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LED light therapy is a popular noninvasive skin treatment for acne, sun damage, wounds, and other skin problems.
People can choose to have LED light therapy at a dermatologist’s office or to use a device at home.
The treatment uses varying wavelengths of light to trigger the skin’s natural healing processes to repair the skin. Several treatments are necessary to see results.
In this article, we explore how LED light therapy works and who might be a good candidate. We also cover the possible side effects.
LED stands for light-emitting diode. These lights have been in use since the 1960s, but people have only recently begun to use them as a skin treatment.
NASA originally developed LED lights for plant growth experiments in space.
However, since then, LEDs have shown promising results in wound healing and human tissue growth.
Different wavelengths of light in LED lights, including blue and red, penetrate the skin at different depths. This penetration may trigger biological processes that help the skin rejuvenate and heal.
Experts believe that blue LED light reduces activity in the sebaceous glands, which are small oil-producing glands in the skin. This reduction in activity causes the glands to produce less oil, possibly improving acne symptoms.
Animal research indicates that blue light can improve the healing of third degree burns.
Collagen is a protein in the skin and other connective tissues. It plays a role in skin healing. The body produces less collagen as a person ages, which causes the skin to show signs of aging.
Red light also reduces skin inflammation.
LED light therapy can help treat a variety of skin problems, including:
- dull skin
- signs of aging, including wrinkles and age spots
- sun damage
- wound healing
- other inflammatory skin conditions
One of the main benefits of LED light therapy is its safety record. According to research, LED light therapy has an excellent safety profile.
It does not contain UV rays, which can be harmful to the skin. Therefore, LED therapy is suitable for regular use.
Unlike chemical peels or laser therapy, LED light therapy does not cause burns. The treatment is also safe for all types and colors of skin.
Research indicates that LED light therapy can be effective for wound healing and other types of skin damage.
In the past, Navy SEALs used LED light therapy to help heal wounds. The treatment led to improvements of more than 40% in musculoskeletal injuries in team members. It also reduced wound healing time.
When it comes to cosmetic procedures, a review of several studies indicates that LED light therapy devices can improve a range of skin conditions, including psoriasis and mild-to-moderate acne.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most people with acne will see an improvement in their symptoms from using LED light therapy, but they should not expect all acne to clear.
It is necessary to have several treatment sessions before noticing an improvement in skin appearance. People usually see the best results several weeks after their last treatment.
It may also be necessary to have follow-up sessions to maintain these results.
Home devices are usually less effective than professional treatments.
In general, LED light therapy is safe. The procedure is noninvasive and does not cause burning or pain. However, experts caution that the long-term effects of these devices remain unknown.
Short-term side effects are rare. When they do occur, they may include:
- skin redness
Individuals should not use LED therapy if they take certain medications, such as isotretinoin (Accutane), for acne or use topical treatments that cause sensitivity to sunlight.
People with skin conditions should speak to a dermatologist before using LED light therapy.
LED light therapy can take place at a professional’s office or at home using a home device.
During a professional treatment, the dermatologist may ask the person to lie down under LED lights, or they may use an LED wand on the skin.
Each session lasts approximately 20 minutes, and up to 10 sessions may be necessary.
After this, a person may need to return periodically for maintenance sessions.
At-home LED devices may be more convenient because no appointments are necessary. However, they may be less effective than professional treatments.
When using an at-home device, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. These devices typically come in the form of a mask that a person applies to the face for several minutes or a wand that they use on the skin.
LED light therapy is suitable for use on any body part, including the face, hands, neck, and chest.
Following treatment, no recovery time is necessary.
LED light therapy appears to be a safe treatment for several skin conditions, including acne, skin aging, skin wounds, and other problems.
Research indicates that this therapy offers promising results, although people should not expect a 100% improvement. Also, the results are not always permanent, so follow-up treatments may be necessary.
Professional treatments are typically more effective than at-home treatments.
People who would like to know more about LED light therapy should speak to a dermatologist.
People can purchase at-home LED light therapy devices from a pharmacist or online.