“The New “Blue Light Special”

Kmart made the phrase famous (i.e. for those too young to recall, it refers to the store’s practice of randomly announcing on-the-spot discounts on certain goods for a limited amount of time by using a flashing blue light).

Now the term “blue light” has come up in medical discussions and yes, even infomercials. Specifically blue LED light is being talked about as a cure for acne, gum disease, rosacea, and even MERSA. While the findings might not be new – in 2000 the British Journal of Dermatology reported favorable results in the treatment of acne using phototherapy that mixes blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light – the idea that blue LED light can aid in healing is gaining popularity.

In fact, Philips has a section of its Web site called “Blue LED light — the new and gentle therapy option” in which it explains that blue LED therapy is “significantly different [from] established light therapies, such as warming infrared therapy or potentially cell-damaging UV therapy. Blue LED light activates natural biochemical processes in the body without the side effects medication can have.”

While flipping through TV channels recently, I stumbled across an infomercial touting the illuMask® as “a clinically proven treatment for mild to moderate acne.” This at-home device reportedly uses wavelengths of blue and red light: “Blue light kills the bacteria. Red light boosts your natural cell turnover and healing process to calm inflammation, clear and smooth your skin.”

In this issue’s article on light and how it is making waves in the healthcare sector (see page 32, Here’s to Your Health), there are emerging opportunities for the lighting industry to play a bigger role in the area of “health and wellness.”

You’ve heard it said over and over again, but the lighting industry is truly poised for tremendous growth in virtually untapped areas such as this. Bringing the idea of wellness benefits to our customer base is something we should be examining in the future.

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