Evaluation of Self-Treatment of Mild-to-Moderate Facial Acne with a Blue Light Treatment System

June 2011 | Volume 10 | Issue 6 | Original Article | 596 | Copyright © June 2011


Introduction: This study evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of treating mild-to-moderate facial acne using a new, hand-held, light-emitting diode blue light device in conjunction with a foam cleanser containing 5% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid plus a skin rebuilding serum containing 1.25% salicylic acid, 0.5% niacinamide, 0.08% liposomal-based azelaic acid and superoxide dismutase.
Methods: Volunteers with mild-to-moderate facial inflammatory acne used the blue light device twice daily for eight weeks, plus the cleanser before treatments and the serum after each evening treatment.
Results: Among 33 subjects aged 25–45 years old, 28 completed. In a 3 cm x 5 cm target area receiving a daily dose of ~29 J/cm2, treatment was associated with significant reductions from baseline in the inflammatory lesion count from week 1 onward (P≤.01) and in the non-inflammatory lesion count from week 4 onward (P≤.05). The number of flares was significantly reduced from baseline from week 2 onward (P≤.05), and flare severity and flare redness were significantly reduced from baseline from week 4 onward (P≤.01 and P≤.05, respectively). At week 8, more than 90 percent of subjects reported improvements in their skin’s overall appearance, clarity, radiance, tone, texture and smoothness. In addition, 82 percent were satisfied, very satisfied, or extremely satisfied with the blue light treatment system and 86 percent agreed the treatment system was much gentler than traditional acne treatments.
Conclusion: The blue light treatment system offers effective, rapid, convenient and well tolerated treatment of inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions. The majority of subjects consider it much gentler than traditional acne treatments and it facilitates effective treatment without the need for antibiotic exposure. The blue light treatment system and blue light therapy alone are attractive treatment options for acne vulgaris, both as alternatives to traditional acne treatments and as adjunctive treatments to complement existing therapies.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(6):596-602.


Many topical and oral medications are used in the treatment of acne vulgaris but their clinical utility is often suboptimal as a result of a slow onset of action, a lack of efficacy in some patients, tolerability problems (which may subsequently lead to reduced compliance), or the risk of other adverse effects such as the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Blue light therapy can offer a valuable additional treatment option. Propionibacterium acnes produce porphyrins as part of their normal metabolism and it is thought that, when irradiated by blue light at a wavelength of 405-420 nm, photoexcitation of the porphyrins generates free radicals that are bactericidal against P. acnes.1,2 Blue light may also have anti-inflammatory effects as it has been shown to inhibit the production of proinflammatory molecules-interleukin-1α and inter-cellular adhesion molecule 1-in cultured keratinoctyes.3
The first blue light-emitting devices for treating acne required administration once or twice weekly in the doctor's office, which resulted in poor compliance. The US Food and Drug Administration recently cleared an over-the-counter hand-held blue light device which allows individuals to self-treat mild-tomoderate inflammatory acne at home.4 A study has been performed to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of this device when used in conjunction with a proprietary foam cleanser and skin rebuilding serum.


Subjects with mild-to-moderate inflammatory facial acne were eligible for enrollment in this IRB-approved study (TRIA AC-027). Subjects at least 18 years of age gave written in-