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27Jan

I’ve been using LED light therapy for rosacea since June 2015.  The first light I ever tried, an LED all-red light therapy powerhead, arrived on June 1, 2015, and I tried it that day.  I tracked my progress for quite some time and blogged about it for months.

To this day, it’s still one of the things I’m asked about the most on my blog site and Rosy JulieBC YouTube channel.  So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a summary of my complete experience with LED light therapy until now.

How it all got started

Rosy JulieBC - Example of what my rosacea flare-up looks likeWhen I first heard of light therapy, I’d already had rosacea symptoms for 15 years.  I’d tried prescription medications – lots of them – as well as a number of different drugstore products.  I’d tried some natural options with limited success.

For a while, I felt like I could live with a bit of redness on my cheeks, so I stopped trying.  Sometimes, I forgot it was even there (provided that it didn’t feel like my cheeks were burning at the time).

Unfortunately, that didn’t last. Over time, my symptoms became progressively worse and I knew I had to do something about them.  My rosacea became painful and ugly. It had moved on from the redness and burning of rosacea subtype 1, to include the papules, pustules and other spots that look like acne but that are actually rosacea subtype 2.

Why did I try light therapy on my rosacea symptoms?

One day, I brought it up in a conversation with a client of mine (I’m a freelance writer and book author in “real life”).  I’d worked as a writer and editor for this woman and her mother for years as they researched chromotherapy, phototherapy and light therapy as a part of their business.  The research was for purposes entirely unrelated to rosacea.
However, as fate would have it, rosacea was a focus they had been looking into for some time, for personal reasons. The daughter, who had taken the lead at the company by that point, had a number of theories based on credible, reputable research (conducted by universities and NASA, for instance) and based on what is known about wavelengths of light and the reaction of the skin in other areas.

Enter LED light therapy for rosacea

Rosy JulieBC - LED light therapy for rosacea and gogglesHere’s where I became very lucky.  I was asked if I would be willing to test high powered LED red light on my rosacea-prone skin to see what would happen. I was sent the powerhead bulb, a clamp light and a pair of protective goggles (despite the fact that there is no evidence that this wavelength could harm eyes when used in this way, better safe than sorry, right?).

My client also added an high powered LED green light in case I could use it indirectly (shining it on the wall of a dark room) for its effects in reducing anxiety and insomnia; two conditions I have in spades.

Different colors (wavelengths) of light therapy for skin care

Since that first red LED light, I have tried several light therapy colors.  Here’s how they worked on my symptoms:

  • Rosy JulieBC - LED Red light therapy for rosaceaRed light therapy – I used red light therapy on my face on a daily basis (I missed very few days) from June through September. I documented my progress on my blog and even made a YouTube videos about it.
    As this was a very high powered bulb, I needed to use it for only 90 to 180 seconds. Yup, a minute and a half to three minutes.  I decided to be “scientific” and tested 90 seconds on one side of my face and 180 on the other.
    The morning after the first use, I noticed a difference.  I figured it was the placebo effect.  My skin certainly didn’t look healed, but it didn’t seem as “angry”.  It felt better, too. The burning wasn’t as noticeable. I contacted my client and she was happy for me, but wasn’t surprised.  Apparently it’s not too uncommon to experience results on some level within a short time of starting LED light therapy.
    Over time, I continued tracking my progress.  I found a 2 minute balance for my skin that seemed to provide optimal results and the itching and burning essentially disappeared, the pimple-like bumps healed and over that summer, I had fewer flare-ups than I’d experienced in a long time. Was I cured? No.  Absolutely not.  However, this made a huge difference.
  • Rosy JulieBC - LED Amber light therapy for rosaceaAmber light therapy – I kept in touch with my client and by September, she’d come up with another theory and she asked me to test, involving amber (yellow) light therapy. After the success I’d seen with the red light therapy, I was certainly willing to test amber, too.  Soon enough, I had a bulb and was shining it on my face.
    I found this experience to be quite different.  It was calming and seemed to ease the redness slightly more quickly than the red was doing, but the pimple-like bumps started to come back and while the amber soothed flare-ups, it didn’t seem to prevent them.  The benefits were different, but incomplete for my type of rosacea symptoms. I documented this progress on my blog and YouTube channel, too.
  • Rosy JulieBC - LED Red and Amber light therapy for rosacea (Dual Care)Red and amber combined – Being the rosacea treatment guinea pig that I am, I decided to combine the use of both the red and amber lights to see what would happen. They each had different benefits on their own, so I hoped to take advantage of them both.
    Using both lights was more time consuming, and I had to figure out how to position both bulbs at the same time, but I got the hang of it.
    It was definitely the best experience I’d had so far.  The two lights seemed to provide me with a balance of both healing and calming.
    Apparently my client had been looking into the same thing.  While she’d had me trying out red and amber light therapies on my face, she’d been developing prototypes that would provide both colour wavelengths at the same time. By October, I had 2 prototypes in my hands and was among the people fortunate enough to try them out.  The prototypes differed from each other in their red-to-amber balance.  In my case, the light with more red than amber was the one that did the trick.  That was apparently the consensus because that prototype became a real product in February 2016.  It was so exciting to be a part of that trial and to see a real product being sold to customers and professionals alike. I was thrilled to tell people about it.
  • Rosy JulieBC - LED Blue light therapy for rosaceaBlue light therapy – I’ve since tried a lot of rosacea treatments, skin care, cosmetics and other products as Rosy JulieBC on YouTube and through my blog. Among them was a number of light therapy bulbs from another company.  The lower-powered LED red and yellow bulbs still worked great, though they needed significantly more time, but what I found interesting was that I was also sent a blue light to try.
    Blue light is often used to treat bacterial infections, including MRSA and even acne vulgaris. The owner of that company was curious to see if the blue light would either kill bacteria on the face that may play some unknown role in rosacea symptoms, or disrupt the life cycle of the demodex mites on the face (we all have them but for some reason many rosacea patients have more on their face than people who don’t have rosacea).
    As this was a lower-powered bulb, the light needed to be held directly against the skin with a clear plastic cover over it to keep the bulb clean. I tested the same patch for three months without seeing any difference in my symptoms.  That said, the light did indeed work to speed the healing of any occasional non-rosacea pimples that happened to pop up on my face!
    In my case, blue light therapy didn’t do anything for my rosacea that I could tell.
  • Rosy JulieBC - LED Green light therapy for rosaceaGreen light therapy – After testing the blue light, I realized that I actually had another light therapy product in my possession that I could turn toward my rosacea: the green light my client had sent me a year and a half beforehand to treat my anxiety and insomnia.
    I took on this test on my own.
    I researched green light therapy and talked to some other rosacea patients through some forums in which I participate (side note: I highly recommend rosacea forums for support and great information).
    I learned that green light therapy is known for being very soothing to the skin.  While it’s often used to reduce sun damage and hyperpigmentation, to me the way the wavelengths are believed to function in the skin looked like they could also benefit rosacea symptoms.
    I discussed this with a number of people and the conclusion to which we arrived was that using green light after red light exposure might do the trick.
    My strategy was to use my red-amber light therapy bulb and follow it up by a green light therapy session. My goal was primarily to reduce the permanent redness I have on my face. After nearly 2 decades with rosacea, some of the redness simply doesn’t go away, even when I’m not having a flare-up.
    After 3 months of daily use of the two lights (the red-amber and the green) I did see a small amount of progress in the permanent redness.  My “mask” of permanent redness had receded slightly and I had two lighter patches forming in the very centre of my cheeks.  The progress was slight, but it was there.  I’ve been continuing the use in the hopes of maintaining this slow and gradual progress.

Rosy JulieBC - rosacea symptoms under controlOverall, light therapy for rosacea has been among the most effective treatments I’ve ever tried. I still have some redness and I do get the occasional rosacea flare-up, but they’re few and far between and don’t last nearly as long.

My experience with the lights has been side-effect free, quick and easy.  The lights I use are rated for a minimum lifespan of 25 years when used for far longer periods of time than I use them, so there isn’t anything that needs to be replaced.  Now that I have them, I have a lifetime of treatments.

I wouldn’t call it a silver bullet.  To be honest, I don’t think that exists.  There is no rosacea cure because each case is unique to the patient and symptoms are caused and triggered by different things.

I’d also like to point out that I don’t use light therapy as a rosacea treatment on its own.  I follow what I call a “Rosy Lifestyle.” It includes trigger avoidance (including identifying triggers and keeping away from them as much as possible), very gentle and consistent skin care and eating a nutritious diet that includes a healthy dose of antioxidants and ingredients known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

This combination is a very powerful one and while I wouldn’t say my rosacea is gone, I will say that it is under control the vast majority of the time. I  also think it is continually improving.  For that reason, I’ll be more than happy to use LED light therapy for rosacea as I keep up my Rosy Lifestyle for the rest of my life.

  

Julie B. Campbell

Fantasy fiction novelist (Perspective series) and freelance writer, Julie B. Campbell, is passionate about learning, testing, reviewing and sharing on the topic of rosacea; a condition from which she has suffered for over a decade and a half. Julie’s “Rosy Friends” are a community of followers on YouTube, social media and her blog, where she documents her experiences with rosacea and the treatments and products she has tried over the years.

Julie first created her blog in the hopes of helping to reduce the struggle for her Rosy Friends in identifying personal rosacea triggers and discovering the right skin care and treatment strategy for their unique skin needs and budget, while doing the same for herself. This effort rapidly expanded onto YouTube, Facebook and Twitter where she is known as Rosy JulieBC.

As there is neither a cure nor a single treatment that works for all rosacea sufferers, Julie shares her own 15+ years of trial-and-error to give people ideas to discuss with their doctors and dermatologists when developing their own treatment strategies. These include everything from finding topical skin care and treatment products to healthful eating habits, from avoiding triggers to using daily LED light therapy and from sun protection to lifestyle hacks.

Subscribe to her Rosy JulieBC YouTube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa4eyHgRRpEIJSsNfc3PhSw

19 Responses to Why I’ll Gladly Use LED Light Therapy for Rosacea for the Rest of My Life

  1. Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    usually it show on when you have scarcity of vitamins

  2. Jane

    Like the other poster mentioned, B12 deficiency could play a part in your rosacea. I have been suffering from rosacea since 2004 and I’ve found some treatments that work for me, but do not work for a friend of mine. For me, topical creams are enough but she needs laser therapy. I think every bought with rosacea is unique to each person. Lasers never helped me but cheap OTC topical creams do. Go figure.

    • Julie B. Campbell

      I agree that vitamin deficiencies can sometimes play a role. I’ve had my B12 levels tested and they’re just fine, so I guess that’s not a factor in my case, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t affect others. I’m currently curious about the role vitamin D is playing. I haven’t had that tested yet. I’m glad you’ve found an OTC topical cream that has worked for you. It’s wild how we all have to find what works for our own unique cases, isn’t it!
      I hope the creams keep working for you. Take care 🙂

  3. Nicole

    Hello Julie,
    May I ask what specific product brand of LED light do you use? Your results look fantastic!

    • Julie B. Campbell

      Hi Nicole! Thank you for your question and for the lovely compliment!
      The light I’m currently using is called the Dual Care from Smarter Lights. That’s the third light I discussed in this blog post. It is an American company, but it ships internationally and sells bulbs for various international voltages (since the UK and US, for example, don’t have the same kind of light sockets/voltages).
      All the lights I’ve tried have been from that company, except the blue light I discussed in the blog, which is from a company called RubyLux. They only sell the North American kind of bulb, as far as I understand it.
      I use the Dual Care nearly daily (I sometimes forget) and I use the Pure Green light from Smarter Lights once or twice per week to try to take down the permanent redness on my face. That’s more of an added experiment, though. I feel it’s the Dual Care doing the bulk of the work.
      I hope this information helps you!

  4. Jessica

    Hi, are you able to tell me who the manufacturer for this lamp please?

    • Julie B. Campbell

      Hi Jessica! Of course! I use the Dual Care from Smarter Lights on a daily basis. It’s the red/amber combination light I talk about in the blog. It’s from a company in the U.S. but they ship worldwide and have bulbs for international voltages and socket types. I also use the Pure Green light from that company, once or twice per week, but that’s for the permanent redness, not the actual symptom healing and prevention. I feel I experience the healing and symptoms control nearly exclusively from the Dual Care (on top of my trigger prevention and careful skin care, of course)
      Thanks for the question. I hope this information helps you out!

  5. Chris

    Hi your blog was a very impressive read
    I suffer with mild acne rosacea from accutane that treated bad acne in my early twenties and very very Persitent facial seborrheic dermatitis in my beard area and nasal folds. I am just wondering if you think the dual light would be best for me to try and get these conditions under control and make me much less conscious of them

    Thanks
    Chris

  6. Meadow

    My rosacea has cleared up. I used dermalmd rosacea serum along with another that is very drying to my skin. My redness cleared up except I did not have a very bad outbreak to begin with. I started with red cheeks and nose, no pimples or sores. I may have used the dermalmd just in time to save me from sever outbreak. The only issue I had was around my eyes was sensitive from the cream and made my eyes water.

  7. Mike boss

    How did you determine the light intensity to use. Our is there just one type I’m not sure if I’m says asked it right. Is it a 100w 150 w etc…if so how did you determine which one to use

  8. Skylo

    Hi Nicole, nice read. Red light therapy has helped my wife who suffers from rosacea and I use it for frontal sininus infections and it helps. My wife got here info from here:
    http://redlightclinic.com/red-light-therapy-and-rosacea/

  9. Lindsey C

    Hi Julie! Thanks you so much for writing this. I’ve been struggling with type 2 rosacea for 2.5 years. After spending $100s on creams and “miracle cures” people have mentioned … I finally invested In a light therapy mask. So glad I did … 5 days in and already starting to see results!

    Quick question – did you ever speak to a professional on whether or not LED light therapy was safe to use daily? (just wondering because it sounds too good to be true!)

    Thank you!!

  10. Mary

    Hi Julie, For the past two weeks I have been dealing with another outbreak of Rosacea and now with Demodex mites. I have 10 pimples that are not going away. Now I notice my forehead and the other cheek, bumps for no reason. Since this is the beginning would you recommend the red light and can I just go to Home Depot and purchase these kinds of lights. If not could you give exact directions what kind of socket and bulbs and where to purchase? Thank You for helping others, you’re very generous.

  11. Soma ali

    Hello

    Can people with diabetes type 1 use LED facial mask? If yes or not what are some alternatives to light therapy?

  12. Norma

    Thank you for your inspiring account. You must be thrilled with the results of your determination. Will be digging out my infrared light.

  13. Pingback: Red Light Therapy Benefits: Everything You Need to Know About It

  14. Sada

    Hi Julie!

    How do you prep your skin before doing the light therapy? I had a facial with red light therapy recently and it was wonderful so I am thinking of investing in the bulbs you described above and doing it at home, but cant really seem to find anyone’s routine to prep the skin for it.

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