About LED Light Therapy
TO KNOW MORE
What is LED light therapy?
Light emitting diode (LED) light therapy is growing in popularity in both medical clinics and at home. Using varying LED wavelengths, this skincare technique purportedly helps:
- treat acne
- reduce inflammation
- promote anti-ageing effects
You may be a candidate for LED light therapy if you have these types of skincare concerns and haven’t gotten the results you want from over-the-counter (OTC) skin products. LED therapy is also safe for all skin colours, and it doesn’t cause any burning.
However, there are a few potential drawbacks. Here are several:
- LED therapy can be expensive.
- The results aren’t guaranteed.
- It’s also not safe if you take certain medications or have an active skin disorder.
Talk to your practitioner about your skincare concerns and whether LED light therapy is a good option for you.
How it works
LED light therapy has an established history of skin uses. The U.S. Navy SEALs began using it in the 1990s to help heal wounds quickly and to help regenerate damaged muscle tissues.
Since then, the treatment has been researched for different situations in aesthetics. It’s mainly noted for increasing collagen and tissues. All of which can smooth out your skin and reduce the appearance of damage from:
- age spots
There are different frequencies, or wavelengths, used with LED light treatment. These include red and blue light frequencies, which don’t contain ultraviolet rays and are readily absorbed into the skin.
Red, or infrared, light is used for treating the epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin. When the light is applied to your skin, the epidermis absorbs it and then stimulates collagen proteins.
In theory, more collagen means that your skin will look smoother and fuller, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Red LED light is also thought to reduce inflammation while improving circulation, which can give you a healthier glow.
Blue LED light therapy, on the other hand, targets the sebaceous glands, which are also called oil glands. They’re located beneath your hair follicles.
Sebaceous glands are necessary for lubricating your skin and hair so that it doesn’t dry out. However, these glands can become overactive, leading to oily skin and acne.
The theory is that blue LED light therapy can target these oil glands and make them less active. In turn, you may see fewer acne breakouts. Blue light can also kill acne-causing bacteria beneath the skin, which can help treat severe acne pimples, including cysts and nodules.
Oftentimes, blue LED light is used in conjunction with red LED light to:
- help treat acne
- decrease scarring
- promote anti-inflammatory effects
One 2018 animal studyTrusted Source found that blue LED improved healing of third-degree skin burns.
Procedure for LED light therapy
According to EstheticianEDU, each LED light therapy treatment lasts about 20 minutes. You’ll likely need up to 10 treatments total, depending on the results you’re looking to achieve.
Some providers have you lie down directly under the lights, while others use LED light-infused wands directly over your skin. The choice often depends on the office, as well as the treatment area.
Risks and side effects
Overall, the American Academy of Dermatology deems this procedure safe. Since LEDs don’t contain UV rays, this is considered a safer form of light therapy that won’t cause long-term damage to your skin. The procedure is also noninvasive and has few risks.
Your provider may recommend LED light therapy if you have darker or sensitive skin. Unlike more invasive procedures such as laser therapy, LEDs don’t burn your skin. They also don’t cause any pain.
However, there may still be risks associated with LED light therapy.
If you currently use Accutane for acne, be advised that this powerful drug derived from vitamin A increases your skin’s sensitivity to light and may cause scarring in some instances.
Do not use LED light therapy if you’re using anything on your skin that makes you sensitive to sunlight.
You also might consider avoiding this treatment if you currently have an active rash. Talk with your doctor if you have psoriasis. Red light therapy could help but only if you use it in conjunction with your regularly prescribed treatments.
Side effects from LED light therapy are rare and were not noted during clinical trialsTrusted Source. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms post-treatment:
- increased inflammation
What to expect after therapy
LED light therapy is non-invasive, so no recovery time is required. You should be able to continue with your everyday activities once your treatment is over.
In-office LED light therapy requires up to 10 sessions or more, each spaced out about a week apart. You may start to see minor results after your first session. Results will be more dramatic and noticeable once you’ve finished all of your treatments.
Even after you’ve achieved the recommended number of sessions, your results aren’t permanent.
As your skin cells turn over, you may lose some collagen and start to see signs of ageing again. You may also start to see acne breakouts. This is why it’s recommended that you go back for maintenance treatments every few months or as recommended by your provider.