Blue Light Therapy for Skin Treatment

Blue Light Therapy for Skin Treatment

Daylight, white light, reflects every color of the electromagnetic spectrum. When every color is absorbed, you’ll see only black. You won’t see shades of yellow, red, blue, or green, unless that color is reflected from a surface.1 Not only does the electromagnetic spectrum have a considerable impact on the way we perceive our surroundings, it can also have a profound effect on our bodies.

Take blue light for example. You’ll find numerous studies suggesting the blue light emitted from computer screens, cell phones, and tablets can interfere with circadian rhythms and melatonin production. The impact can keep you from getting the rest you deserve. Some reports also show potential for metabolism disruptions, retinal damage, and premature skin aging. But those reports tell only part of the story.2,3

On its own, blue light appears to have many positive attributes. You’ll find reports suggesting blue light therapy can improve alertness, combat seasonal depression, and boost cognitive function. There’s also an intriguing amount of evidence suggesting blue light treatments could be good for your skin.

What is Blue Light Therapy?

Blue light therapy is a non-invasive, FDA-approved treatment with numerous health and wellness applications. It’s often used in hospitals to treat newborn jaundice, in clinics for seasonal depression, and by dermatologists to treat certain skin conditions.4 Consumer-grade blue light devices are also sold for home-use. Most people using blue light at home are trying to improve their complexion.

Blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) deliver a specific wavelength of light that triggers a reaction on or just under in the skin. The lights do not get hot, so there’s no risk of injury. Because only LED lights are used, there’s also no risk of UV exposure. Depending on the reason for use, treatment sessions can range from 15-90 minutes.

How Could Blue Light Benefit My Skin?

Blue light therapy can only impact skin as far as the light can penetrate. As the shortest wavelength in the spectrum (446-477nm), its impact is limited to the uppermost layers of your skin. At best, the light penetrates about 1mm below the surface.

As blue light makes contact with your skin, it activates specialized proteins that contain light-sensitive molecules. The response initiated can be helpful with inflammatory skin conditions. To determine how your skin might benefit, consider some of the many ways blue light therapy is helping others.

Clearing Acne-Prone Skin

The photodynamic energy of blue light is shown to break down the membrane that protects acne-causing bacteria. Breaking down this barrier shuts down their metabolism. The light is also shown to diminish oil production and reduce inflammation. In a report published in 2011, investigators noted that skin appearance improved in as little as two weeks. In a study of 33 people with mild to moderate acne, 82% were satisfied with their results.5,6

Helps Treat Sun Damage

UV exposure can cause a skin condition called actinic keratosis (AK). This pre-cancerous disorder causes uneven skin texture, roughness, and hyperpigmentation. Dermatologists often use photodynamic therapy (PDT) to treat the disorder. During photodynamic therapy, a blue light activates a medication (aminolevulinic acid) that targets specific cells with oxygen molecules. Within a week or two after treatment, sun-damaged skin will crust over and peel away.7 Since PDT can cause sun sensitivity, frequent application of sunscreen is essential.

Activates Cancer Treatments

Photodynamic therapy is often used by oncologists, dermatologists, and cosmetic surgeons to treat some types of skin cancer.  Like therapies for AK, a medication is applied to the cancerous tissue. After the medication is absorbed, blue light is used to set off a chain reaction that destroys abnormal cells. Some physicians have found their way around the limited penetrability by using fiber optic cables for photodynamic therapy on stomach, bladder, and lung cancer.8

What Are the Risks? Can Blue Light Cause Side Effects?

When used in combination with medications (photodynamic therapy) blue light treatments can cause side effects, including mild irritation and sun sensitivity. But those side effects are generally caused by the medication used during treatment and the resulting destruction of abnormal skin cells. When used on its own for blemishes and break outs, there’s little (if any) risk of skin damage.

However, nothing is entirely risk-free. There have been reports of blue light therapy causing headache, dizziness, jitteriness, and eye irritation. The greatest risks are damage to the retina and the activation of reproductive hormones. Whether you prefer professional blue light treatments or a device designed for home use, it’s important to wear light-blocking goggles to protect your eyes.

Blue light therapy is not advisable for anyone who is pregnant, living with an autoimmune disorder, or taking a medication that causes photosensitivity. If you have questions or concerns about blue light treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.9

The Appeal of Treating Blemish-Prone Skin Naturally

Blemishes and breakouts can be difficult to manage. Over-the-counter acne treatments are often more harmful than helpful. Far too many are made with harsh chemicals that can cause dryness, flaking, and irritation. When skin gets dry and irritable, oil production increases. As excess oil traps surface flakes, you’ll break out again.  Finding a natural, non-irritating solution for blemish-prone skin can be a game-changer. That likely explains why so many people are drawn to blue light treatments.

But blue light therapy isn’t for everyone. If you’re less than pleased with the results of your current skincare routine, consider how your skin might benefit from botanical skincare products featuring the soothing, balancing potential of hemp-derived CBD.

As the CBD in BOTA™ plant-powered skincare products penetrates your skin, it interacts with important receptors found on nearly every type of skin cell. Based on what the research shows so far, that interaction has the potential to help balance oil production, regulate skin cell turnover, and calm inflammation.10

To learn more, visit BOTA™ to read our Complete Guide to Natural Skincare. Then browse our selection of plant-powered toners serums and moisturizers. All BOTA™ CBD skincare products are cruelty-free, third-party tested, and formulated for all skin types.

 

Sources:

  1. 8th Grade Science. (2021) How We See In Color.
  2. Sleep Foundation. R Newsom. (2021 June 24) How Blue Light Affects Sleep.
  3. SelfHacked. C Tello. (2019 December 14) Artificial Blue Light: Negative/Positive Effects.
  4. Chad Hayes MD. (2016) Yellow Babies, Blue Lights: An Intro to Jaundice.
  5. Medical News Today. J Leonard. (2021 August 22) The Benefits and Side Effect of Blue Light Treatment for Acne.
  6. Randomized Control Trial. M Gold et al. Clinical Efficacy of Home-Use Blue Light Therapy for Mild to Moderate Acne.
  7. Easton Ddermatology Association. (2021) How Blue Light Therapy Treats Sun-Damaged Skin.
  8. Cleveland Clinic. (2021 May 06) Blue Light Therapy for Skin. What Can It Do?
  9. DermaNetwork. (2021) Potential Risks and Side Effects of Blue Light Therapy.
  10. Molecules. K Toth et al. (2019 March 24) Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin: Therapeutic Potential of the “C(ut)annabinoid” System.

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