Red LEDs for acne and rosacea

Written by on December 19, 2005 in LED Therapy with 5 Comments

One of the most promising looking articles about the possibilities of the emerging field of Light Emitting Diode (LED) Therapy for rosacea. The article mentions the Omnilux, Delphia del SOL, Max7, Medilite, Gentlewaves, LumiPhase-R, Revitalight, Soli-Tone, BLU-U and ClearLight.

Light Emitting Diode-Based Therapy, William Abramovits, MD; Peter Arrazola, BA; Aditya K. Gupta, MD, PhD, FRCP(C), SKINmed. 2005; 4 (1): 38-41.

Introduction: Several lamps that generate visible light, many of them using light-emitting diodes (LEDs), have recently found their way to the dermatologic armamentarium. Claims of their value in the treatment of a variety of conditions ranging from cosmetic (antiwrinkle) to acne, rosacea, and skin cancer are made to market them. The literature promoting these claims is limited and often questionable, however, dermatologists who own these units often report demand for their use, high customer satisfaction, and a sense that they deliver on their promises, despite a lack of clinical evidence from properly controlled studies. This article reviews promotional as well as relevant scientific literature (indexed on Medline) regarding LED-based devices and other units that deliver visible light at sub-intense fluences. Both types of literature were evaluated for their scientific validity of content. Photodynamic therapy used with exogenous photosensitizers such as aminolevulinic acid is beyond the scope of this review.

Conclusions: The level of evidence for the use of sub-intense fluences of visible light in dermatology is weak. As few randomized controlled trials have assessed the safety and efficacy of these devices, the dermatologist is left to infer the worthiness of incorporating LED-based technology from in vitro observations, anecdotal evidence, and commentaries appearing in trade (mostly non-peer-reviewed) publications.

The uncontrolled proliferation of services based on these devices at cosmetic/aesthetic locales where the personnel have little if any knowledge of dermatology and photobiology may be dangerous. Regulations that apply in many states to the use of lasers and intense pulsated light sources should be expanded to include these devices as the benefits (and risks) of their use in acne, rosacea, wound healing, aging, etc. (mostly medical diagnoses) relate to altering the structure and function of the skin, which constitutes the practice of medicine.

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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5 Reader Comments

  1. betty says:

    I agree with your comments. there are not concluding and reliable studies of LED. therefore a patient can not risk themselves by treating their condition with this products.

  2. Peter says:

    Hello Betty

    They were not actually David’s comments.

    Do you have any experience yourself of using red light for treating rosacea?

    As with any treatment you need to do your homework on whether or not it will suit you and also take advice from your GP or Dermatologist.

    As we know there are plenty of people out there who will try and sell you something or make claims that it will be a wonder treatment for your rosacea.


  3. Rob says:

    I think if nothing is working for you (you refers to everyone) definitely ask your derm doc or primary care physician if they know of any side effects of LED light therapy. I would definitely try it and as a matter of fact I am looking into which light to purchase or if I can make a red LED light set up myself. We have LED lighting in my work place and no one has complained of any ill effects from the LED, also LED’s are in TV’s now and no bad news there either. People with rosacea have to do their own due diligence to determine what works for them, DO NOT let ANYONE tell you what or what not to do, do the research and ask the professionals and go from there. Figure it out for yourself. I have even enlightened my dermatologist on some things I uncovered either through internet investigation or my own trial and error so the answer is out there, go find it.

  4. Rob says:

    I received my red light today in the mail, man it’s bright and it’s red and that aint no joke, gotta keep them eyes shut tight it’s like the freakin sun but it does feel good on my red nose, sort of soothing actually. I used my stopwatch on my phone for 1 minute and held the device about 12 inches away. The instructions say to experiment with length of time and distance from face until you find what works best. That sounds like a lot of trial and error just like everything else that deals with rosacea, go figure! I’ll try this approach for a week and get back.
    Rudolph Rob

  5. Rudolph Rob says:

    So far no bad side effects from the red light, my nose seems a little calmer since I started red light treatment (5-6 days since begining therapy.., 2 times a day) morning after shower and right before bed, I also moisturize right after treatment, I am incorporating a lot of things to beat this nightmare rosacea thing, at least it’s not making matters worse. I am blasting both sides of my nose for 90 seconds each side now and holding the light 4-6 inches away, there is a soothing feel right after treatment so I like that. There is no real heat either just very bright so keep them peeps closed tight. I’ll get back in a week or so with update

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