Acne is commonly associated with the teen years, but breakouts can occur at any age. Acne during your adult years can be even more frustrating, because fewer of your friends and colleagues are suffering with you.
Keep reading to learn more about blue light skin treatment for acne, including how it works to fight breakouts and what kinds of at-home machines are available.
What is blue light therapy?
Blue light therapy is a groundbreaking technology that heals acne from the inside out by killing the bacteria that causes acne to form.
The devices reviewed below target propionibacterium acne (P. acne) – the bacterium responsible for up to 90% of acne cases. P. acne lives deep within the hair follicles, where it blocks the release of oil. This blockage causes blackheads and blemishes to form.
Blue light therapy is able to penetrate the skin to kill P. acne at the source.
Advantages of blue light therapy: it’s natural, painless, non-invasive, and (in most cases) won’t cause irritation. Treatment is simple and has shown to be very effective in treating hormonal acne. There is no down time after treatment
Disadvantages of blue light therapy: devices can be expensive, but are less expensive than professional treatments.
Blue light therapy doesn’t work for everyone, and is less effective when used to treat severe cases (including cystic acne).
Blue light therapy utilizes high-intensity light, so you shouldn’t treat areas near the eyes and you should always wear protective eyewear (most kits include protective goggles).
Blue light acne treatment side effects include light sensitivity, skin sensitivity, nausea, and headaches. These side effects are minimal compared to what you may experience from antibiotics or topical acne treatments.
Blue light therapy is only effective when used in cases where the acne is caused by bacteria. If your acne is caused by something else, blue light therapy will not work.
Pregnant woman and individuals younger than 13 should not use blue light therapy.
Reviews: At home blue and red light therapy devices for acne
All devices reviewed below are FDA-cleared
reVive Light Therapy Essentials Acne Treatment System
$46.55 on Amazon
Advertised as using “NASA technology” to fight acne, the reVive systems uses blue light to penetrate the skin and kill acne-causing bacteria.
This product is marketed as an affordable version of more expensive, more powerful models like the two described below.
Some users noticed results after just a few days of treatment.
reVive features three power source options: 3AA batteries, USB, and 110 volts.
Additional features include:
- Medical-grade technology
- 24 LED lights
- 6-month warranty
- Instruction manual
- Includes protective eyewear
Amazon customers gave reVive 3 out of 5 stars.
Silk’n Blue Acne Solution Device
$138 on Amazon
Silk’n is a popular brand in skincare, offering many at-home devices for acne, anti-aging, and hair removal.
The Silk’n Blue anti-acne tool launches a double attack on acne: it uses a 415nm fractional blue light to kill bacteria and uses dermal heating to dehydrate oil glands.
Silk’n Blue is a safe and effective way to treat acne and to stop excess oil production. This device features a built-in temperature sensor to protect your skin.
This product is designed for people with recurring or occasional acne who want an alternative to messy or irritating topical treatments. It has been effective in clearing blemishes and inflammation and reducing future breakouts.
Expect to see results 6-8 weeks after completing the treatment course. Silk’n claims users do not need to wear protective goggles during treatment, but I would recommend doing so ayway.
Suggested treatment is 3-4 minutes per day during breakouts and 3-4 minutes once per week at other times.
Silk’n Blue is cordless and runs on a lithium ion battery.
Amazon customers gave Silk’n 3.4 out of 5 stars.
Trophy Skin BlueMD Acne Light Therapy Device
$249 on Amazon
TrophySkin is a trusted skincare brand that offers several alternatives to expensive in-office treatments including microdermabrasion and anti-aging red light therapy.
The TrophySkin BlueMD is an evolution of the brand’s very first product: the BlueMD Acne Light.
The BlueMD product pictured at left is a natural, painless acne treatment that is safe for all skin types. Using blue LED light, it effectively fights acne from the inside out for smoother, clearer skin.
This device targets P. Acne, which as described above is a leading cause of blackheads and blemishes.
Unlike the other two models reviewed above, the BlueMD lamp also emits red light, which promotes healing and reduces inflammation. You can do your treatments hands-free, sitting or lying down.
- Clears existing acne
- Prevents future acne
- Minimizes appearance of pores
- Decreases congestion and blackheads
- Balances your skin’s natural oil production
- Relieves inflammation caused by acne
Suggested treatment is 5 minutes, 3x per week (for severe cases, treat skin 2x per day).
BlueMD does not use harmful UV rays, but make sure to wear the goggles provided when you’re using it.
This model is on the expensive side, but it will save you hundreds compared to professional blue light treatments.
Of the three machines reviewed here, BlueMD is the best acne light therapy device overall.
Amazon customers gave BlueMD 3 out of 5 stars.
Note: The key with all of these devices is consistent use. Don’t expect to see results overnight.
Blue Light & Cystic Acne
Cystic acne can be difficult to treat because the bacteria involved multiply very fast.
At home devices like the ones described above have not been overly successful in treating cystic acne. Individuals with cystic acne are advised to visit a dermatologist before starting any sort of treatment.
A professional blue light treatment course for cystic acne typically involves 1-2 treatments per week for up to 8 weeks. The cost of a single treatment ranges from $40 to $200.
Side effects may include temporary dry and/or red skin. Using blue light to treat cystic acne is a relatively new idea, so it is possible there may be other side effects.