When choosing a light therapy device, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the LED color. Red light therapy and blue light therapy both offer convenient, clinical-strength skincare treatments you can administer at home. However, different wavelengths of LED light, from infrared to blue, provide different benefits for a range of health and beauty applications.
Before investing in a home light therapy device, it is important to understand what each LED color treats to ensure you select the right device for your unique skincare needs. Continue reading to learn the difference between red light and blue light and their many therapeutic applications.
What Is LED Light Therapy?
LED light therapy is a skincare treatment using various light wavelengths, including red, blue, and infrared. Originally developed by NASA for plant growth experiments, scientists later found it to have applications in wound treatment and bone and muscle loss. LED light therapy does not contain ultraviolet rays, like the sun, making these devices safe for regular use.
Different wavelengths of light have different effects on the cells of the body. In combination, these wavelengths can produce powerful results for your skincare regimen.
Blue Light Therapy vs. Red Light Therapy
Researchers have identified the specific wavelengths of light that exert different effects on the cells of the body. Blue and red light confer beneficial effects on skin cells. Home light therapy tools create these wavelengths with high-power LED microchips. The devices also eliminate harmful and non-productive light wavelengths, such as UV rays present in sunlight, delivering only safe light wavelengths.
These non-UV light therapy devices feature Deep Penetrating Light (dpl®) technology to penetrate the skin safely. When it comes to the functions of blue light versus red light, blue light destroys acne-causing bacteria, while red light reduces inflammation and increases circulation.
Keep reading to learn more about red light therapy vs. blue light therapy and how these devices work:
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is a technique that uses low-level wavelengths to refine your skin’s surface. Customers also use this visible form of light therapy to treat other medical conditions. Research is ongoing, but many studies reveal the effectiveness of red light therapy for clinical uses.
NASA first experimented with red light therapy for growing plants while in space. Scientists discovered the light from red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) helped promote growth and photosynthesis in plants. This research evolved into healing astronauts’ wounds and investigating other potential uses for red light therapy.
Today, red light therapy has many applications, from increasing blood circulation to minimizing scars and reducing wrinkles.
Scientists believe that red light therapy works by strengthening mitochondria in the body’s cells. Mitochondria are responsible for producing the energy necessary for the cell’s functioning and survival. Most of the energy mitochondria make is housed in a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which helps the body store and use energy. By providing more energy through the light therapy, cells can work more efficiently to repair skin, enhance skin rejuvenation or boost new cell production.
What Is Blue Light Therapy?
Blue light therapy uses light to treat acne and other skin imperfections. Since it can only treat areas the light can reach, it typically treats conditions on or just below the skin’s surface. Scientists have proven blue light therapy helps manage acne because the rays destroy P. acnes bacteria. They may also reduce inflammation of keratinocytes, common cells in the outer layer of the skin.
What Is Blue Light Therapy Used to Treat?
Blue light therapy has several therapeutic uses. Dermatologists might use blue light to treat and prevent acne, reduce inflammation and minimize skin discoloration.
In our in-house, two-week consumer study, 100% of participants saw improvements in three to four of the following areas:
- Improvement of skin tone
- Reduction of pores
- Improvement of skin texture
- Overall skin condition
Blue light causes our sebaceous glands to produce less oil, clear the skin and decrease other acne symptoms like redness and inflammation. It works best on traditional acne typical of a breakout, making it effective for spot treatments and flare-ups. Others use it to treat long-term acne on larger areas of the face, back or body.
Devices that use both blue and red light might also help reduce acne, which can ultimately prevent scarring from occurring.
What’s the Difference Between Red and Blue Light Therapy?
The difference in red light and blue light therapy lies within their wavelengths. Because red and blue light have different wavelengths, they also have different effects on the skin.
Light with longer wavelengths can reach deeper parts of the body. Red light therapy penetrates the skin to stimulate collagen and reduce inflammation. Meanwhile, blue light helps treat skin conditions like acne, penetrating the pores and destroying bacteria. Infrared light, meanwhile, penetrates deeply into the muscles to help with pain and stiffness.