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Acne: What to Do About You? Part 4: LIGHTS

Acne: What to Do About You? Part 4: LIGHTS

Part 4: LIGHTS

Could somebody please get the lights?

For more information about facials and acne click here: Part 3: FACIALS.

Light based therapies for acne have been developed over the last ten to fifteen years.  The most common modalities used to treat active acne include pulsed-dye lasers (PDL), intense pulsed light (IPL), and light-emitting diodes (LED).  The science behind these types of lights is very different but they all work to inhibit or kill the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (abbreviated P.acnes) and reduce inflammation in the skin.

The website titled “The Science of Acne” has a great review of all light and laser based therapies for acne and acne scarring (and much more):


The physics of light is fascinating.  Light travels as both a particle and a wave.  The particle, called a photon, is able to effect change in the skin; the wavelength determines light’s depth of penetration in the skin and what it effects.  For example, photons with wavelengths between 290-315nm (nanometers or one-billionth of a meter), known as ultraviolet B or just UVB, penetrate into the epidermis of the skin energizing the transformation of provitamin D3 (7-Dehydrocholesterol, yes, we need cholesterol) to Vitamin D3.

Now back to killing bacteria.  Light photons in the blue range of the spectrum with wavelengths between 405-420nm penetrate only the epidermis.  In the epidermis, they stimulate porphyrins (bacterial by-products in the pores), the porphyrins then produce singlet oxygen and the singlet oxygen kills the bacteria.

With the bacteria on the run, next the lights go to work against the inflammation in the skin.  Red light, with a wavelength between 630-640nm, works in at least two ways.  First, it improves the function of sebaceous glands and keratinocytes by increasing energy production inside the cells and influencing programmed cell death, proliferation and migration.  Second, red light, since it penetrates deeper into or through the dermis, improves blood circulation to the area bringing in more immune system cells like macrophages.

At De Luz Medical Aesthetics, we have LightWave LED treatments available for acne (and many other conditions like anti-aging and uneven skin pigment).  We feel the LED technology has many distinct benefits over the other forms of light-based therapies.  LED therapy offers effective treatments which are painless, with practically no side effects or downtime, and are relatively inexpensive.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Robert Zieber, MD

De Luz Medical Aesthetics

Next: Acne: What to Do About You?  Part 5: Oral Medications

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