How are Red and Blue Light Therapy Devices Different?

High fashion model with red and blue lights shining on her skin.

Updated 2/11/2021

When choosing a light therapy device, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the LED color. Red light therapy and blue light therapy each offer convenient, clinical strength skin care treatments you can administer at home. However, different wavelengths of LED light, from infrared to blue, provide different benefits for a range of health and beauty applications.

Before investing in a home light therapy device, it is important to understand what each LED color treats to ensure you select the right device for your unique skin care needs.

What is LED Light Therapy?

LED light therapy is a skincare treatment using different wavelengths of light, including red, blue, and infrared. Originally developed by NASA for plant growth experiments, it was later found to have applications in wound treatment, bone and muscles loss. LED light therapy does not contain ultraviolet rays, meaning light therapy is safe for regular use. 

Researchers have found that specific wavelengths of light have different effects on the cells of the body. When used in combination, these wavelengths can produce powerful results for your skincare regimen.

Why Are There Different Colors of Light therapy?

White light is made up of multiple wavelengths, each representing a color of the rainbow. In fact, a rainbow is just pure white light refracting through droplets of water in the atmosphere. This phenomenon separates the wavelengths that are visible to the human eye. 

Researchers have identified the specific wavelengths of light that exert different effects on the cells of the body. Blue and red light, specifically, confer beneficial effects on skin cells. Home light therapy devices produce these wavelengths with high power LED micro-chips. The devices also eliminate harmful and non-productive light wavelengths, such as UV rays present in sunlight, and deliver concentrated doses of only the safe, effective light wavelengths.

What Is Red Light Therapy? 

Red light boosts blood flow while spurring the production of collagen and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), improving skin tone and texture. Infrared light, with a wavelength of 880nm and red light, with a wavelength of 660nm, work in combination to create a regenerating effect in aging skin. This light has a longer wavelength, enabling it to penetrate deeper into the skin than blue light. 

Red Light Therapy Benefits

Red light therapy stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, helping cells reproduce faster. The result is the general reduction and reversal of fine lines and wrinkles along with firmer, plumper skin texture. Red light therapy can reduce: 

  • Inflammation
  • Skin discoloration
  • The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Sun and age spots

Red and infrared LED light also provide a soothing effect on the external layers of skin, enhancing natural coloration while reducing the signs of aging due to blemishes, sun, and age spots.

What Is Blue Light Therapy? 

Blue light therapy penetrates the pores and eliminates bacteria. While some bacteria are helpful, others promote oil production and other blemish-causing conditions. Blue light activates chemicals inside these bacteria, which ruptures their outer walls, destroying the cell and their ability to form acne and other imperfections. 

Blue Light Therapy Benefits

A review of several studies indicates that LED light therapy devices can improve a range of skin conditions, including psoriasis and mild-to-moderate acne. Rosacea and sun damage are also ideal candidates for blue light therapy treatments. reVive Light Therapy® incorporates Deep Penetrating Light (dpl®) technology into our blue light products as well, which allows our light to penetrate deeper into the skin structure and treat bacteria that reside at a depth that traditional acne treatment topicals can’t reach.

What’s the Difference Between Red and Blue Light Therapy?

Red and blue light are at different wavelengths, and therefore have different effects on the skin. Where red light therapy helps at the surface level of the skin — stimulating collagen, reducing inflammation — blue light therapy penetrates the pores and eliminates bacteria. 

Can You Use Red and Blue Light Therapy Together? 

Red light therapy and blue light therapy are often used together and complement one another. Here are some of the skin conditions that red and blue light therapy, together, can treat: 

  • Acne
  • Inflammation
  • Scarring
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Signs of aging, including age spots and wrinkles
  • Wound healing
  • Other skin conditions caused by inflammation

Red and Blue Light Therapy for Psoriasis

Some research has shown that red and blue light therapy can improve plaques in psoriasis patients. However, more research is needed to know the long-term efficacy.

Red and Blue Light Therapy for Dermatitis and Eczema

A 2016 study in the journal Dermatology showed that blue light therapy was safe and effective in reducing lesions caused by eczema.

Red and Blue Light Therapy For Acne Treatment

Combining red and blue light therapy treats acne more efficiently than blue light alone: as blue light destroys the acne-causing bacteria beneath the skin’s surface, the red light reduces inflammation and accelerates healing.

Before and after images of the forehead of a reVive Light Therapy acne device user showing a decrease in acne blemishes.
Before and After Acne Treatment Photo

View reVive Light Therapy® acne treatment devices here.

How Often Should I Use My Red or Blue Light Therapy Device?

The guidelines for use are similar for most red and blue light therapy devices. However, if you are using blue light, you should wear goggles to protect your eyes. To maximize results, use the system in one treatment area for 3 minutes. Hold the device steady without moving around. After 3 minutes you will move to the next treatment area. 

When you first start red or blue light therapy treatments, try once a day use for the first 45-60 days. After that, you may continue to use the system daily, or you may decrease it to two to three times per week depending on what works for you. Everyone’s skin is unique and will respond differently when using light therapy. We suggest that you consult with your preferred health or skin care professional and also take before and after photos to monitor your results.

At-Home Blue and Red Light Therapy Devices

reVive Light Therapy®️ and dpl®️ sell at-home devices that use red, blue, or multiple colors of light technology to treat some of the most stubborn skin conditions. All you need is a few minutes in your day to get younger, healthier looking skin.

Some of our best-selling products that combine red and blue light therapy include: 

For more light therapy at-home products, browse our entire selection.

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