Evaluation of self-treatment of mild-to-moderate facial acne with a blue light treatment system

J Drugs Dermatol. 2011 Jun;10(6):596-602.


Introduction: This study evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of treating mild-to-moderate facial acne using a new, hand-held, light-emitting diode blue light device in conjunction with a foam cleanser containing 5% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid plus a skin rebuilding serum containing 1.25% salicylic acid, 0.5% niacinamide, 0.08% liposomal-based azelaic acid and superoxide dismutase.

Methods: Volunteers with mild-to-moderate facial inflammatory acne used the blue light device twice daily for eight weeks, plus the cleanser before treatments and the serum after each evening treatment.

Results: Among 33 subjects aged 25-45 years old, 28 completed. In a 3 cm x 5 cm target area receiving a daily dose of ~29 J/cm2, treatment was associated with significant reductions from baseline in the inflammatory lesion count from week 1 onward (P≤ .01) and in the non-inflammatory lesion count from week 4 onward (P≤ .05). The number of flares was significantly reduced from baseline from week 2 onward (P≤ .05), and flare severity and flare redness were significantly reduced from baseline from week 4 onward (P≤ .01 and P≤ .05, respectively). At week 8, more than 90 percent of subjects reported improvements in their skin's overall appearance, clarity, radiance, tone, texture and smoothness. In addition, 82 percent were satisfied, very satisfied, or extremely satisfied with the blue light treatment system and 86 percent agreed the treatment system was much gentler than traditional acne treatments.

Conclusion: The blue light treatment system offers effective, rapid, convenient and well tolerated treatment of inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions. The majority of subjects consider it much gentler than traditional acne treatments and it facilitates effective treatment without the need for antibiotic exposure. The blue light treatment system and blue light therapy alone are attractive treatment options for acne vulgaris, both as alternatives to traditional acne treatments and as adjunctive treatments to complement existing therapies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dicarboxylic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Glycolates / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Niacinamide / administration & dosage
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Phototherapy / adverse effects
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Salicylic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Superoxide Dismutase / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Dicarboxylic Acids
  • Drug Combinations
  • Glycolates
  • glycolic acid
  • Niacinamide
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • azelaic acid
  • Salicylic Acid