Light Therapy for Acne
Acne is a condition that affects the majority of people, particularly during their teenage years. Acne comes in a variety of skin lesions and can be embarrassing, particularly if it causes permanent scarring. There are many factors that can cause acne, including bacterial infection. In some cases, killing off the bacteria with light therapy can treat the acne.
Acne is caused by the clogging of portions of the skin called follicles. These follicles secrete an oily substance called sebum. These follicles can become clogged with dead skin cells, small hairs and bacteria. This causes sebum to accumulate, causing local inflammation. In some cases these skin lesions can become aggravated, either by bacteria or by the body's reaction to the plugged follicle, causing more severe acne.
Role of Bacteria
Bacteria can play a key role in the development of acne. One species of bacteria in particular, called P. acnes, is implicated in acne. P. acnes normally lives on the skin of people where it does not cause any infections or other health problems. However, when a skin follicle becomes clogged, the bacteria can multiply and divide rapidly in the sebum-filled environment. This can cause additional clogging of the follicle as well as activate the immune system, causing inflammation and redness.
Light therapy is one way of treating acne. Light therapy (also known as phototherapy) uses high intensity light beams at specific wavelengths to kill off the P. acnes bacteria. Although light therapy only affects acne that is caused by bacteria, it is used because it does not require daily application of any creams or medications and can be used to treat any portion of the body.
LED Light Therapy
LED light therapy is one form of phototherapy for acne. LED therapy uses light emitting diodes to deliver blue light (with a wavelength of 415 nanometers) to the skin. This blue light reacts with the skin to create a molecule called singlet oxygen, which then attacks and kills the bacteria. Killing the bacteria can relieve many cases of acne.
LED phototherapy for acne requires multiple treatments to be completely effective. Although the length of each treatment as well as the number of treatments varies depending on the machine and each patient, a standard treatment session lasts for 20 minutes. These treatment sessions, as a general rule, need to be done twice a week for four weeks.