You often hear warnings about blue light overexposure from computer screens and cell phones. While it can be a disruptor, studies have shown there are benefits to blue light when used properly.
Blue light therapy uses light to treat various ailments. It’s a form of phototherapy, and some blue light therapy treatments even have FDA approval! This non-invasive option is considered pain-free and is often used as part of a broader treatment plan called photodynamic therapy for those suffering from certain conditions.
Blue light therapy falls under complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Though it may not be considered conventional medicine, CAM is growing in popularity. The global blue light therapy market is expected to reach $351 million by 2028, indicating just how popular it’s becoming.
So how does it work? It’s pretty simple. Doctors expose specific areas of the body to natural violet or blue light.
Studies are still ongoing regarding treatment results, but three common ailments have people turning to blue light therapy: acne, depression, and general skincare benefits.
Benefits of Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy is proven to be effective for certain conditions when it’s used the right way. For an ailment like actinic keratosis, which is precancerous sun spots that need to be removed, blue light therapy has helped treat the condition within four sessions plus annual maintenance treatment.
Blue Light Therapy for Acne
Acne is not only unsightly, but it can also be dangerous, depending on the diagnosis. In the U.S. alone, 50 million people experience acne, and many of those patients have tried everything to improve their skin with no luck: which is when they turn to blue light therapy.
The FDA has approved specific blue light techniques to treat acne vulgaris, the technical name for common acne. In one study, researchers reported participants’ lesions had reduced by 64%. Experts believe the bacteria which causes acne is killed under blue light, and it may also have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne.
Blue Light Therapy for Depression
As one of the most common mental conditions, it is estimated that approximately 5% of adults worldwide suffer from depression. Some patients may be resistant to treatment or, in some cases, prefer to treat their depression holistically. Blue light therapy is quickly becoming a go-to alternative option to medication.
There is research supporting this alternative treatment for clinical depression. However, blue light therapy for depression is less straightforward than blue light therapy for acne. The idea is blue light therapy suppresses melatonin secretion, alters our circadian rhythm, and influences our brain’s serotonin levels. It has also been shown to be beneficial for patients with seasonal depression.
Blue Light Therapy Side Effects
Though this is a simple procedure, it does have side effects—especially when applied without a doctor’s supervision. Thankfully, most side effects are short-term issues. Your skin might be swollen, red, or mildly bruised immediately following blue light therapy treatment; this can be exasperated if medication is applied to the skin during the procedure. The treated area might peel or crust over. This is a normal reaction and should resolve within 14 days, though typically much sooner.
If you’re utilizing blue light therapy as part of a more comprehensive photodynamic treatment plan, your skin will be sensitive to light if you take light-sensitive drugs. It’s best to avoid bright, direct light during this time. There are typically no long-term side effects associated with blue light therapy if it’s appropriately administered to the patient, and it usually doesn’t even cause scarring.
Consult A Doctor
Interested in trying blue light therapy? Heally’s network of online and in-person holistic providers can help you start blue light therapy for conditions like depression and anxiety. Our specialist can help you weigh the pros and cons of blue light therapy as a treatment option and help you get started.