LED light therapy is the buzzword in skin care at the moment, but does the science actually back up the results claimed? We dug below the surface to find out.
We’ve always been told stay out of the sun but the newest in skin care innovation, LED light therapy, seems to challenge that wisdom. LED light therapy involves using different wavelengths of non-harmful light to regenerate and heal the skin and the results following a course of treatment are impressive.
The LED light therapy facial basically involves lying under a space age, curved lamp that shines rows of tiny LED lights onto your skin. The sensation is not dissimilar to lying on the beach on a beautiful, warm sunny day.
There are three different colours of LED lights, each with different wavelengths which are absorbed by different layers of the skin. Each colour of light has different healing properties: blue is anti-bacterial so perfect for acne, red light has a rejuvenating and anti-inflammatory effect and boosts hydration, whilst near infrared light is the most deeply absorbed wavelength and helps promote the production of collagen to counteract skin damage and visible signs of aging.
The regeneration benefits of LED lights was actually discovered by NASA. After each space mission completed, NASA noticed that small injuries just weren’t healing until the astronauts landed back on earth. It was discovered that human cells need gravity to regenerate and heal. A solution was needed so NASA began to experiment.
In 2002, a study was published which proved that LED lights stimulate the basic energy processes in each cell, particularly when near-infrared light is used.
NASA experimented with varying wavelengths to see if the lights could help encourage skin regeneration to heal wounds. Turns out it worked, and the results were pretty impressive. In a single application of the LED lights, using a combination of the three wavelengths, DNA synthesis or cell regeneration increased five-fold!
Medical science to skincare technology
NASA’s results were clear but it wasn’t till 2013 that a study was completed that assessed the use of LED lights in stimulating, healing and restoring the skin.
The study proved that the light from the LEDs is absorbed by skin cells increasing nitric oxide release in the skin. Although nitric oxide is a toxic, free radical pollutant in the earth’s atmosphere, it plays a vital and useful role in the skin. It helps reduce inflammation and promotes wound healing, as well as encourages the skin cells to close up when exposed to damaging UVB rays.
The study also showed that oxygen and blood flow in the skin cells increased, as well as the amount activating skin cells required for repair and healing. This combination proved to be beneficial on a whole host of skin problems including wrinkles, acne scars and rosacea and even helped heal burns, scars and stretch marks.
An ‘LED facial’ lasts up to 20 minutes and can utilise one, two or all three of the different wavelengths, depending on which layer of skin you want to target. In order to get the very best results, it’s important to have a course of frequent LED light treatments of all three wavelengths, targeting different layers of skin.
After the initial course is done and dusted, you only need to maintain the treatment every few months, just to give your skin a little encouragement to increase its level of regeneration. Although, as LED light therapy is completely non-invasive, you can keep having the treatments regularly, whenever you need an extra boost of brightness or a breakout suddenly appears.