Answer: Asking if a particular acne laser treatment is more of less effective can be a little misleading. It’s misleading because what may be effective for one person may not be effective for another.
Blue light treatment for acne targets the bacteria that causes the skin inflammation that we call “acne”, Propionibacterium acnes (often referred to as P. acnes).
This bacteria produces toxins that act as foreign invaders to the immune system. When the immune system attacks, inflammation occurs which results in redness, swelling, etc.
If you have mild to moderate inflammatory acne that is not caused from excessively-oily skin, then a treatment that utilizes a very narrow band of high intensity light in the spectrum of 405 to 420 nanometers (blue light) can be effective.
On the other hand, if your acne is caused by excessively oily skin or over-productive sebaceous glands, then something a little more “hard-hitting” may be more effective than blue light lasers… the use of IPL or other wavelengths of light sources may be more appropriate, since they actually shrink the sebaceous glands that produce the oil in the first place (a treatment very similar to Accutane, but far safer to the liver).
Recent research has shown, however, that blue light therapy can be used to active ALA (aminolevulinic acid), as discussed in another FAQ on this site. However, this completely changes the effectiveness of the blue light… and even through combining this blue light laser treatment with ALA increases its effectiveness, it also increases the chances of side effects and increases recovery time, too.
The advantage to using blue light therapy is that it’s considered so safe that it has now been approved for use in the home, without a trained practitioner. Since it may take several visits per week for several months, the fact that in-home units exit is great news for acne sufferers who either cannot afford multiple doctor visits or live in remote areas.