Let’s face it, constant mask-wearing has ramped up breakouts and sent a lot of us back to our middle school years. While we may have our skin care working overtime as a first line of defense, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of some good at-home light therapy. Here, top doctors explain which light works best and how often we should be going under the LEDs.
“Acne is caused in part by a bacterium that lives in all of our pores called Propionibacterium acnes, or P.acnes, which can overgrow inside pores that are already filled with oil, dirt and trapped dead skin cells,” explains Birmingham, AL dermatologist Corey Hartman, MD. “Although it is impossible to get rid of all of the P. acnes, one way to reduce them and clear up acne is with light therapy.”
Which Colors Do What
Davie, FL dermatologist Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD agrees that in conjunction with good skin-care treatments, light therapies using LEDs are a helpful way to treat acne “Blue light targets bacteria inflammation while red light diminishes blemishes and scars from acne breakouts.”
“To really boost the effect of the light, sometimes it’s used in combination with a medicine called aminolevulinic acid (ALA),” adds Dr. Hartman. “This sensitizes the skin and makes the light therapy more potent and effective.”
How Long and How Often
Dr. Blyumin-Karasik says a good time to incorporate light therapy is in the evening after cleansing the face and before applying nightly skin care products. “I recommend consistent use of these lights 2-3 times per week for about 30 min for 8 weeks. This will generally generate tangible results.”
While at-home measures can help, the best and most effective light treatments are the ones that are performed in the dermatologist’s office, notes Dr. Hartman.” Remember that just because a device is cleared by the FDA for safety, doesn’t mean that it will be effective. At-home devices can be helpful adjuncts to a consistent acne regimen.”