Red light phototherapy alone is effective for acne vulgaris: randomized, single-blinded clinical trial

Dermatol Surg. 2007 Oct;33(10):1228-33; discussion 1233. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2007.33258.x.


Background: Recently, a demand for safe and effective treatment of acne has been increasing. Although visible light has attracted attention as a new option, the effect of red light alone has not yet been evaluated.

Objectives: The objective was to assess the efficacy of red light phototherapy with a portable device in acne vulgaris.

Methods: Twenty-eight volunteers with mild to moderate acne were treated with portable red light-emitting devices in this split-face randomized trial. The right or left side of the face was randomized to treatment side and phototherapy was performed for 15 minutes twice a day for 8 weeks. Clinical photographs, lesion counts, and a visual analog scale (VAS) were used to assess each side of the face at baseline and Weeks 1, 2, 4, and 8, and a split-face comparison was performed.

Results: The percent improvement in noninflammatory and inflammatory lesion counts of the treated side was significant compared to the control side (p<.005). VAS decreased from 3.9 to 1.9 on the treatment side and the difference between the treatment and control sides was significant at Week 8 (p<.005).

Conclusions: This study shows that red light phototherapy alone can be a new therapeutic option for acne vulgaris.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phototherapy / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome