What Is Light Therapy, and Is it Right For You?
Our environment and genetics can take a toll on our skin’s appearance. If you suffer from acne, an uneven skin tone, sun damaged skin, scars, signs of aging, eczema, etc., you may have tried many treatments and methods for mitigating these skin conditions. Topical treatments, oral medications, and lifestyle changes can accomplish much, but they might not be enough to restore your skin or yield the results you’re looking for. If so, you might consider a more recent development in cosmetic dermatology: light therapy. Let’s discuss what is meant by light therapy and whether it may be right for you.
What to Know About Light Therapy
Shining a Light on Light Therapy
Depending on the surrounding context, the term “light therapy” can mean a number of different things. For instance, light therapy refers to a method of treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD) by imitating natural light. There is also a type of light therapy for vitiligo, wherein ultraviolet (UV) light is absorbed by the skin to reduce discoloration and even restore pigmentation. The term “light therapy” is also often used interchangeably with various laser treatments that similarly target one’s skin with different wavelengths of light for different purposes (i.e. removing tattoos, destroying tumors, resurfacing the skin, etc.). These various light therapies do share one thing in common, though: they all use a source (or multiple sources) of light to elicit some response from the body for medical and/or cosmetic reasons. Here, we’ll discuss the applications of LED light therapy in particular.
LED Light Therapy
LED (light-emitting diode) light therapy (also called LED phototherapy) involves the use of specific narrow-band wavelengths of non-thermal LED light to permeate the skin at different depths in order to stimulate a bodily response that boosts the skin’s natural healing and restoration capabilities. These non-invasive, heat-free treatments can help treat acne, inflammatory conditions, trauma (wounds), scars, eczema, psoriasis, sun damage, rosacea, and more. LED phototherapy can also reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging to make skin appear more radiant and youthful.
Types of LED Light Therapy
LED light therapy uses three primary types of light to treat various skin conditions: blue, red, and near-infrared light. Blue light can reduce acne breakouts by potentially curtailing the sebaceous glands’ oil production. Additionally, targeting the skin with blue light may kill inflammation-causing bacteria and possibly aid in healing burns and other wounds. Applying red light to the skin can diminish scars, age signs, and inflammation by stimulating the skin’s collagen production. Near-infrared light is absorbed by the skin on a deeper level and may boost cell permeability, increase skin elasticity, speed up healing, reduce pain and swelling, and decrease wrinkles and lines.
Is Light Therapy Effective?
There’s no denying that LED light therapy has the potential to treat a wide range of skin conditions. Of course, mileage may vary from person to person. Many patients who undergo light therapy see at least a mild improvement in their skin. That said, several treatments are usually required for the best outcomes, and dermatologists often recommend combining LED light therapy with other skin treatments. It’s also worth noting that personal home devices for light therapy won’t be as effective as professionally administered treatments.
Is Light Therapy Right for You?
If you want to achieve brighter, healthier, better-looking skin, it’s worth looking into light therapy. These treatments are painless, non-invasive, don’t use UV light, and can work for virtually any and all skin types. Generally speaking, these therapies are safe, though because LED light therapy is a relatively recent breakthrough, long-term effects are not yet fully known. Side effects are uncommon, but include redness, tenderness, and inflammation. Also, if you’re taking certain medications (especially for acne) or suffer from particular skin conditions, light therapy might not be right for you. Either way, talk to your dermatologist before undergoing LED light therapy or any other skin treatment.
The experts at Premier Dermatology Partners stay up to date on the latest developments in skin care, including light and laser therapies for various conditions. To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us.