You've already learned the not-so-good news: The long-term effects of Blu-U aren't yet known. However, it seems that the side effects of the treatment are minimal and not very damaging. The light therapy does not go deep enough into your skin to affect the normal tissue -- only the acne lesions it's targeting. The treatment itself isn't painful, although it could be slightly uncomfortable to have your face in a chin rest for 15 minutes.
The reported side effects of Blu-U are usually mild and include redness or other temporary pigment changes, swelling of the treated areas and dryness. These symptoms should go away a few hours after the treatment is complete, so talk to your dermatologist if your skin is still red or dry after a few days.
There are a few more things you should know before making a Blu-U appointment. First, you can't undergo blue-light therapy if you're pregnant or nursing. Second, the treatment is meant for people who have the most common form of acne, Acne vulgaris. If you have nodulocystic acne lesions, blue-light therapy could actually make them worse. Nodulocystic acne is characterized by deep red, inflamed bumps and large cysts that may be filled with pus [source: AcneNet]. One possible side effect of using blue-light therapy to treat nodulocystic acne is scarring, something most acne patients work hard to avoid.
The facts on Blu-U are that it's relatively expensive, semi-effective and has minimal side effects. Knowing what it's all about before you sign up for a treatment is the best way to prepare your skin, mind and pocketbook for Blu-U. If you're still not sure this procedure is right for you, or you'd just like to find out more information about getting better skin, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- AcneNet. "Are laser and light treatments really light years ahead of conventional acne therapy?" (Accessed 09/11/09)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/article_lasers.html
- AcneNet. "Glossary." (Accessed 09/11/09)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/glossary.html#Nodulocystic%20acne
- ActinicKeratosesNet. "What are Actinic Keratoses?" (Accessed 09/11/09)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/ActinicKeratosesnet/whatare.html
- Alai, Nili N., M.D. "Photodynamic Therapy." (Accessed 9/11/09)http://www.medicinenet.com/photodynamic_therapy/article.htm
- DUSA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "Blu-U: Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data." December 3, 1999. (Accessed 09/11/09)http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cdrh_docs/pdf/P990019b.pdf
- Kansas City Skin Care Center. "Blu-U Acne Light Treatment." (Accessed 09/11/09)http://www.laser-derm.com/BLU-U.htm
- Mayo Clinic. "Acne treatments: Emerging therapies for clearer skin." April 19, 2008. (Accessed 09/11/09)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acne-treatments/SN00038
- Medline Plus. "X-Plain Tutorial: Acne." March 6, 2008. (Accessed 09/11/09)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/acne/dm019103.pdf
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. "'Blue-Light' Therapy Can Help Ward Off Skin Cancer." January 8, 2007. (Accessed 09/11/09)http://www.uihealthcare.com/news/news/2007/01/08skincancer.html