Highlighting nuances of blue light phototherapy: mechanisms and safety considerations

Natallia E. Uzunbajakava*, Desmond J. Tobin, Natalia V. Botchkareva, Christine Dierickx, Peter Bjerring, Godfrey Town

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


The efficacy of blue light therapy in dermatology relies on numerous clinical studies. The safety remains a topic of controversy, where potentially deleterious effects were derived from in vitro rather than in vivo experiments. The objectives of this work were (1) to highlight the nuances behind "colors" of blue light, light propagation in tissue and the plurality of modes of action; and (2) to rigorously analyze studies on humans reporting both clinical and histological data from skin biopsies with focus on DNA damage, proliferation, apoptosis, oxidative stress, impact on collagen, elastin, immune cells, and pigmentation. We conclude that blue light therapy is safe for human skin. It induces intriguing skin pigmentation, in part mediated by photoreceptor Opsin-3, which might have a photoprotective effect against ultraviolet irradiation. Future research needs to unravel photochemical reactions and the most effective and safe parameters of blue light in dermatology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200257
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Biophotonics published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • dermatology
  • melanins
  • photobiology
  • photochemical processes
  • phototherapy
  • pigmentation
  • safety


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