By Van Le | After trying countless of potions and lotions to no avail, some acne sufferers are turning to technology and hoping that blue light therapy, a new scientific advancement, will pave the way for acne-free skin. Considered a form of laser treatment, the procedure involves emitting a blue light source (with visible spectrum of 406 to 426 nm) to the affected areas. The high-intensity light kills the bacteria that can cause acne breakouts. Blue light therapy is approved by the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration as a legal and safe procedure for the treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris. As a result, it is a widely advertised and highly popular form of treatment among acne sufferers.
Unlike creams and ointments that treat acne on a topical level, blue light therapy targets bacteria underneath the skin, eliminating the problem from the root. It works by adding oxygen to skin cells, which leads to a chemical reaction inside acne bacteria, causing the bacteria to self-destruct. With fewer bacteria, the number of buildups and acne lesions begin to decrease. The treatment stems from the belief that sunlight reduces acne, but also emits dangerous UV rays that can lead to premature aging and cancer. Since blue light does not contain any UV rays, it provides all the benefits without any of the damage. Most patients report little to no negative side effects, and the treatment can be used on several parts of the body including the face, back and chest. In conjunction with blue light, some dermatologists recommend undergoing red light therapy since it helps nourish damaged tissues and speed up the production of acne-free skin.
Like other laser treatments, blue light therapy is most effective when administered in multiple sessions. Although the length and time of treatment varies, most patients undergo treatment sessions that typically last for 20 minutes and normally done twice a week for at least four weeks. The cost for blue light therapy can range from $50 to $150 for a single treatment, and up to $3000 for a full treatment package. Due to its cosmetic nature, it is not covered by most insurance plans.
Van Le is a staff writer for the CSU Daily Titan and writing intern for Vivoderm Laboratories in Los Angeles, California. She is currently pursuing a Journalism degree at California State University, Fullerton.
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