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Red Light Therapy for Acne Scars: Benefits & Treatment Guide

Did you know you could use red light therapy for acne scars? The treatment involves using red LED lights to stimulate collagen production and tissue repair in the skin. This helps to reduce scarring and making the skin smoother, and more elastic. Read on for everything you need to know about how you can benefit from this amazing treatment!

Red Light Therapy for Acne Scars

The most commonly used LED skin treatments use either red or blue light. Red light stimulates cells in the skin known as fibroblasts. These cells play a role in the production of collagen and help the skin to recover from injury. Red light is therefore often used to help heal wounds or reverse the signs of ageing (source).

Blue LED light is used to treat active acne. This is because blue light causes the sebaceous glands to produce less oil, making it less likely for the pores to become blocked. Blue light also kills the bacteria that causes acne (source).

Often blue and red LED light is used in combination in acne treatments. Together they reduce inflammation and redness, as well as kill acne causing bacteria. The red light also helps to heal old acne scars and prevent new ones from forming.

Red Light Therapy for Acne Scars

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy involves exposing your skin to a lamp or device that emits red light. Light that has a wavelength between 600 to 1300 nm is most useful for promoting tissue repair and healing (source). This includes both visible and infrared light.

Studies have shown that different wavelengths of red light are better for healing different types of scars. For example a wavelength of 530–750 nm is useful for treating irregular pigmentation, and altered skin tone associated with acne (source).

The image below shows the visible spectrum of light from 400 nm to 700 nm. Most red light treatments use visible light which include wavelengths of between 650 nm to 780 nm. Wavelengths above visible red light (between 780 nm and 1 mm) are infrared light (also known as thermal radiation).

Which LED Light is Best for Acne Scars?

Different colours and wavelengths of light are used for different purposes, and it may be that your skin requires a combination of shorter and longer wavelengths of light to target different concerns. Below is a basic guide as to what each colour may be used for.

Red Light – reduces inflammation, speeds up healing, boosts collagen production.

Green light – calms the skin, reduces inflammation and hyperpigmentation

Blue light – treats acne, makes the skin brighter and smoother

Purple light – repairs the skin, promotes wound healing, treats acne

Yellow light – detoxifies the skin, aids with lymphatic drainage, heals wounds

Orange light – boosts circulation and oxygenation

Red light is the LED light therapy that shows the most promise as an effective treatment for scars. The benefit of red light in wound healing was originally discovered by NASA who were conducting experiments to see if red light could could boost plant growth.

During the experiment the NASA scientist discovered that their own skin lesions began to heal faster! After this discovery NASA began studying the use of red light to increase the metabolism of human cells, and prevent the loss of muscle and bone tissue in astronauts (source).

Red Light Therapy for Acne Scars

How Red Light Therapy Helps with Acne Scars

Red light is thought to increase the function of mitochondria, so your cells produce more energy. This helps cells to rejuvenate themselves more efficiently and repair damage (source).

Red light also stimulates skin cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts play a role in collagen production, and are important in skin recovery. By stimulating collagen production, the red light helps to heal damaged skin, reduce wrinkles or fine lines, and make the skin smoother (source).

Does Red Light Therapy Work on Old Scars?

The diagram above shows the five different types of scars you can get. Atrophic acne scars are then divided into three types of acne scarring: boxcar scars, ice pick scars and rolling scars.

  • Boxcar scars – round or oval depressions in the skin
  • Ice pick scars – deep, small holes in the skin, making it look like your skin has been punctured with a sharp object
  • Rolling scars – caused by bands of scar tissue forming under the surface of the skin leaving an uneven appearance.

Red light therapy can be effective at healing both old and new scars including acne scarring, keloid scars and hypertrophic scars. It’s also used for people who have had surgery to help reduce the visibility of surgical scars.

How Often Should I Use Red Light Therapy for Acne?

Every person’s condition is different and there’s no one-size-fits all answer, but most people see good results using a 15 minute session daily for at least three months. Red light therapy is safe to do every day and has no side effects. There are many home devices available that you can use to reduce the appearance of scars without needing to visit a dermatologist’s office.

For the best results however you may wish to seek professional treatment to determine the right frequency of treatment for your skin type. A clinic would also be able to advise you if you have severe acne or scarring that would benefit from additional procedures such as laser treatments, chemical peels, or cosmetic surgery.

What Happens If I Go for Treatment in a Clinic?

To help understand a little more about red light treatment and how it can help with acne and acne scarring, I have partnered with Aesthetics Lab. They are an award-winning cosmetic clinic based in Primrose Hill, London that offer LED Therapy!

Aesthetics Lab were happy to help with this article to give my readers a better understanding about what happens when you go to a clinic for red light treatment. 

How does the Treatment Work?

Some LED Therapy providers, like Aesthetics Lab, use a two-stage process using different light wavelengths and frequencies during a treatment session.

This involves using a low-level yellow light first to prepare the skin, and make sure it’s receptive to the red light that follows in the second stage. The red light is then able to penetrate deeper into the dermis.

The red light stimulates the natural processes within your skin, increases blood flow and accelerates the production of collagen. Collagen is a crucial protein produced by your body that keeps your skin looking smooth, youthful and healthy. With increased collagen production, the scars can then fill out, and make your skin look smoother.

Red light also has anti-inflammatory properties which further helps to reduce the visibility of acne scarring.

Blue light can also be used in your treatment by combining it with the red! This can then help to treat any active acne at the same time. Blue light helps to reduce your sebaceous gland’s activity, resulting in less oil being produced and fewer acne symptoms.

Since blue light has antimicrobial effects, it’s an effective way to deal with the bacteria that can build up in your pores and oil glands. It’s able to kill the bacteria before it causes a breakout. 

LED Therapy is usually carried out on the face, where the majority of acne scarring is found, but it can be used anywhere on the body.

What are the Benefits of Going to a Clinic?

When using an at-home version of LED Therapy, you are not able to speak with experienced skincare professionals and discuss any concerns or questions you may have. 

In-clinic LED Therapy treatment allows you to discuss everything before going ahead with an experienced professional. They are able to advise you about any reason why you shouldn’t go ahead with the treatment based on your medical history. It also allows them to conduct a hands-on evaluation of your skin and help you plan out a course of treatment sessions. 

Furthermore, blue light LED Therapy is not always available with the at-home versions of the treatment. This is because it can cause skin pigmentation if not used under professional supervision.

Following a treatment session, or at the completion of your treatment plan, you will also be able to discuss with your clinic what steps you can take to maintain the results achieved, and generally how best to look after your skin.

Everyone has different skin requirements and having expert knowledge available to you is one of the main benefits that comes with having any treatment carried out by an experienced and professional clinic. 

Further Benefits of Having LED Therapy in a Clinic 

Many of the benefits of LED Therapy have been mentioned, but it’s worth expanding on them further and highlighting some others.

Fast Treatment

Firstly, LED Therapy is a fast treatment. Treatment times can take as little as 15 minutes, so even when having a treatment session carried out at a clinic, you won’t be giving up a huge part of your day. This is one of those treatments you could have on your lunch break and then go right back to work afterwards. 

Pain Free

LED Therapy is also a completely pain-free treatment. Along with being non-invasive, it is completely safe, and there is no recovery time needed following a treatment session. You can go on with your day and even put makeup on after a treatment. Some may find their skin feeling a little warm, but this should quickly go away.

Immediate Results

Another significant benefit of LED Therapy is that for many people, you can see the results from a treatment session immediately. Unlike with other treatments where results can take a few days or even weeks to become visible, LED Therapy offers immediate results. This can be a nice boost of confidence to walk out of a treatment session with your skin looking less red from acne spots and scarring. 

How many LED Therapy Sessions Will I Have if I go to a Clinic?

As with any treatment, the number of sessions needed will depend on the individual, their skin’s condition, and what is recommended by their doctor or aesthetics professional. However, for many people, the number of LED Therapy sessions is around six.

Again, by having a treatment done in a clinic where LED Therapy is offered, rather than at home, it allows you to discuss the number of sessions needed with the experts and work out what is best for you.  They will also be able to tell you if you would benefit from both red and blue light therapy, as well as other treatment.

Red Light Therapy at Home

Unlike many other treatment options for acne scars, which are limited to specialist clinics, LED Therapy can be performed at home. There are products on the market now which allow you to replicate the type of treatment you receive in a clinic but from the comfort of your own home.

For those who have a very busy lifestyle and may not be able to make time to travel and sit through a treatment session in a clinic, this can be a convenient alternative.

Below is a selection of red light therapy devices that are suitable for acne treatment at home. The selection was chosen to suit a range of budgets.

Red Light Therapy Devices

Hangsun Light Therapy Acne Treatment LED Mask

Available at: Amazon

The Hangsun Light Therapy Acne Treatment LED Mask emits three different colors: blue, red and orange. The blue and red help to reduce breakouts, scars, dark spots and sun damage, and the orange light improves dullness.

This device has a treatment timer and will automatically switch off after 10 minutes. Goggles are included with the mask to protect your eyes from the bright light.

This is a great option if you want to have daily red light therapy sessions from the comfort of your own home. The mask is lightweight, safe and comfortable, and perfect for home use.

Hangsun Light Therapy Acne Treatment LED Mask...
  • Features Proved Light Therapy Technology - Individually 3 lights(bule/red/orange). Blue and red...
  • Unlimited Light Treatment Sessions - No activators needed, powered by USB port or portable battery...
  • Free of Chemicals and UV Light - This face mask harnesses the power of proven technology to clear...

Last update on 2024-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

FOREO UFO mini Smart Mask Treatment Device

Available at: Amazon | FOREO | FeelUnique

The FOREO UFO mini Smart Mask Treatment Device is similar to the red light device that I use at home. Since I have a photo-sensitivity I try not to put too much bright light next to my head. A small device like the FOREO UFO mini is perfect for targeting the light only onto the area where it’s needed.

This device not only emits red light, but combines LED lights with T-Sonic pulsations, Korean mask formulas and heat. It opens up the pores and infuses a nourishing serum deep below skin’s surface. It also helps to increase blood circulation and leaves the skin looking glowing and refreshed.

If you want to use this device to minimise your acne scars, I advise you to combine it with the mask Youth Junkie which helps boost skin elasticity and collagen production.

The image below shows the device that I use at home. It is a similar size to the FOREO UFO mini. Unfortunately the LMS Red Light Device is no longer being sold but I will update this post if more become available. You can see from the photo that the light flashes and not all the LED lights are lit constantly.

Red Light Therapy device
Foreo Ufo Mini Full Facial Led Mask Treatment, Red...
  • 2-MIN INTENSE LED LIGHT THERAPY DEVICE Quick & effective LED face mask device for deep skin care...
  • HYPER-INFUSION TECHNOLOGY Hydrating anti aging simple face mask device fuses warming & deeply...
  • LIGHT THERAPY MASK FOR PREMIUM FACE CARE Specialized LED light therapy boasts various colors to...

Last update on 2024-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Derma Red P600

Available at: Amazon

The Derma Red P600: Red & Near-Infrared Light Therapy Device is a body sized device that uses both red light LEDs and near-infrared LEDs. You can use it freestanding or hang it on a door or wall.

Full body red light devices can help with skin issues such as acne vulgaris, scars, the appearance of fine lines, age spots, and the appearance of wrinkles. They also have other health benefits such as promoting hair growth by stimulating the hair follicle, and helping with muscle recovery and joint pain.

Derma Red P600: Red & Near-Infrared Light Therapy...
  • 1000w Large, LED Red light therapy device comprising of 100x 5w 660nm, Red light LEDs and 100x 5w...
  • Use freestanding or hang it over a door on on a wall with the included pulley system
  • Irradiance: 93 mw/cm2 at 6", 60 mw/cm2 at 12", 43 mw/cm2 at 18", 33 mw/cm2 at 24", 20 mw/cm2 at 36"

Last update on 2024-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Treatment for Acne Scars

If you are interested in trying topical treatments for acne scars, check out some of the posts below.

Final Thoughts

Overall, LED Therapy offers significant benefits and can help those who are struggling with acne and acne scarring. While the individual results may vary between people, it has proven to be an effective treatment that can offer really good results.

Finding the right way of treating acne and acne scarring can be challenging and often isn’t something you will find an immediate solution for. It can take time to find the treatment that works best for you. This may be LED Therapy, and if that’s the case, great! What’s important is that you find the best option for you, and it improves your quality of life. 


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This Post Was All About Using Red Light Therapy for Acne Scars

Thank you for reading my post about using red light therapy for acne scars. If you’ve tried red light therapy please leave me a comment below and let me know how you got on!

This post was written in collaboration with Aesthetics Lab. They offer LED Therapy and a wide variety of other treatments at their clinic in London, so if you are interested or would just like to talk to them about treatment options, why not get in touch with them and have a chat! You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter.