By Aliki Chatzilias, MSc.
Clinical Biochemist/Medical Researcher


LED light therapy has gained popularity as a non-invasive treatment option for acne. However, it is crucial to understand the potential risks and contraindications associated with this therapy to ensure safe and effective treatment. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the risks, side effects, and precautions related to LED light therapy for acne, providing you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about your skincare regimen.

Understanding LED Light Therapy for Acne

LED light therapy utilizes specific wavelengths of light to target and reduce acne lesions. The two main wavelengths used in LED light therapy for acne are blue light (around 415nm) and red light (around 630nm). Blue light targets the bacteria responsible for acne, while red light reduces inflammation and promotes healing.

Effectiveness and Benefits of LED Light Therapy

Extensive research has shown the effectiveness of LED light therapy in treating acne. Multiple studies have demonstrated significant reductions in acne lesion counts and inflammation after LED light therapy sessions. Moreover, LED light therapy offers additional benefits such as improved skin texture, reduced scarring, and minimal downtime. These advantages make LED light therapy an attractive option for individuals seeking non-invasive acne treatment.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

While LED light therapy for acne is generally considered safe, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks and side effects associated with the treatment.

  1. Eye Damage: One of the primary risks of LED light therapy is eye damage. LED lights emit intense brightness that can harm the eyes if proper protection is not used. It is crucial to wear protective goggles specifically designed for LED light therapy to shield your eyes from potential injury.
  2. Skin Sensitivity: LED light therapy may cause temporary skin redness, dryness, or irritation, particularly in individuals with sensitive skin. However, these side effects are usually mild and subside shortly after treatment. Applying a gentle moisturizer post-treatment can help alleviate any discomfort.
  3. Hyperpigmentation: In rare cases, LED light therapy may result in temporary darkening or lightening of the skin, known as hyperpigmentation. This side effect is more common in individuals with darker skin tones. To minimize the risk, it is crucial to follow the recommended treatment protocols and consult with a skincare professional experienced in LED light therapy.
  4. Photosensitivity: LED light therapy can increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight immediately following treatment. It is essential to protect your skin from excessive sun exposure by applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF and wearing protective clothing, particularly if you have a scheduled treatment during daylight hours.
  5. Potential Long-term Effects: While LED light therapy has been extensively studied for its short-term benefits, there is limited research on its long-term effects. It is advisable to stay updated on the latest scientific findings and consult with a skincare professional who can provide personalized advice based on your individual circumstances.

Contraindications and Precautions

Certain individuals may have contraindications or require special precautions when considering LED light therapy for acne treatment.

  1. Pregnancy: LED light therapy has not been thoroughly studied for its safety during pregnancy. As a precautionary measure, it is generally advised to avoid LED light therapy while pregnant due to the lack of conclusive data on its effects on the fetus.
  2. Photosensitive Conditions: Individuals with photosensitive conditions, such as lupus or porphyria, may be more susceptible to adverse reactions from LED light therapy. It is important to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional to determine if LED light therapy is suitable for you.
  3. Medications: Certain medications, such as antibiotics, retinoids, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can increase photosensitivity. If you are taking any medication, it is crucial to disclose this information to your skincare professional before starting LED light therapy.
  4. History of Skin Cancer: Individuals with a history of skin cancer should consult with a dermatologist before considering LED light therapy. The doctor can assess your condition and provide personalized guidance based on your medical history.

Expert Recommendations and Professional Guidance

To ensure safe and effective LED light therapy for acne, it is recommended to seek professional advice from a dermatologist or licensed skincare professional. They have the expertise to assess your skin condition, recommend the most appropriate treatment plan, and guide you through the process. When selecting a clinic or practitioner, consider their experience, reputation, and qualifications in LED light therapy for acne treatment.


LED light therapy offers a promising non-invasive approach to treating acne. However, it is vital to be aware of the potential risks and contraindications associated with the treatment. By understanding the potential risks, side effects, and precautions, you can make informed decisions about incorporating LED light therapy into your skincare routine. Remember to consult with a skincare professional to determine the suitability of LED light therapy for your specific needs. By prioritizing safety and expert guidance, you can maximize the benefits of LED light therapy for acne treatment while minimizing any potential risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is LED light therapy safe for acne treatment?

Yes, LED light therapy is considered a safe treatment for acne. However, it is essential to follow the recommended guidelines and precautions to minimize any potential risks or side effects.

How long does each LED light therapy session typically last?

LED light therapy sessions usually last between 15 to 30 minutes. The exact duration may vary depending on the specific treatment protocol recommended by your skincare professional.

Are there any age restrictions for LED light therapy?

LED light therapy can be used for acne treatment in individuals of various ages. However, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist to determine the suitability of the treatment for younger individuals.

Can LED light therapy be used in combination with other acne treatments?

Yes, LED light therapy can be combined with other acne treatments, such as topical medications or oral antibiotics. Combining treatments may enhance the overall effectiveness in managing acne.

How many LED light therapy sessions are typically needed to see results?

The number of LED light therapy sessions required to see results may vary depending on individual factors and the severity of acne. Generally, a series of multiple sessions, often spaced a few days or weeks apart, is recommended to achieve optimal outcomes.

Is LED light therapy painful?

LED light therapy is a non-invasive and painless treatment. Most individuals experience a warm and soothing sensation during the session, with no discomfort or downtime afterward.

Can LED light therapy treat other skin conditions besides acne?

Yes, LED light therapy has shown potential in treating various skin conditions, including sun damage, rosacea, and fine lines. Different wavelengths of light are used to target specific concerns.

Are there any specific aftercare instructions following LED light therapy?

After LED light therapy, it is generally recommended to apply a gentle moisturizer and use sunscreen with a high SPF to protect the skin from sun exposure. Your skincare professional will provide specific aftercare instructions based on your individual needs.

Can LED light therapy be performed at home using personal devices?

Yes, there are LED light therapy devices available for home use. However, it is important to choose reputable products and follow the instructions carefully. Professional treatments at a clinic or under the guidance of a skincare professional are generally preferred for optimal results and safety.

Are the results of LED light therapy permanent?

LED light therapy can help manage acne and improve the overall condition of the skin. However, to maintain the results, ongoing maintenance sessions or combining LED light therapy with other skincare practices may be recommended. It is important to maintain a consistent skincare routine to achieve long-term benefits.