally used for the treatment of acne scars. They have been reported to be somewhat effective as an acne scar treatment, although other modalities, such as Er:YAG and C02 lasers are more popular for this application.

Diode Lasers use semiconductors as the light source, similar to light emitting diodes (LEDs). There are several different kinds of Diode Lasers. Diode lasers are used in common technology products such as laser pointers and CD/DVD players. The most common Diode Lasers used for the treatment of acne produce a beam of laser light with a wavelength near 1450 nm.

Like other forms of laser therapy, diode laser treatment is almost exclusively provided in a dermatology clinic or hospital environment. Diode Lasers only improve acne symptoms in the areas of the skin that are treated. Therefore, Diode Lasers can be cost effective for patients with small, defined areas that are affected by acne. But the cost can be much higher for individuals with large regions of skin that require treatment.

Popular Diode Laser Systems

Acure, Lightsheer, Smoothbeam, Velas.

References

Use of Lasers and Light-Based Therapies for Treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Mariwalla, et al. 2005.
Acne Treatment With a 1,450 nm Wavelength Laser and Cryogen Spray Cooling. Paithankar, et al. 2002.
Sebaceous Hyperplasia Treated With a 1450-nm Diode Laser. No, et al. 2004.
The 1,450-nm Diode Laser Reduces Sebum Production in Facial Skin: A Possible Mode of Action of Its Effectiveness for the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Perez-Maldonado, et al. 2007. 
The 1450-nm diode laser for facial inflammatory acne vulgaris: Dose-response and 12-month follow-up study. Jih, et al. 2006.
Treatment of Inflammatory Facial Acne Vulgaris with the 1450-nm Diode Laser: A Pilot Study. Friedman, et al. 2004.
Smoothbeam Patient Reviews @ Realself

Blue Light Phototherapy

Blue Light Phototherapy is a treatment for acne that uses high intensity blue light (~415 nm) to directly kill acne-causing Propionibacterium acnes bacteria that are growing in the skin.

P. acnes bacteria produce a molecule called Coproporphyrin III that produces free radicals when exposed to high intensity blue light. Blue Light Phototherapy works by causing Coproporphyrin III to produce enough free radicals to damage and kill P. acnes bacteria. P. acnes bacteria fluoresce when exposed to high intensity blue light, which can be observed with the help of special photographic filters (see attached image).

Multiple clinical research studies have reported that Blue Light Phototherapy can temporarily reduce the number of acne-causing P. acnes bacteria that are growing within hair follicles. This reduction can significantly improve acne symptoms in many patients. However, the effect of Blue Light Photherapy is temporary, so treatment must be repeated on a regular basis.
Blue Light Phototherapy is non-invasive and generally has few side effects. Blue Light Phototherapy complements many other types of acne treatments and can be a helpful component of a comprehensive acne treatment plan.

In some cases, the skin of patients is treated with a sensitizing agent prior to Blue Light Phototherapy. This sensitizing agent (eg. ALA or MAL) causes P. acnes bacteria to increase their production of Porphyrins, thus making them more sensitive to treatment. The combination of Blue Light Phototherapy and a sensitizing agent is called Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). In addition to acne, Photodynamic Therapy is also used to treat certain types of skin cancer.

Blue Light Phototherapy is primarily available in dermatology clinics that have a focus on acne. It may also be available at some spas and wellness centers. Blue Light Phototherapy systems can also be purchased for home use. The effects of Blue Light Phototherapy are temporary and achieving the maximum therapeutic benefit requires regular treatments.

There are many home use Blue Light systems available for purchase on the internet. However, it should be noted that almost all of the acne research studies that reported positive results were using high-intensity Blue Light Phototherapy systems. Many of the small, inexpensive Blue Light products that are sold on the internet are unlikely to produce enough of blue light (in the correct spectrum) to be effective for the treatment of acne. Most home use Blue Light Phototherapy systems use LEDs as the light source.

References

Light-emitting diode 415 nm in the treatment of inflammatory acne: An open-label, multicentric, pilot investigation. Tremblay, et al. 2006.
An open study to determine the efficacy of blue light in the treatment of mild to moderate acne. Morton, et al. 2005.
Clinical Efficacy of Self-applied Blue Light Therapy for Mild-to-Moderate Facial Acne. Gold, et al. 2009.
Phototherapy with blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris. PAPAGEORGIOU, et al. 1999.
Blue and Red Light Combination LED Phototherapy for Acne Vulgaris in Patients with Skin Phototype IV. Lee, et al. 2006.
Laser and other light therapies for the treatment of acne vulgaris: systematic review. Hamilton, et al. 2008.
Blue light phototherapy in the treatment of acne. Tzung, et al. 2004.
Acne phototherapy with a high-intensity, enhanced, narrow-band, blue light source: an open study and in vitro investigation. Kawada, et al. 2002.
The effective treatment of acne vulgaris by a high-intensity, narrow band 405-420 nm light source. Elman, et al. 2003.
Eradication of Propionibacterium acnes by its endogenic porphyrins after illumination with high intensity blue light. Ashkenazi, et al. 2003.