PROMO: $50 Off & Free 2-Day Shipping | Use Code SAVE50
You’ve copied the code! You can apply it during checkout.

What’s the Connection Between Glycolic Acid and LED Light Therapy?

A dropper full of glycolic acid represents the connection between glycolic acid and LED light therapy.


Acne can ruin your day in a flash — and not just for teenagers.

Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder that affects approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24. But turning 25 doesn’t mean you’re in the clear: acne breakouts can occur at any age, no matter your skin type, gender, or lifestyle.

Don’t panic — several acne treatment options are available for all ages, including glycolic acid and LED light therapy. Both can be effective individually, but can you use glycolic acid and LED light therapy together? How do they interact?

Keep reading to find out!

An Overview of LED Light Therapy

What is LED light therapy, anyway?

“LED” stands for “light-emitting diode.” LED light therapy is a type of non-invasive skincare treatment in which LEDs produce specific wavelengths of light from the visible light spectrum — usually blue and red light — to treat various ailments on and under the skin.

Because excess oil on the skin clogs pores and triggers acne, reducing oil production prevents breakouts. Blue light therapy does just that, treating acne by reducing the skin’s oil-production and killing the skin’s acne-causing bacteria.

Blue light therapy also produces an anti-inflammatory effect that improves acne and other conditions, too, including eczema and psoriasis.

Red light wavelengths affect the skin on a cellular level and penetrate deeper than blue light to boost circulation and stimulate collagen production while decreasing inflammation and contributing to lower oil production. Red light therapy’s positive effects include:

Now that you understand how blue and red LED light therapy work together to improve your skin, let’s look at glycolic acid.

All About Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), known for its ability to heal the skin and reduce the frequency and severity of acne breakouts.

As a chemical exfoliator, glycolic acid helps your skin to shed its top layer. With that layer goes the excess oil and dead skin cells that clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Because glycolic acid has a small molecular structure, it’s able to penetrate deep layers of the skin, where it’s believed to stimulate collagen growth.

Glycolic acid is also a humectant, meaning it enables the skin cells to retain more moisture. Many common acne treatments can be drying — benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur, for example — but moisture retention is crucial for acne-prone skin.

Several types of skincare products may list glycolic acid as an active ingredient, including cleansers, moisturizers, serums, peels, and masks. Because all these products contain glycolic acid, they have an exfoliating effect, so there’s no need to manually exfoliate your skin with vigorous scrubbing to remove the top layer.

A study conducted in 2020 found that high concentrations of glycolic acid have an antibacterial effect. This may also prevent acne breakouts.

In clinics, dermatologists often use glycolic acid peels to treat scars, photoaging, and inflammatory skin conditions such as acne.

Glycolic Acid and LED Light Therapy

So, what is the relationship between glycolic acid and LED light therapy? Does glycolic acid improve LED light therapy treatments? 

Unfortunately, as of this writing, no studies have tested the results of using glycolic acid and LED light therapy simultaneously. However, glycolic acid and LED light therapy are both proven treatments for acne-prone skin, so it makes sense that they would work well in tandem.

Additionally, light therapy has virtually no adverse side effects that would negatively impact treatment with glycolic acid. The only recommendations for aftercare following glycolic acid application are avoiding direct sunlight for a few days and using an SPF sunscreen. LED light therapy excludes ultraviolet (UV) light, which is the reason for such caution.

Let’s look at how you might use glycolic acid and LED light therapy together for the best result.

Infographic: What’s the Connection Between Glycolic Acid and LED Light Therapy?

How to Use Glycolic Acid and LED Light Therapy Together

Ready to try glycolic acid and LED light therapy together? Start by deciding how you want to get your light therapy treatments. Dermatologists, estheticians, and skincare clinics in your area may offer professional LED light therapy treatments, or you can purchase a cost-effective at-home device. Clinical research has proven the effectiveness of at-home light therapy devices for mild-to-moderate acne.

After your light therapy treatment session, use the glycolic acid-based product of your choice. Keep in mind that not all types of skin can tolerate glycolic acid. If you’re prone to excessive drying or have sensitive skin, glycolic acid may not work for you. Additionally, people with darker skin tones may need to consult a dermatologist before using glycolic acid, which can cause hyperpigmentation.

Common side effects of glycolic acid include:

  • A burning sensation on the skin
  • Redness 
  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Excessive itching or irritation
  • Allergic reaction

To prevent these side effects, start by applying a small amount of the glycolic acid product to a small patch of skin. Once you know your skin can tolerate the product, slowly increase the quantity and frequency of use.

If your skin condition worsens, your skin becomes sensitive, or you experience serious adverse side effects, consult your dermatologist right away.

Glycolic Acid and LED Light Therapy: Final Thoughts

Although no clinical evidence yet exists proving glycolic acid and LED light therapy work effectively in combination, both treatments have powerful skin-healing effects that could work tandem.

With a little careful trial and error, you may discover a combination of glycolic acid and LED light therapy is the perfect recipe for your skincare routine.

Quote: What’s the Connection Between Glycolic Acid and LED Light Therapy?
Older Post
Newer Post
Something went wrong, please contact us!

SPECIAL PROMO: $50 Off & Free 2-Day Shipping | SAVE50

Shopping cart

Shipping: FREE
Estimated Total: $