Acne LED Treatments At A Glance
- Best Results2-6 sessions
- Treatment RecoveryImmediate
- Procedure Time12 minutes
- Skin SpecialistNurse, Dermal Therapist
- Duration of ResultsWeeks to Months
- Back to WorkImmediately
Acne LED Treatments
Red & blue light delivered via LED phototherapy can improve acne, breakouts and pimples. This form of acne treatment is a drug-free & natural method of suppressing acne lesions. Treatments are quick, painless & safe and can treat acne in all areas including the face, neck, chest and back.This treatment is best combined with chemical peels.
FactsFacts On LED Phototherapy For Acne
- Phototherapy uses low level lasers to target acne breakouts
- Light is a form of natural acne treatment
- Phototherapy targets acne forming bacteria
- Light can be delivered with a blue or red laser light source
How does Omnilux Blue and Red light phototherapy for acne work?
This acne treatment uses intense light in the blue or red spectrum to destroy acne forming bacteria. Depending on the depth of acne lesions, and medication history, specialists will elected to either use blue light phototherapy or red light phototherapy. Pain free low level laser light is delivered via Light Emitting Diodes to the target area for a prescribed time.
LLED can also speed up healing, reduce skin inflammation & can help remodel early & mild acne scars.
How effective is Omnilux and other phototherapy treatments for acne?
Studies have shown that acne LED treatments (phototherapy) can be effective in up to 76-90% of acne cases. Patients with papular, pustular & cystic lesions respond best. Blackheads & whiteheads can be treated with adjunctive chemical peels.
Ideal candidates for acne phototherapy treatments are patients who-
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding as phototherapy light does not require medications
- Patients who would like to avoid oral medications
- Patients who have predominantly pustule like lesions
How safe is Phototherapy?
Acne LED treatments (phototherapy) are one of the safest methods to treat acne. Low-level light treatment using either the blue wavelength or red wavelength targets acne- forming bacteria without the use of irritating creams, chemicals or nasty tablets. Treatments are painless and easy and over in less than 15 minutes.
What are the advantages of phototherapy?
The advantages of acne LED treatments are-
- Safe. Low Level Laser light is used with all our acne phototherapy systems including Healite, Omnilux, Red Light Actalite, & Blue light BBL.
- Painless. Low level light systems are painless, as no heat is generated.
- No side effects such as skin irritation or other side effects from taking antibiotic tablets or Roaccutane
- No topicals are required, unlike Kleresca. Using LLED as mono therapy will prevent skin discolouration
In fact this treatment is so safe that we recommend red and blue light phototherapy as our preferred method of adjunctive acne treatment in pregnant or breast feeding patients.
What are the disadvantages of phototherapy?
The disadvantages of phototherapy are-
- This treatment is NOT suitable for scarring acne. Scarring acne or severe acne should be treated by dermatologists using methods that have the highest CURE rate, & not temporarily suppress acne lesions. Even though scars can be revised, prevention of scarring is paramount.
- Acne phototherapy is only effective for pimples (pustules and papules) and not indicated for blackheads, or cystic severe acne.
- Blue and Red light phototherapy can provide temporary improvement in acne lesions, and not long term cure. This is because phototherapy targets the bacteria associated with acne and NOT the cause of acne itself. Ideally phototherapy should be combined with topicals including retinol, retinoids, ascorbic acid, AHAs or benzoyl peroxide.
Why are lasers far superior to LEDs in the treatment of acne?
Lasers such as AviClear have a distinct advantage over acne LED treatments- they offer a cure for acne as lasers target the cause of acne, namely the oil gland.
AviClear delivers highly precise laser light that penetrates to the deeper depths of skin. AviClear will be in Australia in 2023. My prediction is that it will make LED treatments obsolete.
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What types of phototherapy treatments do specialists use to treat acne?
Acne LED treatments (phototherapy) is a well-documented treatment for many skin disorders, including acne. This treatment uses different machines to deliver specific wavelengths of light to acne lesions with the aim of destroying acne-causing bacteria.
Essentially 2 wavelengths are optimal for acne treatment – blue and red.
Blue wavelength at 405nm can be delivered via Healite or even BBL or IPL with a blue filter.
Red light, is delivered via the Lutronic Healite system or vascular lasers.
Wavelength of light
Bacteria destroying peak
Depth of penetration into the acne lesion
Blue light phototherapy
Healite, Crystalite, BBL Blue
Higher- peak at 405nm
Shallow depth of penetration
Red light phototherapy
V Beam 595nm
Lower – peak at 630nm, best for mild scar revision
Deeper depth of penetration
Occasional we use a highly specialised technique called PDT or photodynamic therapy, this is a superior method for delivering a special chemical called ALA into the oil gland. We then activate this chemical with either blue light of red light. PDT for acne is reserved for cases of very severe acne that cannot be treated with tablets or cream.
Kleresca is a form of PDT (with the extra surcharge for marketing & branding).
How do dermatologists at Cutis treat acne with phototherapy?
Dermatologists at the Cutis Dermatology have been involved in phototherapy treatment for the past 20 years. Our Specialist training and years of experience will guide patients to the suitability of phototherapy for acne patients.
Most patients who have acne will NOT require phototherapy, as their acne can be safely and effectively managed with creams, peels, and tablets. It is important to understand that acne phototherapy does not cure acne, but can improve the condition. It is best combined with skin directed topical therapy.
How many phototherapy sessions will I need?
In general patients will require 4-5 sessions to see an improvement.
Sessions can be conducted weekly. As reinforced, this treatment is best for pimples & pustules. If you have a mix of these lesions with blackheads & white heads, we often perform a chemical peels (salicylic acid or retinoic acid) along with phototherapy in the same appointment.
Each acne LED treatment (phototherapy) takes 12-20 minutes to perform, shorter if we use the vascular V Beam Prima laser.
Is acne phototherapy painful?
No. As phototherapy is painless using the LLED such as Healite. We also employ the V Beam Prima Laser. Laser treatment is akin to a small rubber band flick.
How much are acne phototherapy treatments?
Red and Blue light phototherapy sessions are more affordable than you might think! Peels are $98, light therapy ranges from $90 to $198 depending on the extent & laser used.
NO REFERRALS ARE NEEDED TO UNDERTAKE PHOTOTHERAPY– Just book in directly with our dermal therapists or nurses.
Does LED phototherapy treat acne scarring?
In a recent study by Harvard University, this form of treatment can improve mild & early scarring. As scarring occurs in the dermal or deeper layers of the skin, red light works better than blue light in this setting. Red light can help stimulate and remodel collagen, which can account for mild improvement in early acne scars.
Red acne scars (known as macular erythema or post inflammatory erythema) respond best to a series of vascular laser treatments. A series of 3-5 sessions every 2 to 3 weeks can markedly reduce redness. Book an appointment with my clinical nurses for assessment & treatment options.
What should I consider before embarking on phototherapy for acne?
Before embarking on acne LED treatments ask the following questions-
- Is the clinic that provides phototherapy a Specialist Clinic?
- Does the clinic also provide medical treatments for acne & a back up plan if phototherapy fails? Phototherapy has a failure rate of 10-30% and can only be used on certain forms of acne.
- Acne is a medical condition. Some cases can be due to hormonal imbalance- has severe or resistant acne been investigated by a medical dermatologist?
- Have you been informed that phototherapy is a temporary treatment for acne? in most cases acne will return after a course of phototherapy, ensure that the clinic can provide you with a long term cure for acne with medically proven creams. Most creams are on the PBS and cost less than $15 a month!
How do I book in for phototherapy treatment for my acne?
Davin’s Viewpoint - Phototherapy for Acne
Phototherapy using different systems (Red & Blue Light) has been performed for the treatment of acne since 1996. Most recent papers have suggested that combination treatments using red and blue light phototherapy has a higher success rate of clearing up acne lesions compared to single wavelengths. The addition of ALA or photodynamic therapy in combination with blue (or red) light has an even higher success rate compared to dual wavelength treatments. This is basically Kleresca without the marketing dollars attached.
The basis behind phototherapy is to target the bacteria and oil glands associated with acne. Red and Blue light by itself can activate chemicals produced by acne forming bacteria, and temporarily decrease their counts. The addition of ALA (a synthetic chemical) can target the oil glands, and decrease BOTH oil gland size and acne bacteria numbers.
What does this mean for the patient who is considering phototherapy for their acne? Firstly, this treatment should be medically supervised, as it does NOT treat the cause of acne, but can temporarily improve it. In the majority of patients we recommend this as adjunctive treatment-that is in combination with safe, supervised medical treatments. Secondly, this treatment should NOT be used as a sole method of treating scarring acne, improvement is marginal, and at best temporary.
Acne phototherapy is ideal for pregnant patients, breastfeeding mums, and patients who cannot tolerate oral medications. To commence on this treatment, book with our team of nurses, dermal therapists or medical dermatologists.
Disclaimer: I do not manage acne as this is a medical condition. My colleagues at Cutis Dermatology can help you.
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