Light therapy is an increasingly popular treatment, both in-office and at-home, that can treat a range of skin complaints. With different light frequencies used for everything from acne to hyperpigmentation, it’s not surprising the painless procedure is proving so popular. It is often used as an add-on therapy after undergoing another cosmetic treatment, but there are many at-home solutions as well. We spoke to board certified dermatologist Betul Rakush, of Melbourne’s Ellies Dermatology about the different options and benefits of each.
The good light for our skin
Light therapy devices work by taking advantage of the skin's natural ability to metabolize light. We asked Dr. Rakush about how viable light therapy is as a standalone treatment, and she said: “Light therapy is a non-invasive yet effective add-on and a stand-alone treatment. Light therapy is most effective when used in combination with other treatments to augment their results, however results are noticeable even when no other product is used.
Sunlight is composed of UV rays. This stands for ultraviolet, and can either be UVA or UVB rays, long waves and short waves respectively. LED stands for light-emitting diode, which are infrared rays, another type of light that's safe for your skin. It was actually NASA that first discovered that LEDs had beneficial properties for collagen production in our skin, when it used them for plant growth stimulation. Now, beauty clinics all around the world have developed this technique as an effective skin treatment.
LED-ing the way
There are three main wavelengths of LED light, which all provide your skin different benefits. Red, orange and blue infrared lights have different wavelengths and perform different functions, with the orange light reaching further through the layers of your skin while blue kills bacteria. These three types of infrared lights all work in conjunction to promote mitochondria activity in your skin cells, which increases collagen production. The end result is clearer skin with less redness and blemishes, as well as a plumper, fuller texture that can last up to six months after treatment.
Your skin will be exposed to LED light for a set amount of time, usually 10 minutes, but no part of the process will any physical item touch your face. It's completely non-invasive, and many people find they prefer it to skin needling as it's such a contactless treatment.
LED light therapy provides longer-lasting results, so you may not leave the clinic looking refreshed immediately, but the process of rejuvenation and healing has been stimulated in your skin. You'll see results slowly over the next few months, which ultimately renews your complexion. It can be easily incorporated with other facial treatments for both instant and future results.
Talk to a board certified dermatologist about his or her recommended light therapy products best suited for your specific needs and desired results. Overall, light therapy can be used as an effective treatment for a multitude of skin complaints, most of which are linked to the overproduction of sebum or a lack of collagen.
While at-home devices are not as strong as those used in practices, they do provide very similar results at a very cheap price. While research hasn’t found any adverse side effects, the most commonly reported issue with using LED masks is light sensitivity, however, most devices now include protective glasses to prevent any potential damage or pain in the eye area