LED light therapy is a term seemingly popping up everywhere, we spoke to leading brand Dermalux to get the lowdown on the treatment and pick their brains on the future of skincare and wellness.
LED light therapy was originally developed by NASA after they realised that astronauts wounds were not healing in space. They discovered that using high intensity LED lights encourage skin cells to regenerate at five times their usual speed, healing wounds by encouraging new skin development.
Dermalux is now the leading LED phototherapy system brand and was founded after one of the founders used LED to heal a minor skin condition she had developed. She was amazed by the results of the LED, especially as it’s non-invasive, so teamed up with a designer to create the first Dermalux machine.
Originally Dermalux machines were only used medically so for post-op treatments, healing sports injuries and managing muscular aches and pains. But they noted the potential of the treatment in the beauty and wellness sector so expanded into spas.
Dermalux’s commitment to the science behind LED and the continual development of their machines is the key to their success and their knowledge of skincare. They put an emphasis on the fact that everyone is different and bespoke treatment plans are the best way to get results.
Rachel McInnes, Dermalux Sales Manager, said “Dermalux are harnessing the power of pure natural light to stimulate different elements of the skin. Natural light is made up of lots of different colours and Dermalux use low level light therapy in varying colours or wavelengths to activate various different skin components.”
The three wavelengths
LED light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, uses three different wavelengths each with their own unique properties which heal, regenerate and rejuvenate the skin.
The first and most superficial light is blue, which has antibacterial properties and is mainly used to treat acne and calm the skin. McInnes notes that “the blue light is also very calming” reducing redness. Blue also works in conjunction with the next level of light red, to reduce over-secretion of oils in the skin.
Red penetrates to a deeper level than blue and into the skin cells so is used to stimulate, re-energise, rejuvenate and regenerate. McInnes says “skin cells hold your mitochondria, which is your powerhouse and holds all the energy needed to regenerate. The fuel supply is called adenosine triphosphate(ATP) and as we age ATP levels start to decline so your skin cells don’t repair as quickly as they should. All LED does is stimulate yourmitochondriaa to develop more ATP, it is recharging the skins battery. With new ATP the skin begins to regenerate and repair again.
Red also stimulates micro-circulation which brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to the skin’s surface improving the tone and texture and giving the skin a fresh glow. It also drains the lymphatic system which evens out the tone and texture of the surface of the skin.
Red stimulates the Glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) which Rachel said “produces natural hydration, especially important at this time of year as most people are dehydrated.”
The deepest penetrating light is near infrared which improves vascular health, reducing swelling and inflammation. This light helps strengthen the capillaries so this can help some clients with Roseaca caused by blood rushing to the surface of the vessels. It also suppresses the enzyme tyrozenese which causes pigmentation so helps to even out skin tone and texture.
Near infrared works synergistically with red to simultaneously protect the skin cells and stimulate them. Rachel says, “you can use any wavelength on its own, or use two together or all three to combat multiple issues on a surface level as well as a tissue molecular level.”
Encouraging the skin naturally
McInnis is adamant about pointing out that LED light therapy is purely encouraging the skin to work more successfully. She says “it’s speeding up processes in the skin. It’s low level light energy so it’s non-invasive, there’s no need for downtime and no pain or discomfort. It’s literally pure and natural light just at a concentrated level.”
Because of this LED facials can improve sensitive skin. By encouraging the skin’s natural processes, the skin has more balance so is capable of healing more quickly. McInnis notes that skin isn’t usually sensitive but has become sensitised through certain product usage which has been harmful and affected the skins barrier function.
By helping the skin to repair with LEDs, it will become less sensitised and more able to repair itself after it has been damaged. This is why LEDs are a good compliment to other, more invasive treatments such as skin peels or even plastic surgery.
Is this the future?
This all sounds a little bit like a miracle cure: non-invasive, no side negative side effects and is simply encouraging the skin to work a little harder. And McInnis thinks that through LED the future of skincare is going to change the way people think about their skin: “I think for our industry it will create more awareness of what people are putting on their skin so they will be looking for better results, as well as look more into working with their own skin both inside and out.”