Let’s Give LED Some LOVE
The Brilliance of Light Therapy
You’ve more than likely heard the beauty buzz surrounding LED therapy. While skeptics await the arrival of more research before taking a firm stance, other skin experts — including dermatologists and estheticians — are utilizing the skin-regenerating powers of LED light, or light-emitting diodes, in their offices and salon offerings. These days, light therapy masks, bibs, and more are now popping up everywhere from dermatologist’s offices and treatment rooms, to our very own homes.
It is easy with buzzy new treatments to get caught up in the hype and forget to do your research. But before buying a pricey beauty device, it’s important to understand the technology. When vetting a potential supplier, check to see whether their chosen wavelengths are backed by evidence, whether or not the device FDA-cleared, how many bulbs they use (relative to other brands), and whether or not they incorporate near-infrared light, as well. These are just a few of the ways to know if you are investing in a quality product, or being duped by a marketing gimmick.
The origin of the medical usage of LED and infrared light begins with NASA, the space program, and household name. Believe it or not, the glowing devices we use on our skin were originally used by astronauts in space! It began when NASA scientists were trying to find a solution to keep plants thriving in space and turned to plant biology experts for answers. Research on LED not only showed marked success with our green friends but gave way to reveal that it promotes tissue healing in humans, too. From there, it was only a matter of time before its effects on the skin were documented in scientific terms.
LED’s skincare benefits come down to specific wavelengths of lights that have been clinically shown to yield results in the skin. For instance, The Light Salon creates their devices using 633nm red light and 830nm near-infrared light, both of which have been shown to stimulate collagen and elastin production (helping to soften fine lines and wrinkles), while improving circulation and the oxygenation of skin cells. The light essentially charges the skin cell, powering it with light energy to perform its intended functions efficiently — including repair.
Different colors of light are said to yield different results. For improvements in the structural components of the skin, collagen and elastin, red and near-infrared lights are the way to go. They are said to have the ability to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles via boosted collagen, as well as tightening sagging skin by promoting elastin. Because this is stimulating the skin’s innate repair process, it can help with everything from sun damage to acne scarring. It is also a fantastic treatment for promoting skin healing following a micro-needling or laser treatment.
“DIFFERENT COLORS OF LIGHT ARE SAID TO YIELD DIFFERENT RESULTS.”
If you struggle with acne, find a device that offers a blue-light feature, which helps to target the p.acnes bacteria that lives on the surface of the skin. P.acnes lives on everybody’s skin, but on oily skin types, and when deprived of oxygen, it proliferates to a degree that results in inflammation and breakouts.
Green is said to help with pigmentation, which can come as a result of sun exposure (in the form of dark spots or freckles) as well as following breakouts in the form of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
As far as who to purchase from, do your research and vet your brands carefully. Keep in mind that the sheer number of bulbs in office device makes for a significantly more potent treatment than you will receive from an at-home version. For instance, clients of celebrity esthetician Joanna Vargas swear by sessions in her full-body Revitalight bed and facial treatments beneath the Celluma lamps. At-home options vary in price, but on the luxury end of the spectrum, we are partial to the celebrity-approved Déesse Pro, or for a more affordable option, the Omnilux Contour LED Face Mask. To treat your neck and décolleté, do not miss The Light Salon Boost LED Bib.
If you want to see a difference, be prepared to invest in the right product, ideally an FDA-cleared device that incorporates infrared bulbs that help to reduce inflammation and promote circulation, and commit to using the device consistently. This is not a ‘one and done’ procedure— this is a long-term commitment that requires consistency in order to see results.
Rē•spinning the notion that anti-aging results require aggressive, dermatological means, the gently rehabilitative light of a high-quality LED device proves that even salon-quality results are within reach from home. We can’t wait to see advancements to this technology, which empowers skin healing using cutting-edge science.