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Is Blue Light Better Than IPL for Treating Acne?

i underwent a few IPL acne treatments and they didn't do anything but cause me pain. Is Blue Light Therapy or some other LED treatment the way to go to get rid of acne?

Doctor Answers 5

Blue light works better when preceded by Levulan application

Blue light therapy alone can be quite modest in its efficacy for acne treatment. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) using either Blue light and Levulan or Red light and Metvixia works much better in reducing inflammation and minimizing cystic acne lesions. Most experienced board-certified dermatologist would recommend a series of 4 treatments about 2-4 weeks apart. Prepare to experience mild sunburn like redness and peeling for few days after each photodynamic therapy.

Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Blue light for acne

Although FDA has approved Blue Light therapy for acne, our results have been inconsistent. I believe that results are better when Blue light is combined with levulan. However, this is an off label use for Levulan.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

BLU-U vs. IPL for Acne

There is no head to head comparison of these two treatment modalities. However, I presume that you are referring to the use of these two devices along with levulan or Metvix which helps these modalities work much better, as without application of these agents, the results are not that impressive. I would talk to your dermatologist to see what is best for you, as with various prescription creams, pills (antibiotics, oral contraceptive pill, accutane), chemical peels etc, we now have many options that don't have to break the bank either.

Benjamin Barankin, MD
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Add Levulan to Blue Wavelength IPL

IPL using the blue wavelength is not nearly as effective for acne treatment without the addition of Levulan. Levulan is attracted to the porphyrins produced by the P. Acnes bacteria. When the light source hits the porphrins, the nearby bacteria give up the ghost.

PDT therapy, which this is called, is an excellent adjunct to standard acne treatment. It should not be used in place of it, however.

I do not think L.E. D. treatment has much use in acne therapy.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Blue Light Therapy for Acne


Yes, blue LED light therapy would be a better option for treating acne than the IPL.  IPL is only effective for acne when used to activate a photodynamic therapy solution such as Aminolevulinic Acid.  Blue LED light therapy however can be very effective even when used independently from other therapies.  The wavelength of the blue LED light works to kill the p.acne bacteria that causes acne therefore reducing acne lesions.  This is a painless and extremely effective procedure.  I recommend having treatments about 1-2 times a week for 6 treatments.  Some patients may require more treatments depending on the severity of their acne.  

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.