Effects of blue light on inflammation and skin barrier recovery following acute perturbation. Pilot study results in healthy human subjects

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2018 May;34(3):184-193. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12367. Epub 2017 Dec 22.


Background/purpose: While growing evidence supports the therapeutic effect of 453 nm blue light in chronic inflammatory skin diseases, data on its effects on acutely perturbed human skin are scarce. In this study, we investigated the impact of 453 nm narrow-band LED light on healthy skin following acute perturbation.

Methods: Tape stripping and histamine iontophoresis were performed on the forearm of 22 healthy volunteers on 2 consecutive weeks. In 1 week, challenges were followed by irradiation for 30 minutes. In the other week (control), no light was administered. Reactions were evaluated up to 72 hours thereafter by transepidermal water loss (TEWL), diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and skin surface biomarkers.

Results: Skin barrier disruption resulted in upregulation of IL-1α at 24 hours after tape stripping (P = .029). In contrast, irradiation abrogated this effect (P > .05). Irradiation also resulted in higher TEWL at 24 hours and in higher b* value at 72 hours after tape stripping compared to the control (P = .034 and P = .018, respectively). At 30 minutes following histamine iontophoresis and irradiation, a trend toward a higher a* value compared to the control was observed (P = .051).

Conclusion: We provide the first in vivo evidence that blue light at 453 nm exerts biological effects on acutely perturbed healthy human skin.

Keywords: biophysical measurements; blue light; cutaneous inflammation; photobiomodulation; skin barrier function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dermatitis* / etiology
  • Dermatitis* / metabolism
  • Dermatitis* / pathology
  • Dermatitis* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1alpha / biosynthesis*
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Skin* / metabolism
  • Skin* / pathology
  • Up-Regulation / radiation effects*


  • IL1A protein, human
  • Interleukin-1alpha