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Advice

Last Updated Feb 1, 2024

Can you use an LED mask while taking doxycycline?

Author
|
Board-Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Muneeb Shah

Yes. You can use an LED Mask when taking doxycycline. 

In dermatology, doxycycline is an antibiotic prescribed to treat acne, rosacea, and skin infections. Photosensitivity is a known side effect, therefore it is important to avoid excessive sun exposure and to wear protective clothing and sunscreen when taking this medication. A reaction will appear as an exaggerated sunburn, causing redness, blistering, and peeling of the affected areas.

The interaction between sunlight and doxycycline is a type of phototoxicity, meaning that the drug interacts with UV light to cause damage to the skin. This is due to their chemical structure, which allows them to absorb energy from UV rays and produce reactive oxygen species that can harm cells. Studies have shown that the spectrum of light that interacts with doxycycline is the UVA spectrum, from 340-400nm.

Since LED masks produce light in the visible spectrum, blue light (415nm) and red light (630nm), they should not interact with doxycycline. In fact, one study in 2019 showed that Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) in a similar light spectrum did not cause any interaction with doxycycline (3). 

Doctor's Note

Doxycycline increases your risk of sunburn due to a phototoxic interaction between UVA light and the medication

Always wear sunscreen when outside while taking doxycycline

Yes, you can continue using your LED mask while taking doxycycline

The wavelength of light that causes phototoxic reactions seen with doxycycline is different than the wavelength produced by LED masks

The Research

  • Hasan T, Kochevar IE, McAuliffe DJ, Cooperman BS, Abdulah D. Mechanism of tetracycline phototoxicity. J Invest Dermatol. 1984
  • Goetze S, Hiernickel C, Elsner P. Phototoxicity of Doxycycline: A Systematic Review on Clinical Manifestations, Frequency, Cofactors, and Prevention. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2017
  • Schilling LM, Halvorson CR, Weiss RA, Weiss MA, Beasley KL. Safety of Combination Laser or Intense Pulsed Light Therapies and Doxycycline for the Treatment of Rosacea. Dermatol Surg. 2019
  • Listiawan, M. Y., Prakoeswa, C. R. S., Handamari, D. A., & Indira, R. (2017). EFFECTS OF BLUE LIGHT EMITTING DIODE (LED) AND DOXYCYCLINE TO SEBACEOUS GLAND IN ACNE VULGARISFolia Medica Indonesiana53(4), 272–275.

Dr. Muneeb Shah

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Muneeb Shah headshot

Dr. Muneeb Shah

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Muneeb Shah is a double Board-Certified Dermatologist and Micrographic Dermatologic Surgeon in Hudson Yards, New York. He is passionate about educating the public on common skin issues and has accrued a following of 21+ million across his social media platforms on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Location: New York City, NY

Doctor's Note

Doxycycline increases your risk of sunburn due to a phototoxic interaction between UVA light and the medication

Always wear sunscreen when outside while taking doxycycline

Yes, you can continue using your LED mask while taking doxycycline

The wavelength of light that causes phototoxic reactions seen with doxycycline is different than the wavelength produced by LED masks

The Research

  • Hasan T, Kochevar IE, McAuliffe DJ, Cooperman BS, Abdulah D. Mechanism of tetracycline phototoxicity. J Invest Dermatol. 1984
  • Goetze S, Hiernickel C, Elsner P. Phototoxicity of Doxycycline: A Systematic Review on Clinical Manifestations, Frequency, Cofactors, and Prevention. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2017
  • Schilling LM, Halvorson CR, Weiss RA, Weiss MA, Beasley KL. Safety of Combination Laser or Intense Pulsed Light Therapies and Doxycycline for the Treatment of Rosacea. Dermatol Surg. 2019
  • Listiawan, M. Y., Prakoeswa, C. R. S., Handamari, D. A., & Indira, R. (2017). EFFECTS OF BLUE LIGHT EMITTING DIODE (LED) AND DOXYCYCLINE TO SEBACEOUS GLAND IN ACNE VULGARISFolia Medica Indonesiana53(4), 272–275.

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