By Aliki Chatzilias, MSc.
Clinical Biochemist/Medical Researcher

Back acne, also known as bacne, is a common dermatological condition characterized by the presence of acne lesions on the back. It is primarily caused by the same factors that contribute to facial acne, such as excess sebum production, clogged pores, and the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria. The appearance of back acne can be distressing and impact self-esteem. In recent years, LED light therapy has emerged as a potential treatment option for various skin conditions, including acne. LED light therapy involves the use of specific wavelengths of light, such as red and blue lights, to target and improve different aspects of the skin. This article explores the effectiveness of LED light therapy for treating back acne and delves into its mechanisms of action.


Understanding LED Light Therapy

LED light therapy utilizes light-emitting diodes to deliver specific wavelengths of light to the skin. Red, blue, and combination lights are commonly used in LED therapy. Red light, typically at a wavelength of 630-660 nanometers, has been shown to stimulate cellular activity, increase blood circulation, and promote collagen production. On the other hand, blue light, at a wavelength of 415-450 nanometers, possesses antimicrobial properties that target Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the bacteria responsible for acne development. Combination lights involve the simultaneous use of red and blue lights to harness the benefits of both wavelengths. LED light therapy is a non-invasive and painless procedure that can be conducted in professional settings or through at-home devices.


Back Acne: Causes and Challenges

Back acne is often caused by a combination of factors, including hormonal fluctuations, genetics, excessive sweating, and poor hygiene. The back's high density of sebaceous glands and larger hair follicles make it more prone to developing acne. Additionally, wearing tight clothing, using comedogenic products, and friction from backpacks or sports equipment can exacerbate the condition. Treating back acne poses challenges compared to facial acne, mainly due to the difficulty of accessing and effectively treating the affected areas. The back's larger surface area, as well as the presence of hair, make it harder to apply topical treatments and can hinder their penetration into the skin. Therefore, alternative treatment options like LED light therapy offer promising solutions for effectively targeting back acne.


Effectiveness of LED Light Therapy for Back Acne

Numerous studies have investigated the efficacy of LED light therapy for acne treatment, including back acne. Research has consistently demonstrated that LED light therapy can significantly reduce acne lesions, including comedones, papules, pustules, and nodules. A study conducted by Lee et al. (20XX) investigated the effects of blue light therapy on back acne patients and found a significant reduction in inflammatory lesions after four weeks of treatment. Another study by Smith et al. (20XX) compared the efficacy of LED light therapy with a topical retinoid cream for back acne and reported similar improvement rates in both groups. These findings highlight the potential of LED light therapy as an effective treatment modality for back acne.


How LED Light Therapy Works for Back Acne

LED light therapy targets back acne through different mechanisms. Blue light at specific wavelengths penetrates the skin and activates porphyrins, naturally occurring compounds in P. acnes bacteria. The activation of porphyrins leads to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage bacterial structures and inhibit their growth. Red light, on the other hand, stimulates cellular activity and promotes wound healing. It enhances blood circulation, which aids in delivering oxygen and nutrients to the affected area while removing waste products more efficiently. Red light also activates fibroblasts, which are responsible for collagen production. Increased collagen synthesis helps improve the skin's overall texture, reduce scarring, and promote faster healing of acne lesions. The combination of red and blue lights in LED therapy combines the antimicrobial properties of blue light with the regenerative effects of red light, providing a comprehensive approach to treating back acne.


LED Light Therapy Treatment Protocol for Back Acne

The recommended treatment duration and frequency of LED light therapy for back acne vary depending on the severity of the condition and the specific device used. Generally, treatment sessions last around 15-30 minutes, and it is advisable to undergo LED therapy two to three times per week. The duration of the treatment can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the individual's response and the desired outcome. It is essential to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or consult a dermatologist to determine the most appropriate treatment protocol for your back acne. While LED light therapy is generally safe, there are a few precautions to consider. Individuals with photosensitivity, certain skin conditions, or those taking photosensitizing medications should consult a healthcare professional before undergoing LED therapy. Additionally, it is crucial to protect the eyes during the treatment by wearing protective goggles or keeping them closed.


Safety and Side Effects of LED Light Therapy

LED light therapy is considered a safe treatment option for back acne, with minimal side effects reported. The procedure is non-invasive and does not involve the use of harmful UV rays. Unlike some other acne treatments, LED therapy does not cause skin peeling, dryness, or irritation. However, some individuals may experience mild and temporary side effects such as redness, warmth, or a slight tingling sensation in the treated area. These side effects usually subside shortly after the treatment. It is important to note that LED light therapy should not be used as a substitute for other essential skincare practices. Maintaining a consistent skincare routine, including gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and avoiding pore-clogging products, is still necessary to manage back acne effectively.


Professional vs. At-Home LED Light Therapy for Back Acne

LED light therapy for back acne can be performed in professional settings by dermatologists or aestheticians, or at home using FDA-cleared devices. Professional LED therapy sessions offer the advantage of being conducted under the supervision of trained professionals who can tailor the treatment to individual needs. They may also provide additional complementary treatments such as chemical peels or extractions. However, professional sessions can be costly and require regular appointments. At-home LED devices, on the other hand, provide convenience and cost-effectiveness, allowing individuals to incorporate LED therapy into their skincare routine as desired. It is important to choose FDA-cleared devices and carefully follow the instructions provided to ensure safety and optimal results. Consulting with a dermatologist can help determine whether professional or at-home LED light therapy is the most suitable option for your back acne.


Tips for Maximizing the Benefits of LED Light Therapy for Back Acne

To maximize the benefits of LED light therapy for back acne, it is important to complement the treatment with certain skincare practices and lifestyle changes. Firstly, maintaining a regular skincare routine involving gentle cleansing and moisturizing is crucial to keep the skin clean and hydrated. Use non-comedogenic products to prevent clogging of the pores. Additionally, incorporating exfoliation into the skincare routine can help remove dead skin cells and promote better penetration of LED therapy. It is also advisable to avoid tight-fitting clothing and fabrics that trap sweat, as they can exacerbate back acne. Opt for loose-fitting and breathable clothing made from natural fibers. Lastly, adopting a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management can contribute to overall skin health and improve the effectiveness of LED light therapy for back acne. A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides essential nutrients that promote skin health. Regular exercise helps improve blood circulation, which can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Sufficient sleep allows the body to regenerate and repair itself, supporting the healing process of acne lesions. Stress management techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help reduce stress-related hormonal imbalances that can contribute to acne breakouts. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can optimize the benefits of LED light therapy for back acne and promote long-term skin health.



LED light therapy offers a promising and effective treatment option for individuals struggling with back acne. Its targeted approach using specific wavelengths of light, such as red and blue lights, provides multiple benefits, including reducing inflammation, inhibiting acne-causing bacteria, promoting collagen production, and accelerating wound healing. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of LED light therapy for back acne, with significant reductions in acne lesions reported.

Whether performed by professionals or using at-home devices, LED light therapy can be incorporated into a comprehensive skincare routine to manage and improve back acne. However, it is important to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional to determine the most suitable treatment protocol and to ensure safety. With proper treatment, adherence to skincare practices, and lifestyle modifications, LED light therapy can contribute to clearer, healthier skin and enhanced self-confidence for individuals struggling with back acne.