Red & Blue Light Acne Treatment

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Expert doctors. Safe procedures. Great results.

Important Facts

  • Phototherapy uses non-laser light to target acne pimples and breakouts
  • This is a form of natural acne treatment, and uses red or blue light
  • Phototherapy target acne & pimples form bacteria and destroys them without the use of chemicals or antibiotics
  • Light can be delivered with a Blue wavelength (Omnilux Blue- Red or Crystalite Blue- Red) or a medical grade Red wavelength
  • Treatments are quick, painless and start at only $55 *10 session package
  • Phototherapy is ideally used as adjunctive treatment in acne patients
  • Ideal patients for phototherapy include pregnant women, breast feed mums and patients not wishing to take medications
  • Phototherapy should be medically supervised by Specialists as 10-30% of patients do NOT respond to this form of acne treatment
  • Recent research as shown combination red and blue light phototherapy is more effective than one wavelength alone
How does Omnilux Blue and Red light phototherapy for acne work?

This form of acne treatment uses intense light in with a particular wavelength to destroy bacteria associated with acne. Depending on the depth of acne lesions, and your medication history, specialists will elected to either use blue light phototherapy or red light phototherapy. Pain free, heat free light is delivered via Light Emitting Diodes to the target area for a prescribed time.

Recent studies have shown a combination of both red and blue light produces superior results compared to one wavelength alone.

More on combination red and blue light phototherapy for acne

How effective is Omnilux and other phototherapy treatments for acne?

Studies have shown that phototherapy can be effective in up to 76 - 90% of acne cases. Note however that only certain types of acne lesions can be treated with phototherapy, and that treatments are temporarily effective. Phototherapy decreases the counts of acne forming bacteria and does not treat the underlying cause of acne itself.

Ideal candidates for acne phototherapy treatments are patients who -

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding and can not take creams or medications
  • Patients who require a relatively quick temporary fix for their pimples

Goto www.pubmed.com and search ‘acne phototherapy’ for the latest in unbiased medical literature.

How safe is Omnilux Blue and Red LED Phototherapy?

Phototherapy is one of the safest methods of acne treatment. 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. Starting at only $55 per session, phototherapy is also one of the cheapest methods to treat acne!

The advantages of phototherapy are -

  • Safe. Non-laser light is used with all our acne phototherapy systems including Omnilux, Red Light Actalite, Blue light SCITION, and Crystalite Systems. Unlike laser, phototherapy does not emit heat.
  • 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
  • Temporary effective in up to 85% of acne cases. Red and Blue light in combination can be effective in the majority of papular-pustular
  • acne. Recent studies have shown that this method is superior to treatment with one wavelength alone (eg. Omnilux Blue Acne Phototherapy)

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.

The disadvantages of phototherapy are -

  • This treatment is NOT suitable for scarring acne. Scarring acne or severe acne should be treated by Specialists using methods that have the highest CURE rate, and not temporarily suppress acne lesions. Even though scars can be removed by laser treatment, 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 only provide temporary improvement in acne lesions, and not long term cure. This is because phototherapy only targets the bacteria associated with acne and NOT the cause of acne itself. If phototherapy is used by Specialists we often combine other medical treatments aimed at curing acne.
What types of phototherapy treatments do specialists use to treat acne?

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 3 sources, Omnilux Blue, Crystalite Blue, or BBL with the blue wavelength filter. BBL delivers the most powerful dose of light in the shortest possible time, whilst Crystalite Blue LED takes the longest.

Red light

At 630 nm is delivered via a Crystalite Red phototherapy unit, or our preferred device -the Aktalite phototherapy unit.

The jury is out as to which wavelength is better as both wavelengths have advantages and disadvantages. The latest papers from the US suggest that dual wavelength treatment is optimal for destroying acne-causing bacteria.

Occasional we use a highly specialised technique called PDT or photodynamic therapy, this is a far 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.

How do Specialists at Brisbane’s leading clinic treat acne with phototherapy?

Dermatologists at the Acne Specialist Clinics have been involved in phototherapy treatment for the past 15 years. We perform approximately 200 phototherapy sessions per week for skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne. 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.

Phototherapy for acne can be useful in the following cases:

  • Pregnant or breast feeding patients
  • Patients who require a temporary improvement in their acne
  • Patients who do not want to take tablets such as antibiotics or Roaccutane
  • Patients who wish to undertake the ClearSkin program if they have very early and mild acne scarring
  • Patients finishing off the Synergy Program for acne scarring

Acne phototherapy treatments are cost effective and start at $45 per session! ($450 for 10 session package)

How many acne blue- red light phototherapy sessions will I need?

In general patients will require at least 4-5 sessions to see an improvement. Sessions can be conducted twice a week. Ideally 8-10 phototherapy treatments are performed.

Each acne phototherapy session takes 15-20 minutes to perform, and treatments can be conducted ever one to two weeks.

As Specialists we only recommend this treatment as adjunctive- that is we combine medically proven methods with phototherapy to achieve long-term results, not just short-term improvement.

Red light phototherapy can also be used to treat mild and early acne scars.

More on Phototherapy with OMNILUX Red for acne scars

Is acne phototherapy painful?

No! As phototherapy is not laser, no heat is generated, treatments are entirely pain free. We only require eye protection to be worn during the treatment session.

How much are acne phototherapy treatments?

Red and Blue light phototherapy sessions are more affordable than you might think!

Sessions start at only $55 (10 package phototherapy sessions).

  • Medical phototherapy package: $550 for 10 sessions
  • Pay as you go phototherapy: $65 per session
  • Clear Skin Program - 8 treatments consisting of 4 Specialist Grade AHA chemical peels and 4 Phototherapy sessions: $590 (If phototherapy is considered we recommend patients to undertake this program as it is the most effective)

Note if you suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, phototherapy sessions are bulk billed, as these are covered under Medicare. Omnilux phototherapy for acne is NOT covered under Medicare.

No referrals are needed to undertyake phototherapy - Just book in directly with our Laser Specialist nurses, Kristy or Emily. Book into our Acne Solutions Clinic for advise, and treatment of acne.

Does Omnilux treat acne scarring?

Omnilux phototherapy is a form of low level laser treatment. In a recent study by Harvard University, this form of treatment can improve mild and 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.

We combine the use of Red Light and Chemical peels as part of our ClearSkin Program

What should I consider before embarking on phototherapy for acne?

Phototherapy should not be used on all cases of acne, and if utilized, it should be medically supervised under a Specialist Center.

Before embarking on acne light treatments ask the following questions-

  • Is the clinic that provides phototherapy a Specialist Clinic?
  • Does the clinic also provide medical treatments for acne and a back up plan if phototherapy fails? Phototherapy has a failure rate of 10-30% and can only be used on papular-pustular acne and not cystic acne.
  • Acne is a medical condition, and in some cases can be due to hormonal imbalance- has severe or resistant acne been investigated by a medical professional?
  • 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?

A referral is not needed to undertake phototherapy sessions or to enter the Clear Skin Program. Book into our Acne Solutions Clinic with our Specialist Laser Nurses, Kristy or Emily. In most cases, treatment can be commenced on the day. We open Saturday mornings, however bookings are limited.

More on the Acne Solutions Clinic

Specialist Perspective on phototherapy for acne and acne scars

Dr Davin S. Lim
Specialist Laser Dermatologist
Westside Laser Dermatology

Phototherapy using different systems (Omnilux, Crystalite, Blue Light IPL, Redlight Aktalite) 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.

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.

In our clinics, we use acne phototherapy for pregnant patients, breastfeeding mums, and patients who cannot tolerate creams or medications. Acne phototherapy does play a limited role in the management of acne, however its true use is temporary and adjunctive.