When one thinks of skin rejuvenation or therapies, the mind usually conjures up thoughts of retinol, sunscreen and serums. But thanks to gadgetry involved in beauty treatments, everyday routines are expanding and now include high-tech treatments. For instance, light therapy currently is in vogue for being the most sought after therapy to treat a host of skin related issues.
In case you have visited a spa or a beauty store recently, chances are that you would have seen devices/masks that are available for over-the-counter purchase, and other such products flooding the markets. These light-therapy masks are also slowly gaining popularity among beauty influencers on Instagram as well.
In case you are contemplating taking the plunge, here are a few things you need to know about light therapy for your skin…
What is light therapy?
In the simplest terms, light therapy is the application of specific wavelengths of light to the skin to get therapeutic benefits. It is a non-invasive treatment which makes use of non-thermal LED light to trigger the skin’s natural processes to accelerate the skin’s repair and rejuvenation. Light therapy is recommended by dermatologists to treat a number of skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, wrinkles, dermatitis and other skin related issues. Light therapy is also used to treat wounds and scarring of tissue and for anyone who is also looking to restore their skin’s radiance.
Light therapy is also sometimes referred to as photobiostimulation, photobiomodulation or photomedicine—all terms which are used to describe the delivery of light energy to treat a number of medical and cosmetic conditions.
How does light therapy work?
With LED light therapy, which is a ‘low energy form’, the light is absorbed by the molecules in the skin, which in turn alters the biological activity of the cells. Research has shown that LED light therapy can increase circulation, accelerate the repair of skin tissue, improve skin tone and texture.
Over time, the skin cells get weakened due to ageing process, skin disorders or other trauma to the skin such as excessive exposure to the sun or scarring. LED light sources offer such weakened cells with that extra dose of energy to enhance their rejuvenation process.
The kind of lights and what they do…
A study by the American Academy of Dermatology says that people suffering from acne will see a visible improvement in their symptoms through LED light therapy. The skin uses light from the therapy as a source of energy to fuel the healing process of damaged cells. The energy simulates the production of collagen, boosts circulation and furthers tissue repair. While these are the combined benefits of LED therapy, each kind of light is known to provide different benefits.
- Blue light: Is known for its powerful antibacterial properties and is used in the treatment against acne. It reduces irritation, controls excess oil production and also helps to prevent future breakouts. Blue light also offers a UV-free alternative for treatment against psoriasis and eczema.
- Red light: Is primarily used to boost the collagen production in the skin. It is known to increase the hydration levels of the skin, reduce redness and inflammation. As stimulant of collagen production, red LED light is a medically approved treatment for rosacea. Red LED light also tightens pores and regulates the sebum production of the skin.
- Yellow light: Is known to be beneficial when treating trauma skin wounds as it helps amplify the healing process.
- Near Infra-Red light: Is the most deeply absorbed wavelength of light. It is primarily used to activate cell absorption and reduce age related skin issues such as fine lines and wrinkles. This wavelength of light is also known to improve the elasticity of skin.
How safe is Light therapy?
According to dermatological experts, light therapy is relatively safe. LED skin devices operate on low power, so they are unlikely to cause any burns on the skin. However, it is important to shield your eyes from the light while undergoing light therapy – at home or at a professional space.
Experts also believe that people with underlying eye conditions, as well as users who are under medication which increases photosensitivity could be under a risk of eye injury.
Light therapy devices are typically recommended to be used after cleansing the skin, but before any of the other steps. Serums and creams should always be applied once the LED therapy session has been completed.
Other common questions about light therapy
Common questions surrounding light therapy are – what skin types should try light therapy? Or if light therapy is painful and if it can cause your skin to tan?
To answer the first question, every skin type can undergo light therapy. As for the other two questions, the answer is no. As light therapy is completely non-invasive, it does not cause any pain. All that one may feel is a little bit of warmth owing to the light. The common belief is that when exposed to excess light, the skin may tend to tan. However, since light therapy does not make use of UV light there is no risk of tanning.
It’s best to check with your dermatologist
While LED light therapies are also available for at-home use, it is always recommended to first check with your dermatologist. As with any new skin therapy that one wishes to undergo, consulting with a professional and performed under their supervision will ensure that your skin does not suffer from any damage. A consultation will also help determine the best processes suitable for your skin type.