So Whats The Verdict On Blue Light
When dermatologists and oncologists use blue light, they use narrow-band blue light and they do so on targeted areas for a very short amount of time. And, many of these therapies also use photosensitizing agents to stimulate the destruction of bacteria and malignant cells. In these scenarios, blue light may be beneficial.
Does Blue Light Therapy Cause Nausea
Some mild cases of nausea have been reported by patients that are using blue light therapy for the treatment of depression. These effects are generally classified as fairly mild and disappear within a few days.
If a patient being treated for nausea is suffering from side effects then your doctor may recommend using a combination treatment by combining light therapy with medication or cognitive behaviour therapy interventions.
It’s Just Blue Light Can’t I Treat Myself
One of the barriers to using blue light therapy is that it can be quite expensive. Treatments must be administered over an extended period of time and each session could cost around $50 depending on the pricing structure used by your practitioner.
However the technology behind blue light therapy is relatively simple and there are a number of Do It Yourself solutions that could allow you to set up your own in-home treatment for a fraction of the cost of a clinical treatment program.
There are a number of home-use blue light therapy units on the market. They are not the same strength as clinical machines because they dont contain the same number of diode bulbs per square inch as clinical machines.
This means that home units are less effective than clinical units because they are delivering less LED energy and so you will need longer exposure in order to get the same effects that you would get from treatment in a clinical setting.
There is also a further complication with using home units because you may not have the level of control that clinical machines can deliver. For example, if your light is shining at the wrong wavelength then you may not be getting the treatment benefits that you are hoping for.
So before purchasing a home unit, you should ask your dermatologist to recommend one that would be best suited for achieving the results that you are looking for.
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What Light Therapy Does For You
Light has a biological effect on the human body. The sun, which is full-spectrum light, makes us feel happy, regulates our sleep-wake cycle, and synthesizes Vitamin D. Sunlight also has lesser-known effects, such as suppression of local autoimmune responses, which is why ultraviolet light is sometimes used to treat chronic skin conditions.
Today, it is widely known that UV light is both beneficial and dangerous. This has led to research into how specific wavelengths of visible and invisible light affect the body.
The most common wavelengths used in skincare are blue, red, and near-infrared . Red light therapy is a term that encompasses both red and NIR light.
Red and blue light therapy using LED devices are commonly used to improve skin health, although the two wavelength groups have very different effects.
Let’s dive into blue light first, and then explore the ways that red LED light therapy devices will give you much better results.
As An Atopic Dermatitis Treatment
Atopic dermatitis treatments include topical creams, steroids, and lifestyle changes, but blue light therapy has also been proven to help treat this issue. The skin condition, also known as eczema, shows up as an itchy red rash, but the good news is it can be treated with light therapy. The procedure also helps reduce inflammation and itching associated with atopic dermatitis.
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The Negative Aspects Of Blue Light
J. Liebmann et al. found that blue light at 453 nm does not have a negative effect on human skin cells up to a fluence of 500 J/cm2 . Similarly, Oplander et al. showed that blue light was nontoxic to human fibroblasts at 453 nm, but also at 480 nm. However, blue light at 410 and 420 nm caused increased oxidative stress as well as being toxic depending on the dose and wavelength. Moreover, small doses of blue light decreased the antioxidative properties of fibroblasts. The authors demonstrated that fibroblasts may be more sensitive to blue light as a decrease in proliferation was observed after irradiations at 410, 420, and 453 nm at not toxic doses .
Therefore, blue light at 453 nm using an intensity of 23 mW/cm2 and up to fluence of 500 J/cm2 does not cause apoptosis of keratinocytes, whereas T cells are susceptible to apoptosis at lower energy levels, with the fluences that are not toxic for keratinocytes and endothelial cells . While small amounts of ROS may protect the cells, larger amounts of ROS can damage them . However, there is a theory that the viability of cells depends on their mechanisms to deal with oxidative stress . Wataha et al. found that blue light modulates cell survival and growth in different ways, and it depends on how much energy the cells use. Rapidly dividing cells, requiring more energy, were more sensitive to the inhibitory effects of blue light, but it is still unknown how exactly .
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How have you tried red light therapy before?
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Light Therapy For Psoriasis
Light therapy has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and cells that improves wound healing. Initial trials on light therapy and psoriasis are showing that blue light and red light can both improve healing outcomes and reduce symptoms like itching and flaking.
One study treated patients with chronic psoriasis, which in most cases had proven resistant to conventional treatments. Researchers treated participants with red light therapy for a four to five week period with follow-ups, and found significant improvements in psoriasis symptoms:
- Psoriasis Cleared: Patients had a 60% to 100% clearance rate with recalcitrant psoriasis.
- Reduced Inflammation: Red light therapy reduced the skin inflammation of psoriasis patients.
- Patient Satisfaction: Researchers concluded that satisfaction was universally very high among the psoriasis patients treated with red light.
Another double-blind, randomized study assessed 20 patients with psoriasis. By monitoring two psoriatic plaques on each patient, one treated and one untreated, researchers were able to determine that red light therapy improved psoriasis by reducing redness, hardening, and scaling of the skin.
Other Uses For Blue Light Therapy
Aside from being a popular treatment for certain skin conditions, blue light therapy benefits include boosting mood and reducing anxiety and depression.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University tested bright blue light treatments in a long-term care facility for dementia patients. Preliminary results indicated that blue light therapy raised activity levels during the day and improved sleep at night.
Although using blue lights during the day could be beneficial, their use should be halted after sundown.
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Blue Light Therapy For Treating Skin Conditions
Blue light therapy is a form of light therapy that has been found to have very effective for treating a wide range of skin conditions and ailments.
While natural light therapy and controlled light therapies have been used extensively for a number of years in the treatment of skin conditions, the advantage of blue light therapy is that the intense light that is emitted during the therapy does not contain any ultra violet light which can cause damage to the skin.
Blue light therapies are being used to treat a whole range of different health issues and ailments. However they have been particularly popular for use in treating acne and other skin conditions.
Other Atopic Dermatitis Treatment Options
Practitioners may suggest phototherapy as a second line of treatment after unsuccessful topical treatments. If these options are still unsuccessful, health practitioners may consider other prescription medications, such as biologics and immunosuppressants.
Biologics are medications that target specific proteins called interleukins to help stop a persons immune system from overreacting. Immunosuppressants are medications that help to suppress the immune system. They include traditional systemic drugs such as cyclosporine, and systemic steroids.
While side-effects such as redness and skin tenderness are common after phototherapy, individuals may want to consider seeing their doctor if they present with the following:
- redness of treatment area beyond 24 hours
- any open areas on the skin, including blisters, burns, and cuts
- worsening of eczema
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The Lowdown On Light Therapy For Eczema
Eczema light therapy, or phototherapy, refers to the use of ultraviolet light to treat the skin rash and itching of eczema. Exposing the skin to UV light suppresses overactive skin immune system cells that cause inflammation, explains Elizabeth H. Page, MD, a dermatologist at Beth Israel Lahey Health and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Light therapy works by chasing away the white blood cells that trigger the inflammation, so light therapy is anti-inflammatory.
Another payoff? Light therapy also smoothes the lesions, decreasing skin thickening, says Emma Guttman-Yassky, MD, PhD, a dermatologist and the director of the Laboratory of Inflammatory Skin Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Other Studies On Red Light Therapy And Eczema
Numerous laboratory studies also show red light therapy to be beneficial for eczema treatment when used in conjunction with other treatments. Everything from sophisticated immunosuppressive drugs to simple warm water baths have been tested in combination with light treatments, with very encouraging results.
A 2013 study examined the benefits of light therapy along with an immunosuppressive drug. Researchers recorded many benefits for eczema treatment, including:
- Significantly reduced severity of skin lesions
- Reduced inflammation
- Restored skin barrier
A similar eczema study conducted by the same principal researcher examined the effects of red light combined with a simple hot water bath. Red light therapy plus a hot bath reduced inflammation, reduced the development of skin lesions, and suppressed allergic reactions.
A 2017 study used SCORAD, a clinical tool that assesses the severity of eczema. Researchers found that light therapy reduced skin thickness, allergy-related cells, and dead cell buildup in the epidermis.
More research on red light treatments and eczema is needed and further trials are currently underway. The existing base of research, though, is very positive and shows that natural red light therapy may reduce itchiness and inflammation and improve skin lesions for people with eczema.
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The Potential Negatives Of Using Light Therapy On Eczema
While there are a lot of great benefits to using light therapy to treat your eczema, it is important to realize that there are a few risks that are associated with treatment. Some of the risks that you should consider and discuss with your doctor include:
- Burning In some cases, artificial light, similar to what we see with natural sunlight, can cause some sunburn and blistering. You may notice that the skin reddens and itches if you use the light too long, but this is typically due to using incorrect products/usage. Those with lighter complexions are more lightly to burn and may struggle to use UV light therapy of any kind. Discuss this with your doctor before using light therapy for any condition if it is a concern.
- Skin damage For those who are not careful with how much light therapy they use, there is always the potential for a little skin damage. The skin may also develop more freckles and become wrinkled with prolonged use.
- Skin cancer There havent been any issues reported with skin cancer while using light therapy thus far , but this remains a relatively new therapy. In general, being exposed to UV light for too long can cause issues so it is something to watch for.
- PUVA The medication that you may see used in tandem with light therapy can sometimes cause nausea and headaches for some people. Also, if you do not use adequate eye protection while using light therapy, this can potentially cause cataracts.
Possible Disadvantages Of Eczema Light Therapy
Cost may be a con of eczema light therapy: For insured patients, there may be a copay involved for each time you receive treatment, plus deductible considerations. Another potential drawback is that it’s time-consuming and requires many trips to a doctor’s office over several weeks, Page says. If youre driving 30 minutes to your doctors office, waiting for your appointment, taking your clothes off, standing in the booth, then putting your clothes back on and driving home, it might be too much of a time commitment for you, says Piliang. If you live close to your doctors office, it may be convenient, but if not, it might be too difficult to do this several times a week.
Other drawbacks of eczema phototherapy may include these considerations:
Burning Artificial UV light, like natural sunlight, can result in tender sunburn and even blistering. Skin may redden and itch. Though, according to NYU Langone Health, side effects to phototherapy happen infrequently and tend to go away quickly. Also worth noting: “People who have a light complexion have more tendency to burn, and dosing needs to be adjusted accordingly,” says Page.
Skin Damage Over time, age spots and other signs of aging like wrinkles may appear, says Page.
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The Pros And Cons Of Eczema Light Therapy
Discover why light therapy may be a good solution for people struggling to treat eczema and the potential drawbacks of this approach.
Anyone dealing with eczema knows how debilitating the disease can be. Its miserable to live with eczema it has a big impact on a persons quality of life, causing chronic itchiness, visible rashes on the body, and disrupted sleep, says Melissa Piliang, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. It can even impact relationships. While some people with eczema may turn to moisturizers and corticosteroid creams to help prevent and calm flare-ups, topical treatments dont always work for every patient. Thats where light therapy may come in.
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Sounds Like Magic Does It Really Work
Blue light therapy is used to treat such a wide range of conditions and illnesses that it is difficult to give a clear and definitive answer. With the evidence that we currently have available, there are clear benefits that have been achieved in treating skin conditions such as acne, psoriases, and eczema, and this is the area where most regulatory approvals have been obtained.
There also is a strong belief that blue light therapy can be used for its anti-ageing properties, reducing the appearance of lines or discolouration.
For other types of treatments there seems to be strong indications that blue light therapy is effective when used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, although further clinical trials are required before results are definitive.
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What Is Ultraviolet Light Therapy
As the name implies, UV light therapy uses ultraviolet light waves, which are very similar to the ultraviolet light produced by the sun, to heal irritated skin. In most cases, dermatologists will use equipment that emits narrowband ultraviolet B light. The treatments can be done all over the body for widespread eczema or can be used only in targeted areas if they have not been responsive to treatments.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends only using UV light therapy when other treatments, such as emollients and topical steroids, have failed.
UV light therapy has had a lot of positive outcomes for patients, Dr. Jack says. It can help calm inflammation, reduce the amount of itching, improve the skins ability to fight bacteria and can also increase vitamin D production.
According to the National Eczema Association, it is effective in about 70% of all users.
Does Blue Light Therapy Cause Macular Degeneration
While clinical finding on this topic have not yet been established, there does not seem to be any evidence to suggest that blue light therapy causes macular degeneration.
However practitioners caution that if you have an existing condition that makes your eyes very sensitive to light, or if you have a family history of macular degeneration, then you should consult with an ophthalmologist before undergoing and blue light therapy.
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Clinical Studies On Photobiomodulation
Joovv shared one of the initial human trials that analyzed red light and eczema. Researchers followed 81 patients for nearly a year, measuring how their symptoms progressed with regular treatments.
The researchers evaluated eczema rashes before, during, and after patients the red light therapy treatments. People received just one, 2-minute red light therapy session per wee . Even with such a short treatment, researchers found considerable improvements in common eczema symptoms, including a reduction in all of the following:
Gooseflesh-like bumps Reddening Pimples or swelling
The research team also evaluated itchiness levels before, during, and after red light therapy and found patients picked their skin less and had fewer leathery patches when treated with red light therapy.
79% found that the treatment effective in their itch sensations and 71% found that skin eruptions improved. .
This study also noted there were no side effects during or after the red light treatments, in line with hundreds of other trials and studies on red light therapy for skin and health.
She sent me a link to other studies, so if youre interested in reading it Ill post it in a blog post soon or you can DM me for it. ?
How have you tried red light therapy before?
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Melissa: Yep, thats correct.
Melissa: Yeah, thanks for having me.