Red-blue light superior to blue light alone

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2004;5(4):211-6.

Phototherapy in the treatment of acne vulgaris: what is its role?

Charakida A, Seaton ED, Charakida M, Mouser P, Avgerinos A, Chu AC.

Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, Imperial College, London, UK. e.charakida@imperial.ac.uk

Acne vulgaris is a common dermatosis affecting 80% of the population. To date, different treatments have been used to manage this condition. Antibacterials and retinoids are currently the mainstay of treatment for acne, but their success rate varies. Phototherapy is emerging as an alternative option to treat acne vulgaris. Studies examining the role of different wavelengths and methods of light treatment have shown that phototherapy with visible light, specifically blue light, has a marked effect on inflammatory acne lesions and seems sufficient for the treatment of acne. In addition, the combination of blue-red light radiation seems to be superior to blue light alone, with minimal adverse effects. Photodynamic therapy has also been used, even in nodular and cystic acne, and had excellent therapeutic outcomes, although with significant adverse effects. Recently, low energy pulsed dye laser therapy has been used, and seems to be a promising alternative that would allow the simultaneous treatment of active acne and acne scarring. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of phototherapy as a monotherapy or an adjuvant treatment in the current management of acne vulgaris.