Blue light therapy is an FDA approved method to treat moderate acne that has not responded well to other treatments. In the past, light therapy was performed only at dermatologist offices. Thanks to recent technological advances, tools are now available to use this treatment from the comfort of your couch! Blue light has a wavelength range of 405nm – 420 nm to treat acne, which is outside the wavelength range for UV light, so there’s no need to worry about damage to the skin. Blue light can penetrate your pores and kill acne-causing bacteria. This therapy is a great drug-free, pain-free, and non-invasive treatment for acne; however, it often needs to be combined with other topical acne medication for optimal results. Also, blue light therapy works best on inflamed, mild-to-moderate acne. Since it targets the bacteria C. acnes, it doesn’t work well with non-inflamed blackheads and whiteheads. Check out some at-home light therapies below:
- Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment - $24.99
This convenient, pen-sized light therapy combines blue and red light to kill acne-causing bacteria and calm inflammation. It’s battery-powered and portable so you can easily take it on-the-go!
- LightStim for Acne - $169
This hand-held light therapy combines red and blue lights with a total of 36 LEDs. The light head is also larger so you can treat more extensive areas at a time if you have breakouts around your face.
Recently, blemish extractors have been all the rage. Which makes sense since there’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching a clogged pore become extracted! Manual blemish extractors are metal devices that contain metal loops at the end of a metal stick. They work by creating pressure around a clogged pore when the loop end is depressed against the skin. This pressure causes the dead skin cells and sebum in a clogged pore to push out to the surface of the skin for easy removal. There are also battery-powered vacuum devices that claim to suck up clogged pores (there are mixed reviews on how well this works). These types of devices are best for non-inflammatory acne like whiteheads and blackheads. Avoid this tool for your inflamed pimples though. This process would be very painful for inflammatory acne and cause bacteria to spread!
Before trying any extraction tool, remember to thoroughly cleanse the skin, your hands, and your extractor before starting. It's recommended to steam your face before starting your extraction to loosen your pores, and never try to force out a blackhead.
- Sephora Collection Double-ended Blemish Extractor- $17
- BlackVac Blackhead & Pore Vacuum - $34.99
It’s a beautiful day when your breakouts are healing and getting far and few between, but for a lot of people, acne leads to acne scarring. Acne scars can show themselves as discoloration, depression or raising of the skin and can last anywhere from a few months to years. There are different treatments to deal with acne scarring (see this past post), and using a microneedling tool is one that is gaining in popularity. Like the name sounds, microneedling pricks your skin with fine needles to stimulate collagen production. It’s thought that the stimulation of collagen will fill in depressed acne scars. The treatment can lead to redness and inflammation, so avoid exfoliants and harsher skincare products while your skin heals.
Microneedling can be done at home using a derma-roller. Derma-rollers are hand-held devices that contain a roller ball at the end coated with stainless steel microneedles. The rollers come in various sizes depending on the depth of your acne scars. Like with the other tools, always cleanse and dry your face before using the device.
- ORA Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System 0.5mm - $24.50
- Stacked Skincare Microneedling Tool 2.0 - $125