Our skin responds to various environmental stimuli, including light. Most of us are familiar with the ways in which sunlight can damage the skin; however, certain types and amounts of light can actually benefit the skin in more ways than one. As such, light therapy (also referred to as phototherapy) is a rapidly growing arm of cosmetic dermatology, complete with a wide variety of methods and technologies. With winter on the horizon, you might be thinking of ways to protect and restore your skin -- here’s how light therapy can help your skin this winter and beyond.
Those prone to red, itchy skin from eczema (atopic dermatitis) may experience the worst flare-ups during winter when the air is cold and dry. Phototherapy is one of many ways to treat these symptoms, and it’s proven effective for a large swath of patients. Narrow band ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) light is typically used in this scenario (UVA can also be used in some cases). After multiple treatments, the application of this light to the affected skin can reduce inflammation, easing eczema symptoms along with other winter-related skin issues.
Extreme environmental conditions can cause your skin to age beyond its years. As such, summer and winter pose the greatest threats to your skin’s youthful appearance. Fortunately, the right methods can slow down and even reverse this outward aging. LED (light-emitting diode) therapy, for instance, can help decrease the appearance and prominence of wrinkles over time. These non-thermal, narrow-band lights penetrate the skin at varying depths, stimulating the skin’s production of collagen, elastin, and more. As a result, patients’ skin becomes more flexible, youthful, and bright. So, if you’re concerned about the ways in which winter might cause your skin to age, consider LED light therapy.
LED light therapy doesn’t just aid in reducing signs of aging. By encouraging the skin to produce collagen and elastin, this type of light therapy also boosts the skin’s natural healing processes. Those who suffer from acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and other inflammatory skin conditions (whether during winter or year-round), can greatly benefit from LED therapy. In some cases, LED therapy can even prevent the formation of acne scars and reduce the appearance of existing scars by helping to create a smoother and more even skin tone and texture.
Some of the aforementioned skin problems are fairly common (e.g., acne, dermatitis, wrinkles, etc.), but others, such as vitiligo, are less common but just as worthy of proper treatments. This pigment-altering condition usually doesn’t pose any serious health risks or cause physical discomfort, but it can have a serious effect on one’s social interactions and self-esteem. Our recent blog “Is It Safe to Treat Vitiligo in the Winter?” discussed how vitiligo symptoms may actually worsen during winter, speaking to the importance of receiving proper treatment. As it turns out, light therapy offers one of the most effective treatments for vitiligo. Light therapy for vitiligo comes in many forms, including NV-UVB, UVA plus psoralen, and excimer laser treatments. Despite their minor differences, they’re all aimed at reducing depigmentation and, in some cases, re-introducing skin pigment to affected areas.
Light can be both friend and foe to our skin -- it’s all about how much light we receive and the type of light we’re receiving. When properly administered, different light therapies can reduce skin inflammation and aging, boost the skin’s healing capabilities, and treat less common and often tricky-to-tackle conditions like vitiligo. At Premier Dermatology Partners, we see a bright future for light therapies and take advantage of all this field has to offer at the moment. No matter your skin’s winter woes, we can help with light therapies and so much more. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.