What You Should Know About LED Therapy for Acne and Wrinkles

What You Should Know About LED Therapy for Acne and Wrinkles


The search for solutions to skin related problems is almost never ending. This includes miracle creams, wonder scrubs, and a whole lot of different options. You might have even heard of a high-tech treatment for acne and wrinkles called LED (light-emitting diode) therapy. However, despite the hype, this treatment is not the first or best option for addressing skin disorders like acne and wrinkles.
LED for skin treatment should be considered as a complement for a well-formulated skin-care routine. Similar to any other skin treatment, there are pros and cons that should be considered before deciding whether LED for wrinkles or acne treatment is the best option for you. Let’s see the pros and cons of using LED for acne and wrinkles.
Blue Light Therapy for Acne
How it Works:
Here, specific wavelengths of blue light target the bacteria that play a pivotal role in causing acne. The light causes the development of oxygen radicals which kill the P. acnes bacteria, without causing damage to the surrounding healthy skin.
Why you should consider it:

  • Proven effective in destroying high levels of acne-causing bacteria
  • Best for mild and moderate inflammatory acne
  • Reduced possibility of side effects like dryness or peeling that may occur with products containing benzoyl peroxide
  • Worthwhile option for people with sensitive skin who are unable to tolerate topical disinfectants
  • A pain-free procedure with no downtime

Why you should not consider it:

  • Needs several treatment sessions, as many as 4 per week
  • Not effective against cystic acne, whiteheads or blackheads
  • Quite expensive (averaging $40 per session) as compared to results that can be achieved at home using products medicated with 5% benzoyl peroxide
  • Long-term results are not known

Red Light Therapy for Wrinkles
How it Works:

Here, wavelengths of red light may help improve the skin’s barrier function by improving the ability to retain the key elements it requires to heal. It is also believed that red light LEDs stimulate healthy collagen production and target the oil glands in the skin to lower cytokines, a class of pro-inflammatory substance that’s believed to play a role in chronic acne.
Why you should consider it:

  • Can help reduce signs of aging and possibly a better choice for people struggling with wrinkles and acne
  • Minimal risk of side effects, particularly when used without light-activating chemicals
  • No downtime required

Why you should not consider it:

  • Needs multiple treatment sessions
  • Not researched as well as Blue Light Therapy
  • Long-term results are unknown
  • Does not affect acne causing bacteria
  • Per treatment, the cost can vary from $50 to $200 or more, depending upon the device and treatment protocol the dermatologist prefers

At-Home Devices

In case you’re considering an at-home LED device for anti-aging or clearing acne, it’s recommended to reconsider it. Due to concerns over lawsuits, manufacturers of such devices are forced to limit the intensity, often to a far lower strength than the LED devices used by a dermatologist.
Furthermore, LED devices require protective eye wear because the wavelengths emitted through them can damage unprotected eyes. Without protective eye wear at home, there’s a risk of damaging one’s eyesight due to the high intensity output from the device. Also, at-home lasers are “FDA approved” for what is considered as a “class 2 medical device”, meaning the FDA has approved the laser for safety and not effectiveness.
The Bottom Line
With regards to treating acne, in-office dermatologist administered LED for skin treatment is worth considering if other topical medications fail to work. Keep in mind, skin-care products with benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, salicylic acid and other medical options are your first line of defense. Taking into account the expense, it is worth saving up for treatments which have actually shown to provide better anti-aging results. This includes laser treatment with Fraxel or Ulthera, or light-emitting treatments like IPL (Intense Pulsed Light).

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