How Does Blue Light Therapy Work for Acne?

Many people look for products that “treat oily skin,” but did you know that your skin type can’t be treated? You cannot change your skin type because it is determined by genetics, pore size, and hormones, not your skincare routine. Skin does go through changes on its own due to stress, environment, and lifestyle though. 

How can hormones affect skin?

For example, DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is an androgen that causes our oil glands to produce more oil. Testosterone stimulates the production of sebum. Overproduction of testosterone may lead to excessive sebum production, which, in turn, may increase the risk of inflamed sebaceous glands. 

That’s why medications like spironolactone or Accutane (tretinoin) can help when it comes to overall oiliness. But, if you don’t want to take oral medication, there are other things you can do. You can’t stop your oil glands, and you wouldn’t want to. However, there are medical treatments such as photodynamic therapy which has been shown to decrease oiliness. 

Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy has been used to treat skin cancers, but in esthetics, photodynamic shoots light at the skin and shrinks the oil glands. In turn, it stops them from producing so much oil. 

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a photosensitizing serum (aminolevulinic acid or ALA) and a light source, “Blu-U.” BLU-U is the only blue light PDT that's FDA-approved.

During a photodynamic therapy treatment, ALA is applied to your skin. Then, it will sit for 90 to 200 minutes. So, it can incubate and give the acne-causing bacteria time to absorb the agent.

Once it absorbs, a photochemical reaction occurs. The ALA converts into a light-sensitive agent, and ultimately, and Blu-U will be presented to the skin light for about 17 minutes. This will activate the ALA and destroy the acne bacteria (The Clinic for Dermatology and Wellness, 2020).

Additionally, PDT has the ability to reduce the appearance of pores by calming the sebaceous glands and helping to reduce oil flow and minimize pore blockage (Brunner, MD).

However, PDT treatments can be very expensive. Fortunately, there are some DIY blue light optionhome.

At-home Blue Light devices

Photodynamic therapy also uses Blue Light, but there are at-home options for blue light as well. 

Dermabeam Pro LED Therapy Mask 


We’ve actually seen that LED light therapy, specifically blue wavelengths can decrease oil production in the skin. Cassandra loves this mask because it’s like the budget version of the Dr. Dennis Gross mask. This mask works well because it protects the eyes, but it’s strong enough to actually work. For LED masks to actually work, it has to have the right wavelength and strength.  

Elevatione Clearerist Blue Light Therapy Device 

This is another device that specifically targets the skin with blue light. 

This is also blue light which again, works wonderfully for acne-prone and oily skin. But even with these at-home tools, you’re going to get more results with products that stay on your skin like serums and masks.



Remember, cleansers actually don’t have the biggest impact because you wash them off. On the other hand, face masks can stay on the skin for several minutes. So, they have time to work. 

Bubble Come Clean Detoxifying Mask - $18.88 

This is one of Cassandra’s favorites. It’s from Bubble Skincare, and it works to get rid of oiliness and greasiness without dehydrating or stripping the skin. Some clay products can be very intense. For instance, Cassandra used to frequent the “Aztec Healing Clay.” It’s super drying, and it makes your skin pulse. Although it was not very good for her skin, Cassandra didn’t have many options for her oily skin back then. Compared to everything else on the market, Cassandra liked it. 

But thankfully, we now have better options, and the Bubble Mask is one of Cassandra’s favorites. It contains grapeseed oil and a bunch of different clays. It has a grayish-purple hue, and it’s packaged in a little ball. As for the ingredients, there’s nourishing grape seed oil, resveratrol, and antioxidants. Resveratrol contains vitamin A which helps speed up skin cell turnover. More simply, it helps the skin surface a new layer, and likewise, it helps to reduce oil blockages too. Cassandra uses this overnight before bed, and she always sees the benefits in the morning. 

This mask applies so well, it hydrates, and it binds to oil on the skin without stripping it. You’ll want to wash this off, put on an overnight moisturizer, and then, go to bed. That way, your skin will be set up for all-day hydration. 

Plus, it’s affordable, and the brand also supports teenage mental health!