Blue light therapy uses light of a specific wavelength to cure specific disorders on or under the skin. It is generally regarded as a painless treatment process.
When a high-intensity light source is used with blue light therapy to activate photosynthesizing (or light-sensitive) medicines, the treatment becomes known as photodynamic therapy. It is seen as an alternate kind of treatment because the light used is a natural violet or blue light.
Blue light therapy can treat only locations that the light can penetrate. Therefore, it is frequently used to treat problems below or on the skin’s surface.
Let’s explore what blue light therapy is and determine how you can benefit from it.
The History Of Blue Light Therapy
Blue light is light with a wavelength between 380 to 500 nanometers, shorter than visible light’s wavelength. Blue light is present in sunlight and electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and TVs. Blue light can be beneficial and harmful to humans, depending on the dose and duration of exposure.
The therapeutic use of blue light can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Greeks, who used sunlight to treat various medical conditions. In the 19th century, physicians began using electric arc lamps to treat skin diseases, and in the 20th century, blue light was used to treat neonatal jaundice. In the 21st century, blue light therapy has been used to treat many conditions, including acne, seasonal affective disorder, sleep disorders, and more.
The Benefits And Uses Of Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy can be good for the skin when used appropriately and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. It is an effective treatment for specific skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and it can also improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Blue light therapy stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, essential proteins that help maintain the skin’s structure and elasticity. It also helps to reduce inflammation and improve circulation, which can improve the overall health and appearance of the skin.
Blue light therapy has several potential benefits. Some of them are listed below.
Blue light therapy is a non-invasive and effective treatment for mild to moderate acne. It targets the bacteria that cause acne, specifically Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). When the blue light is applied to the skin, it penetrates and reaches the sebaceous glands where P. acnes thrive. The blue light then triggers a photochemical reaction that damages the bacteria, causing them to die off.
In addition to killing P. acnes, blue light therapy also reduces inflammation and improves the skin’s overall texture. This is because blue light stimulates the production of porphyrins, naturally occurring compounds in the skin that help fight off infection and inflammation. Porphyrins are activated by blue light, and this process leads to a decrease in the number of inflammatory cells in the skin.
Preventing Sun Damage and Skin Cancer
The most typical uses of blue light treatment are to cure sun damage and precancerous or malignant skin growths. It can treat precancerous and cancerous skin lesions that haven’t migrated to other body parts and prevent skin cancer (or metastasized).
The treatment of skin cancer using photodynamic therapy is possible. It makes the skin-applied photosynthesizing medication interact with oxygen, destroying the cancer cells. Additionally, it might activate the immune system’s defense or harm the blood arteries supplying the cancer cells.
Treating Skin Conditions
Blue light has been used to treat psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions. These conditions involve inflammation and immune system dysfunction in the skin, and blue light therapy can help to reduce inflammation and stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.
In the case of psoriasis, blue light therapy works by slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells that causes the characteristic thick, scaly plaques associated with the condition. Blue light therapy can also help to reduce inflammation and itching associated with psoriasis.
In the case of eczema, blue light therapy can help reduce inflammation and relieve itching, two of the condition’s most common symptoms. Blue light therapy can also help to improve skin barrier function, which can be impaired in people with eczema. By improving the skin barrier function, blue light therapy can help to reduce the severity and frequency of eczema flare-ups.
Blue light therapy is typically administered using a device that emits blue light, which is applied directly to the affected area of the skin. The treatment is usually painless and does not require any downtime, although some people may experience temporary redness or dryness of the skin.
Overall, blue light therapy can be a safe and effective treatment for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema and can help to reduce inflammation, improve the skin barrier function, and relieve symptoms such as itching and scaling. It is essential to discuss the potential benefits and risks of blue light therapy with a healthcare professional to determine if it is an appropriate treatment for your individual needs.
Treating Sleep Disorders
Blue light therapy can help with sleep disorders by regulating the body’s circadian rhythm, the internal biological clock that controls the sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to blue light in the morning and daytime can help reset the circadian rhythm and promote alertness and wakefulness. Reducing exposure to blue light in the evening and at night can help to promote relaxation and sleepiness.
Blue light therapy can shift the circadian rhythm to a more regular schedule in people with sleep disorders such as insomnia or delayed sleep phase disorder. This is typically achieved by exposing the person to bright blue light in the morning, which can help suppress melatonin production. This hormone regulates sleep and wakefulness. Blue light therapy can help promote wakefulness and improve daytime alertness by suppressing melatonin production in the morning.
Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Blue light has been shown to improve mood and alleviate symptoms of SAD, a type of depression triggered by changes in the seasons and light exposure. Blue light therapy can help to regulate the circadian rhythm and improve mood and energy levels in people with SAD.
Methods Of Taking Blue Light Therapy
There are several methods of administering blue light therapy, including:
- Light therapy boxes: These are boxes that emit bright light, usually from fluorescent bulbs, and are used to treat SAD and sleep disorders.
- Handheld devices: These are small devices that emit blue light and are used to treat acne and other skin conditions.
- Light beds: These are beds that emit blue light and are used to treat psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions.
- Light masks: These are masks that emit blue light and are used to treat acne and other skin conditions.
Blue light therapy is typically performed using a handheld device that emits bright blue light. Depending on the individual’s needs, treatment sessions may last for several minutes to several hours. The timing and duration of treatment will depend on the specific sleep disorder and individual factors such as age, lifestyle, and other medical conditions.
Potential Risks And Side Effects Of Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy is generally considered safe and has few side effects. However, as with any medical treatment, potential risks and side effects should be considered.
One of the most common side effects of blue light therapy is temporary redness and dryness of the skin, particularly in the area that has been treated. This is usually mild, self-limiting, and can be managed with over-the-counter moisturizers or corticosteroid creams.
Another potential side effect of blue light therapy is eye strain or discomfort, as exposure to bright light can cause eye fatigue and discomfort. It is essential to wear eye protection, such as goggles or sunglasses, during blue light therapy to prevent eye damage.
In rare cases, blue light therapy can cause skin blistering or burns, mainly if the device is not used correctly or if the treatment is too long. Follow the instructions provided by the healthcare professional or device manufacturer to ensure safe and effective treatment.
There is also some concern that prolonged or excessive exposure to blue light could potentially increase the risk of macular degeneration, which can cause permanent vision loss. However, more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of blue light exposure on the eyes.
Finally, it is essential to note that blue light therapy may not be appropriate for everyone. People with certain medical conditions, such as lupus or porphyria, may be more sensitive to light and may not be good candidates for blue light therapy. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of blue light therapy with a healthcare professional to determine if it is appropriate for your individual needs.
How frequently should blue light therapy be taken?
However, depending on the severity of the symptoms and how quickly the acne responds to treatment, some people may only require weekly visits for a few weeks. Two to four treatments per week are sufficient for some patients. Regular monthly treatment can help manage symptoms once they become better.
How long does blue light therapy take to start working?
For roughly a month, you could need treatment once a week. Then you may require maintenance procedures every month or every few months. Some household appliances could also demand a sizable time investment. You should use your device twice daily for 30 to 60 minutes for four to five weeks.
While blue light therapy is generally considered safe and effective for treating various skin conditions and sleep disorders, there are potential risks and side effects that should be considered. It is essential to follow the instructions provided by the healthcare professional or device manufacturer and to discuss any concerns with a healthcare professional before starting treatment.