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.
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.
What You May Not Know About Light Therapy Treatment
As we age, natural changes occur to our skin thinning and drying. Visible lines can appear and even the shape of the face may become less full. Fortunately, while getting older is inevitable, there are things we can do to help keep our skin looking its best.
Here at Lasercare Skin Clinic, Dr.
Bruce Sanderson offers a wide range of state-of-the-art services, from laser and medical spa treatments to injectables and fillers to help combat the changes time, genetics, and lifestyle choices have made on your appearance. With over 40 years' experience, Dr. Sanderson can determine which treatment protocol would help you best meet your goals. Light therapy is one possible option.
How does skin age?
When we’re young, the epidermis (aka outer layer of our skin) is typically smooth and unblemished, serving as a good barrier to prevent injury. Collagen makes the skin firm, elastin gives it elasticity, and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) keep it moist and hydrated. These elements are all present in ample amounts in healthy skin.
Over time, however, both intrinsic and extrinsic aging occur. Intrinsic aging happens naturally as years pass and includes the loss of about 1% of collagen in the skin annually after age 20. Amounts of elastin and GAG also decrease along with reduced functioning of the oil and sweat glands. All these changes result in thinner, more fragile skin and a minor amount of wrinkles.
Extrinsic aging occurs from exposure to the sun and environmental damage smoking and pollutants. Freckles, sun spots, and lesions including various types of skin cancer are examples of extrinsic aging.
It also contributes to even more loss of collagen, elastin, and GAGs and leaves the skin thin, rough, and uneven in tone as well as suffering from deep wrinkles.
To prevent further problems going forward it's important to always wear sunscreen that includes protection against both UVA and UVB rays and avoid smoke and other pollutants.
But what about the damage that's already been done? Light therapy can help.
What is light therapy treatment?
Light therapy (also known as LED therapy and previously as phototherapy) has been used for over 50 years in the treatment of a number of ailments including chronic pain, joint issues, and soft-tissue injuries, among others. Experts noted that in addition to assisting in the treatment of the diagnosed problem, light therapy also improved superficial cosmetic conditions.
Today, light therapy is used to treat a variety of cosmetic issues. Red light therapy employs red, low-level wavelengths of light to create a biochemical effect that allows cells to repair damage and function more efficiently. It also stimulates new collagen production. This helps combat fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots, and discoloration.
Blue light therapy can help improve acne by reducing bacteria in the skin, while yellow light therapy clears toxins and increases lymphatic flow to the skin. What you may not know about light therapy is that it directly encourages regeneration of the skin and that, un lasers, it doesn’t cause any damage and avoids pain or side effects.
If sun, the environment, and living life have taken a toll on your skin, one of our treatments with light therapy might be right for you. To make an appointment with Dr. Sanderson, call us at the Lasercare Skin Clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas, or click to book it online.
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