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Is blue light therapy for acne effective?

In a new study, researchers examine the effectiveness of blue light therapy for acne.

In the United States, around 50 million people suffer from acne, which is one of the most common reasons for visiting a general practitioner or pharmacist. Acne is typically treated with oral and topical antibiotics, retinoids, and topical benzoyl peroxide. Light therapy treatments for acne are also available, and interest in this form of treatment continues to grow.

Researchers recently published a review article in Annals of Family Medicine describing the use of blue light therapy for treating acne. The study was a systematic review of randomized controlled trials, including fourteen trials and a total of 698 participants.

Only three of the controlled trials reported professional-assessment improvement in the severity of acne following treatment. Four trials reported positive patient-assessments. However, the researchers concluded that methodological and reporting limitations of previous studies limit the validity of their results. The controlled trials weren’t considered long enough and had too few participants for the results to be considered final. Some trials lacked the reporting of key information.

According to the authors of the study, “clinicians and patients should, therefore, consider the balance between its benefits and adverse events, as well as costs.”

Future studies are necessary to come to validate the effectiveness of blue light therapy for acne.


Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer



Scott, Anna Mae, PhD., et al. “Blue-Light Therapy for Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”. Annals of Family Medicine. November/December 2019, 17, (6). Online.

Does blue light therapy help acne? Efficacy and evidence is lacking. 2019,, assessed 21 Nov. 2019.

Image by Kjerstin Michaela Haraldsen from Pixabay



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