LED Therapy 101
From at-home masks endorsed by celebrity users to clinic professional treatments from esteemed facialists like Teresa Tarmey and Andy Millward, LED Therapy has truly hit the skincare world by storm. It was a huge trend in 2021 and it’s certainly not going anywhere fast, as its popularity continues to grow.
Now I can hear you asking, “what is LED?” Let’s get into the details, starting with the basics.
So, what is LED light therapy?
LED stands for light-emitting diode. It may seem like a new technology, but it has been around since the 60s. NASA used LEDs for plant growth experiments in space as well as trialling and developing LED as a wound healing device too.
LED therapy is a non-invasive and painless treatment that uses varying colour wavelengths of visible light which penetrate the skin to different depths. This delivers doses of light energy to target receptors within our cells. It then causes the receptors to be stimulated and increases cellular activity resulting in several skin benefits.
LED has some promising studies regarding skin rejuvenation, acne, pigmentation and even wound healing. But (there’s always a but) it is important to mention that, whilst there is some positive evidence, it’s not solely conclusive. More research is needed to confirm the full effectiveness of LED therapy.
What are the different colours and what do they do?
You may have seen a large spectrum of colours (7 to be exact) when researching LED therapy. The main three colour waves that have been studied are:
Blue - Most beneficial for acne/breakouts.
Blue light is said to reduce activity in the sebaceous glands (the glands that secrete oil). With the reduction of oil production, it assists with improving acne/ breakouts. This wavelength is also shown to kill the bacteria that causes acne as it has a germicidal effect. There have been some studies to show a reduction in inflammation as well as redness too.
While there have been some promising findings, it’s not going to provide life-changing results if you’re suffering from severe-very severe acne. With the evidence not being conclusive, LED therapy could be a large expense for zero gain and your best route may perhaps be to seek help from your local GP and/or Dermatologist.
Red - Most beneficial for rejuvenation/boosting collagen synthesis.
The red wavelength is said to work by supercharging cell energy which in turn accelerates repair and renewal. This then helps boost collagen synthesis and increases hydration.
Red LED therapy may also improve scarring and lingering pigmentation, particularly if a Vitamin C serum has been applied prior to use.
Red Light is also believed to:
- Help wound healing
- Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve Psoriasis, Rosacea and Eczema
Near-Infrared - Most beneficial for wound healing.
The invisible wave! This wave is almost undetectable by the naked eye. It reaches the deeper layers of your skin where it’s said to deliver energy to cells which in turn stimulates a healing process. There are even some professionals that recommend using this wave over your lower stomach region for period pain.
Near-Infrared is also understood to:
- Trigger the wound healing process
- Assist with redness
- Reduce irritation
- Improve pigmentation
Okay, interesting... but is it worth the price tag?
LED therapy looks to have some amazing benefits and some positive emerging medical studies. However, the data/science is ever developing. This certainly does not mean it is rendered useless, as with all new technology in the skincare industry, the data takes time to accumulate.
It’s important to look into devices (at home and professional) that penetrate the skin to the correct depths. These are:
- Blue 400-495nm. The optimum depth is 415nm
- Red 620-750nm. The optimum depth is 633nm
- Near-Infrared (NIR) 750-1200nm. The optimum depth is 830nm
There are a number of devices on the market that do not reach the correct depth of the skin, which will dramatically affect any potential results. Also, another big item to note is that if the manufacturer does not provide the specific wavelength, it may not be worth a purchase.
As with everything in life, consistency is key. If you’re not consistent, you will not see any results. I know, wouldn’t life be easier if you could click your finger and bam, everything is fixed…a girl can dream!
Recommended Home Devices:
- Dennis Gross Skincare Drx Spectralite Faceware Pro
- faceLITE LED face mask
Recommended Professional Treatments:
Follow Megan @allaboutskinstudio
Qualifications - VTCT Level 3 Facial Electrics , VTCT Level 4 in Microneedling and Chemical Peels