By Aliki Chatzilias, MSc.
Clinical Biochemist/Medical Researcher

LED light therapy has gained popularity as a non-invasive and effective treatment for acne. By utilizing specific wavelengths of light, this therapy targets acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation, resulting in clearer skin. While LED light therapy is generally safe, it's essential to be aware of the potential side effects that may occur. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of LED light therapy for acne, including its effectiveness and the side effects associated with its use.


What is LED Light Therapy?

LED light therapy involves the use of specific wavelengths of light to treat acne. It works by penetrating the skin and targeting the sebaceous glands, reducing the production of oil and killing acne-causing bacteria. The therapy utilizes different colors of LED light, including blue, red, and sometimes a combination of both. Blue light specifically targets the bacteria responsible for acne, while red light helps reduce inflammation and promotes healing.

Effectiveness of LED Light Therapy for Acne

Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of LED light therapy for acne treatment. Research has shown that blue light effectively reduces the number of acne lesions, with significant improvements observed in both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. Red light, on the other hand, has been shown to improve overall skin appearance, reduce redness, and enhance the healing process. Users have reported positive results, including a decrease in acne severity and a boost in self-confidence.


Common Side Effects of LED Light Therapy for Acne

While LED light therapy is generally safe, it can occasionally lead to side effects. It's important to be aware of these potential effects to make an informed decision. Common side effects may include temporary skin redness and irritation, which usually subside within a few hours or days. Some individuals may experience dryness or flakiness of the skin, which can be managed with proper skincare routine adjustments. Sensitivity to light, swelling, and temporary changes in skin pigmentation are also possible side effects.

Skin redness and irritation are the most frequently reported side effects of LED light therapy. This can occur due to the direct exposure of the skin to the light, but it is usually mild and temporary. Some individuals may experience dryness or flakiness of the skin, particularly if they have pre-existing dry skin conditions. It is important to ensure adequate moisturization and adjust the frequency and duration of the treatments to minimize these effects.

Sensitivity to light is another potential side effect of LED light therapy. This can manifest as increased sensitivity or discomfort when exposed to sunlight or bright artificial light sources. It is crucial to protect the skin during and after treatments by using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing. Swelling or inflammation may occur in rare cases, and if it persists or worsens, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional. Temporary changes in skin pigmentation, such as darkening or lightening of the skin, have also been reported, although these effects are usually transient.


Precautions and Safety Measures

To ensure the safe and effective use of LED light therapy for acne, it is important to follow certain precautions and safety measures. Firstly, consulting a healthcare professional before starting the treatment is highly recommended, especially if you have any underlying skin conditions or are taking medications that may interact with the therapy. Additionally, it is important to avoid LED light therapy if you are pregnant, have epilepsy, or have a history of light sensitivity disorders.

Following the manufacturer's instructions is crucial for proper usage of LED light therapy devices. Each device may have specific guidelines regarding treatment duration, intensity, and frequency. Gradually increasing the treatment duration and intensity can help minimize the risk of side effects. Starting with shorter sessions and gradually working your way up to longer durations allows your skin to adjust to the therapy.

Protecting the eyes during LED light therapy is of utmost importance. The eyes should be covered with goggles or protective eyewear to prevent any potential harm from the light exposure. Additionally, sensitive areas of the face, such as the lips or open wounds, should be covered or shielded during the treatment to avoid any discomfort or adverse reactions.

Maintaining proper skin hydration is essential to mitigate the dryness or flakiness that can occur as a side effect. Using gentle, non-irritating moisturizers and hydrating products can help replenish the skin's moisture barrier. It is important to choose products that are suitable for your skin type and free from potentially irritating ingredients.

Before initiating LED light therapy, it is advisable to perform a patch test to assess your skin's sensitivity to the treatment. Apply a small amount of the light therapy device to a small area of your skin and observe for any adverse reactions, such as redness, itching, or swelling. If any negative reactions occur, it is best to avoid using the therapy or consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.



LED light therapy offers a promising approach to treating acne, with its ability to target acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation. While generally safe and effective, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects that may occur during or after treatment. Common side effects such as skin redness, dryness, and sensitivity to light are usually mild and temporary. Rare but severe side effects such as burns, eye damage, or allergic reactions require immediate attention.

By taking precautions and following safety measures, you can minimize the risk of experiencing adverse effects. Consulting a healthcare professional, adhering to manufacturer's instructions, protecting the eyes, and maintaining proper skin hydration are essential steps to ensure the safe and effective use of LED light therapy for acne.

In conclusion, LED light therapy can be a valuable tool in the management of acne. By understanding the potential side effects and implementing safety measures, you can enjoy the benefits of this innovative treatment while minimizing any associated risks. As with any medical or skincare procedure, it is always wise to seek professional advice and make informed decisions based on your unique circumstances.