Systematic review: Evidence about effectiveness of blue light therapy for acne is lacking

Conclusions about the effectiveness of blue light therapy for acne are limited. A new systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials of blue light therapy for acne shows methodological and reporting limitations--including small sample sizes, short intervention periods, and variation in reporting quality for acne outcomes.

Only three of the trials reported significant improvements in expert-assessed acne severity with blue light therapy over a control group. The majority of trials do not provide sufficient evidence to conclude effectiveness. Acne is one of the most common reasons for clinical consultations. Market and patient demand is high for light therapy as an alternative to antibiotic approaches to acne treatment. Because evidence for blue light therapy is not conclusive, patients should discuss with their clinicians the possible benefits, costs, and alternatives for acne treatment. Blue light therapy may be beneficial for some patients, but more research is needed.

Journal reference:

Scott, A.M., et al. (2019) Blue-Light Therapy for Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Annals of Family Medicine.


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