LED light therapy
LED light therapy is a painless, relaxing, non-invasive skin-care treatment that has multiple benefits—particularly stimulating collagen and treating mild to moderate acne.
LED treatments work by using an array of bright light-emitting diodes (originally developed by NASA!) that send low-level light energy into the deeper layers of the skin. Red light LED stimulates cellular activity, including the fibroblasts that produce collagen, which gives young skin its plump look. That helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles, treat sun-damage and stretch marks, and reduce redness after more aggressive IPL or laser treatments. The results won’t be as dramatic as plastic surgery, IPL, or laser, but it’s a gentler, more natural, less expensive way to go.
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:
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
promote anti-inflammatory effects
Procedure for LED light therapy
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.
What to expect after therapy
LED light therapy is noninvasive, 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 aging 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 therapist.