Dermalux sounds like a european country, but actually it is a fantastic light box for treating acne.

UV lamps have previously been used for this, but that ages your skin. This uses visible light, and isn't associated with skin aging.

It works by using two forms of visible light- blue light of a particular frequency, and red light of another.

The combination of these two colours actually reduces acne by up to 75%!

Ok. I know what you're thinking:

a) this is an advertisement- he works for them or something

- actually, no, I bought one of these boxes, and I like it a lot.

b) how can blue and red light improve acne?

Well, research has shown that red light on skin improves skin repair- astronauts have used red/infrared light in space to help heal skin cuts- it turns out that skin doesn't heal as fast in zero-g and this helps the process along. The red light acts on the mitochrondrias proteins and improve energy supply; this allows the cells to repair damaged areas more quickly, and the red light helps the skin in the pore to grow more evenly which helps keep it clear.

The blue light is the real secret however. Deep down in the pores of the skin, far below where you can wash are small anaerobic microbes called Propionibacterium acnes. These bacteria live on the oils secreted by the skin. They're in everyone's skin, but grow more quickly on people with acne. These bacteria create chemicals that can break down the skin; and multiply readily wherever a pore gets blocked. The skin tears and breaks down, and the fats and bacteria then leak into the surrounding tissues and form an acne spot.

The blue light acts on 'porphorins'-chemicals in the bacteria , and the light creates free radicals- these kill these bacteria, and this helps stop spots forming. Human skin doesn't have any porphorins, so is unaffected. Because the free radicals are in the oil in the pore, not in the cells of the skin, no aging affect occurs (unlike ultraviolet from the Sun or tanning lamps) and it's very kind to skin indeed.

I love my box! I find not only does it very significantly reduce my acne, but it greatly improves the appearance of my skin in general. I've only had positive side effects, and the treatment takes 10-15 minutes a day for the first 3 months, and is discomfort free. After 3 months, acne usually goes into remission, with only occasional top-ups of the box required.

The only real downside is the Dermalux box is that it is relatively expensive (about 300 dollars); but once you've bought it, the treatment costs a fraction of a penny per day.

Still, I personally find it works better than any prescription drug I have tried, and, for me, about as well Accutane, though not as long lasting, but with no drastic side effects. However, as with any treatment it's not going to work for everyone and it is only recommended for mild - moderate acne. The only other annoying thing is that it takes a good 6 weeks to start to work, and many people give up too early...

You can buy the box in the UK, there's a similar treatment available in America called Clearlight, which uses the same blue light, and it cleared FDA approval on 20 August 2002.

In general I believe it works better, and is cheaper than similar treatments you can get at the dermatologist (the dermalux works better because you can apply it every day, the dermatologist is applied every week or so, and although stronger, can't be used as consistently.)

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