Forms of light therapy, also known as phototherapy, have existed for centuries. Many ancient cultures used sunlight to treat illness and promote health. Even the most famous nurse of all time, Florence Nightingale, insisted her patients be near a window, “second only to their need of fresh air is their need for light…not only light but direct sunlight”.
We all know that UV rays can be extremely harmful, and while sunlight provides us with nourishing vitamin D, it can also lead to sun damage, premature ageing, and skin cancer. UV, or ultraviolet, is invisible to the eye and has short, intense wavelengths. Visible light, such as red or blue, has longer wavelengths, and near-infrared light (NIR) has much longer wavelengths. The longer the wavelength, the deeper it will penetrate the skin.
The vehicle for these different light wavelengths in devices are LEDs, which stands for Light-Emitting Diodes. “LEDs work by affecting the metabolism of cells through many different pathways,” explains Dr. Claire Oliver (GDC), Medical Director. “Those pathways include increased energy through the cell’s mitochondria, modulation of reactive oxygen species (free radicals, which cells make), altering collagen production, stimulating blood vessel growth, and increasing blood flow.” LED treatments can be blue, red, yellow, green, or NIR. The most popular and well-researched are blue, red, and NIR.
How Are Red Light And NIR Used?
“For anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing effects, I recommend red or NIR. Red and NIR LED both stimulate blood circulation, so the most immediate result is skin that looks more vibrant and alive.
In the clinic, we provide a treatment plan for red light therapy to treat photo-aged skin or to promote cell repair and renewal. It has been shown to increase the production of collagen and alter the amount of enzymes in your skin that keep the skin young-appearing.
NIR, with its longer wavelengths, can reach deeper into the body, making it useful for healing not just surface wounds or scars, but also sore or injured muscles.
How Is Blue Light Used?
If a client presents with acne, blue light therapy is the way to go. Blue light affects acne by working on acne-causing bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. Acnes). This is a naturally occurring bacteria that lives within hair follicles. When a pore or hair follicle gets clogged, P. Acnes grow and multiply, causing inflammation, which gives you a pimple. P. Acnes naturally make a group of proteins called porphyrins. When these porphyrins absorb blue light, it eliminates acne causing bacteria.
Are There Any Risks with LED Phototherapy?
“The non-invasive nature of LED therapy minimises the risk of complications or side effects. LED treatments are generally safe and well-tolerated for most individuals & skin types. However, a few groups should exercise caution or avoid LED treatments altogether. These groups include; pregnant people, individuals with epilepsy or a history of seizures, and anyone taking medication that may increase their sensitivity to light including isotretinoin (Accutane).
It’s also important to note that LED should feel like nothing; a very slight warmth is okay, but if at any moment it feels hot or uncomfortable, you should stop treatment immediately.
How Often Can I Use An LED Treatment?
How Effective Are At-Home Masks Compared With Clinical Treatments?
The LED treatments at Air Aesthetics are significantly more powerful than at-home devices, and skincare professionals will know not only what specific wavelength you need but also what other skin treatments to combine it with.
What Are The Benefits Of LED phototherapy?
LED light therapy is a versatile non invasive treatment that has numerous benefits, some of which include:
One of the primary benefits of light therapy is its ability to stimulate collagen and elastin production. This results in a reduced appearance of fine lines, and wrinkles, and can restore radiance leaving you with an overall youthful glow.
As mentioned above in more detail, Blue light therapy is known for its antibacterial properties. It targets the bacteria responsible for acne, leading to clearer skin over time.
Certain wavelengths of light can accelerate the body’s natural healing processes, making it beneficial for wound healing and reducing the appearance of scars.
Infrared light therapy can penetrate deeper layers of the skin, increasing circulation and reducing inflammation. This makes it effective in treating conditions like arthritis, neuralgia, and muscle pains.
Mood and Sleep Regulation
Light therapy is often recommended for conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Exposure to bright light can help regulate the body’s internal clock, improving mood and sleep patterns.
Light therapy can help in reducing the appearance of dark spots, sun damage, and other forms of hyperpigmentation.
Psoriasis and Eczema Relief
Certain light therapies can reduce the inflammation and scaling associated with conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Light therapy can stimulate the formation of new capillaries, improving blood circulation and promoting better oxygenation to the skin cells.
Light therapy has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits, which can be beneficial for a range of problems from skin conditions through to joint pains.
When Will I See Results?
While results vary from person to person, you can generally expect to see changes around 4-6 weeks after the first treatment. The longer and more consistently you use your device, the better the results. Clinical studies have shown that:
Within 6 weeks of regular use, participants reported:
- Improvements in fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduction in UV spots (indicating photodamage)
- More even skin tone
- Improvements in pores and texture
It’s important to note that while light therapy offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to use it under proper guidance. Overexposure or incorrect usage can lead to side effects. Always consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist before starting any form of light therapy.
Where Can I Have LED Light Therapy?
Here at Air Aesthetics, we offer a comprehensive range of Dermalux LED phototherapy treatments that are tailored to your specific needs. Our clinics are equipped with the latest LED technology, ensuring you receive the most effective and safe treatment possible.
Book a free consultation with us where we will answer any questions you may have and also discuss the best course of action for you based on your skin concerns.