Omnilux Light Therapy to Treat Acne

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There are 4 main types of acne;

  • Acne vulgaris (that may become severe and termed Acne conglobate)
  • cystic acne (Nodulocystic acne)
  • Acne fulminans
  • Gram negative folliculitis (caused by bacteria of the Pseudomonas type)

Acne vulgaris is a result of blockage of oil (sebum) producing glands within your skin and acne vulgaris is also associated with a specific type of bacterium living on your skin called Propionibacterium acnes. This bacterial infection leads to skin inflammation along with reddening and blockage of the oil glands which results with spots/pustules on the skin. Red light (633 nm) has been clinically shown to improve acne vulgaris by decreasing inflammation. Blue light (415 nm) has been reported to decrease inflammation by reducing the inflammatory proteins produce by keratinocytes (cells producing Keratin, located within the outer layer of the skin ) during acne. Blue light treatment alone was reported as highly satisfactory for treating acne in 50% of patients tested. Blue (415 nm) and red (633 nm) light also kill Propionibacterium acnes. However blue light was found most effective at killing bacteria and the greater the frequency/ number of treatments the greater the effect of killing the bacteria. The combination of red and blue LED light therapy has also been shown to improve non-inflamed areas of acne by just over 32%, whilst improving inflamed areas by just fewer than 78% during a clinical trial in 2007.

The home treatment with a hand held blue LED device was also reported to be successful at reducing the size of blemishes, redness and the overall appearance of skin covered by acne vulgaris. Overall appearance of skin improved after 2 treatments and the regime consisted of 2 treatments a day until acne fully cleared. Furthermore the acne cleared more quickly when using blue light therapy. Home treatment using alternative red and blue light LED therapy was also investigated in 2008 and found a 69% reduction in skin lesions following a 4 week course of twice weekly treatments. This effect was seen as a continual improvement up to 8 weeks post treatment. Within the setting of cosmetic clinics alternating red and blue LED therapy may also be used in combination with microdermabrasion because the combination of the two treatments has been shown to reduce acne lesions (particularly those of severe acne) by 81% at the 12 week post procedure consultation.

Moreover, a mixture of red (660 nm) and blue light (415 nm) LED therapy over 12 weeks has been shown to improve acne vulgaris by as much as 76% during a clinical trial in 2000. A further trail during 2009 using infra-red light therapy (830nm) and blue light therapy (415nm) for 20 minutes per session with two sessions per week for 4 weeks found not all patients responded to the treatment. However, 65% of the patients showed a 48.8% reduction in inflammation. Therefore both red and blue light treatments together are recommended to be alternated during the treatment of acne by light therapy. Nodular/cystic acne may not benefit from LED light therapy treatment and you should see your doctor who can recommend the most effective treatments.

Infra-red light has also found to be protective prior to photodynamic therapy (PDT) for acne vulgaris. Inflammation and severity of acne was greatly decreased in skin receiving pre-treatment with infra-red LED light therapy prior to the phototherapy.

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