LED technology has been around for so many years now, with NASA using it way back in the 1980’s to try to grow plants on the Space Shuttle.
However, it is only recently that LED lights have found their way into the skin care industry, in the form of LED light therapy.
What is this and how can it help your skin?
Read on to find out…
What is LED Light Therapy?
LED light therapy makes use of a device that emits LED lights onto the skin.
Different wavelengths, which basically means different colors, of light are used, as each wavelength has its own unique effects on the skin.
This means that LED light therapy can be tailored to your skin’s needs, as a different set of lights can be used for different skin concerns.
There is no direct contact between your skin and the LED-emitting device during the treatment. Instead, the device is held a couple of inches above your skin, and it is the lights themselves that penetrate into your skin and bring about changes.
1) Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy tends to be the most popular out of the different LED light therapy wavelengths.
Because red light therapy does a little of everything, meaning that it benefits just about everyone.
When red light therapy is used on the skin, the effects are vast and varied, but include:
- Stimulates the production of collagen and elastin – these two structural proteins give the skin its firmness and smoothness, and an increase in these can really help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduces inflammation – this then increases blood flow and boosts circulation
- Speeds up wound healing – this tends to be especially effective when it comes to psoriasis lesions
- Treats scars – helps to fade away the appearance of scars
2) Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy is quite effective when it comes to treating a few specific skin concerns.
- Acne – blue LED lights are able to destroy any acne-causing bacteria on the surface, and just underneath the surface, of the skin. Research shows that a significant improvement in acne can be experienced after multiple sessions
- Skin cancer prevention – blue light therapy is able to remove precancerous skin lesions, as well as cancerous ones that have not spread
Blue light therapy is commonly used when it comes to treating skin cancer. It is used alongside a topical photosynthesizing drug, and triggers the drug to react with oxygen and destroy cancer cells.
3) Green Light Therapy
Green light therapy is known for being the most soothing and calming of LED light therapy options.
Its benefits include:
- Treating skin discoloration – green LED lights target melanocyte and prevent them from producing an excess amount of melanin. Green lights can also break up the melanin clusters in the skin that lead to discoloration on the surface
- Calms and soothes the skin – this can really help with rosacea
The effects that green LED lights have on pigmentation are what this treatment is most popular for. Dark spots on the skin can be caused by so many different factors, from sun exposure to aging, and green light therapy is able to help no matter the cause.
4) Amber Light Therapy
Also known as yellow or orange light therapy, amber light therapy is usually the one that those with sensitive skin go for.
Because, just like green lights, amber lights have skin-soothing benefits, such as:
- Reduces redness – this can help to treat rosacea flare-ups
- Boosts lymphatic flow – this helps to speed up the rate at which your skin cells are able to flush out toxins
5) White Light Therapy
White light has the longest wavelength of all the different colors, meaning that white light is able to penetrate deeper into your skin than the other wavelengths mentioned above.
This means that it is able to bring about more significant changes, including:
- Heals scars – whether these have been caused by acne or anything else
- Rejuvenates the skin – has tightening and toning effects
- Reduces inflammation – this minimizes redness while also preventing breakouts
Combining Different Wavelengths
As you can see, many of these light wavelengths actually complement each other when it comes to the effects that they have on the skin.
For this reason, it comes as no surprise that different wavelengths are often combined in an LED light therapy treatment.
This can either be in the form of using one color of light followed by another, or by combining them at the same time. For example, to tackle acne while also healing the skin, white and blue can be combined to create a light blue light. On the other hand, to help repair skin cell damage and promote healing, a combination of red and blue, resulting in purple, may be used.
What Does the Treatment Involve?
When it comes to the actual procedure for an LED light therapy treatment, this varies depending on the practitioner you choose.
Why isn’t it standardized?
Because the length of the treatment depends on how powerful the lights being used are, as well as the skin concerns you are trying to target.
Generally, LED light therapy treatments last between 10 and 20 minutes.
You will usually be required to lie down, before a cleanser is used on your skin. A special gel will then be applied, and this will contain ingredients that help to boost the effects of the LED lights with whichever skin issues you are trying to target. You will then be required to wear protection over your eyes before the lights can be turned on.
The lights are then applied to the skin.
What does it feel like?
It feels warm and quite pleasant, with this being a treatment that most people tend to really enjoy.
Once finished, the gel is removed and a moisturizer, along with sunscreen, is applied to the skin.
How Many Sessions Are Needed?
It has been mentioned a couple of times that multiple sessions are needed when it comes to LED light therapy, but how many does this actually involve?
You will likely need a couple of sessions a week, for four to six weeks.
After this, maintenance sessions will help to keep the results consistent over a longer period of time. This is when at-home LED light therapy devices can be particularly useful…
At-Home LED Light Therapy Devices
There are now so many at-home LED light therapy devices out there, giving you plenty of choice if you want to experience the benefits of this treatment from the comfort of your own home.
Wondering if they are just as effective as in-office treatments?
Not quite. In-office treatments tend to make use of more powerful LED lights. However, keeping in mind that multiple treatments are needed in order to see long-term results, at-home devices are fantastic for maintenance. Using an LED light therapy device on a daily basis would be really beneficial to your skin, making these at-home devices more than worth the investment.
What do these at-home devices look like?
They tend to either be in the form of a wand, which you hold over different parts of your skin. This enbles you to maneuver the LED light wand according to your preference and comfort. The Jelessi Torche V2+ is one such example.
There are also mask versions available too. These make it more convenient to use LED light therapy on your face, but it does mean that your neck and the rest of your body won’t be able to benefit from the technology.
If you decide to give an at-home device a try…
Make sure that you use it in the right way. LED light therapy should only be carried out on cleansed skin, and exfoliating your skin beforehand will also help to boost the results. This ensures that the lights can penetrate straight into your skin without having to come across any impurities.
Using a serum on your skin before applying the lights can also help to improve results, as will applying a moisturizer to your skin directly after your treatment.
How do you go about choosing an at-home device?
Well, as mentioned above, you need to first decide whether a wand that you can use on your whole body, or a mask that can only be used on the face, is better for you.
Then you need to consider the color of lights included in the device…
Simple devices will feature just a couple of colors, usually blue and red. However, other devices will feature all of the colors listed earlier, allowing you to really customize your treatment at home. Make sure that the brand you choose is a reputable one, and have a look for reviews from other customers, to see what their experience with the product has been like.
Downtime and Aftercare
Wondering if there’s any downtime after an LED light therapy treatment?
Not at all. Since the treatment is completely non-invasive, your skin doesn’t need to heal after the treatment has been carried out.
Aftercare is also extremely simple, requiring nothing more than your regular skin care routine.
Of course, if you want to enhance the effects of your treatment…
You can try to use skin care products that target the same issues that you are trying to treat with the lights.
For example, if you are trying to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and strengthen your skin, using anti-aging products that also help to stimulate collagen production will bring about visible results much faster.
For those using the lights to treat acne, combining them with other forms of acne treatment will clear away your breakouts much quicker.
Are There Any Side Effects?
After reading through all of this, you are probably thinking…
LED light therapy sounds too good to be true! Surely there must be some side effects?
Well, actually, there aren’t really any adverse effects at all. If you do experience a side effect, which will tend to be a headache, some eye strain, or irritability, it will only be minor and won’t last for very longer. They are usually a result of the bright glare from the lights, and keeping your gaze averted away from the lights will minimize your chances of experiencing any side effects.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t use LED light therapy on their skin?
Those who suffer from bipolar disorder should seek further medical advice before giving LED light therapy a try.
How Is LED Different from Other Light Therapy Treatments?
When it comes to light therapy, there are several different types of technology out there being utilized for this.
Laser therapy is an example of this, and this works in quite a different way to LED light therapy. Laser treatments cause micro-damage to the skin, and when the skin heals itself, it is that rejuvenating effect that the rest of the skin experiences too.
Infrared light therapy is also popular. Although this features longer wavelengths, meaning that the lights can penetrate deeper into the skin, infrared lights emit heat as well as light. This can lead to skin problems, as the extra heat in the skin can result in inflammation. This can cause redness in the skin while exacerbating inflammatory skin conditions, such as rosacea and acne.
LED lights are gentler, but are able to target a wider area of skin due to the way in which the lights are dispersed. They are also much safer for the eyes, with the chances of an accidental eye injury being significantly less.
LED light therapy is becoming increasingly popular, and it is easy to see why. Not only is this a completely safe and non-invasive way to target specific skin concerns, but the actual procedure is actually quite enjoyable too, giving you some time out from your busy schedule to simply relax and pamper your skin. If you have never given LED light therapy a try before, this is something well worth looking into, no matter what skin issues you may be dealing with.