1982 Eastwood Road
Wilmington , NC , 28403

Using Broad Spectrum Light for Acne Treatment

Acne is caused by hormonal conditions that affect the skin in such a way as to encourage the growth of bacteria. Hormonal conditions cause clogged pores and excessive sebum, allowing bacteria to multiple unchecked, leading to redness and swelling. There are many different treatments for acne, including topical ointments and oral medications. However, some people cannot tolerate the side effects from these treatments, and others do not have a satisfactory outcome. An alternative for acne treatment is light therapy at Head to Toe Med Spa.

Light Therapy

The bacteria that live on the skin can be killed by exposure to intense light. The light energy creates free radicals inside the bacteria, killing them while causing minimal side effects to the surrounding skin. Blue wavelengths of light are sometimes used on their own for this purpose, but a more effective approach is to use a broad spectrum of light waves that includes blue, red, and other colors.

Blue light is most effective in killing bacteria, but red light seems to penetrate the skin more effectively and help reduce inflammation and speed healing of lesions. Some wavelengths of light also seem to affect the sebum glands, causing them to shrink and produce less sebum. Choosing a broad-spectrum light source allows all of these mechanisms to occur simultaneously.


Light therapy can be used to treat the most common types of acne characterized by red, inflamed pimples. However, it cannot be used to treat deep cystic acne, and it is fairly ineffective for treating whiteheads and blackheads. Whiteheads and blackheads are caused by clogged pores, not by the growth of bacteria.

What to Expect

In some cases, we may apply a special chemical to the face to improve the effectiveness of the light therapy. In all cases, protective goggles should be worn over the eyes. The patient sits immediately in front of a special box that emits strong light on the face, with the face held very closely to the light box. Each treatment takes about 10 minutes, and most patients will need a series of bi-weekly or even daily treatments in order to get satisfactory results. The treatments are painless.

Side Effects

Side effects can include temporary reddening of the skin, and on rare occasions, crusting or peeling of the skin. For best results, most patients need to use additional acne-control medications in addition to undergoing light therapy. However, individuals being treated with Accutane cannot use light therapy as well because Accutane makes the skin extremely sensitive to light.

At Head to Toe Med Spa, we’ll work with you to help you get the beautiful, smooth skin you deserve. Contact Head to Toe Med Spa today to schedule your consultation and start your journey to clear, acne-free skin.