LED light therapy has proven to be a safe, effective and relatively risk-free treatment. So, how does LED light therapy work? Our skincare experts explain.
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In our modern digitised world, we’ve become accustomed to instant gratification. The internet continues to shorten the waiting time between ‘wanting’ and ‘receiving’.
Wondering how to take care of your new plant? Google can give you an answer in less than five seconds. Need a dress for a weekend event? You can receive it within 24 hours. Feeling peckish? In just 20 minutes you can be digging into a punnet of ice cream, thanks to your favourite food delivery service.
However, the old adage ‘good things come to those who wait’ remains true for achieving many things.
Glowing, clear skin is one of them.
We’re seeing a shift towards safe, salon-grade skincare treatments that promise real results, but there’s a catch — you have to be in it for the long haul.
LED light therapy is one of the most popular slow skincare treatments on the market. You’ve likely seen famously clear-faced celebs and influencers touting its benefits and transformative qualities.
And they’re onto something. LED light therapy has consistently proven to be a safe, effective and relatively risk-free treatment. The best part? It can be done in the comfort of your home.
So, how does LED light therapy work?
LED light therapy — Light-Emitting Diode — is a non-invasive treatment that uses light to enter the skin’s layers to treat a range of skin concerns.
The treatment uses different light wavelengths to target acne and inflammation and promote anti-aging. Each wavelength appears as a different colour and each colour enters the skin at different depths.
LED light therapy has been studied since the 1990s; initial research analysed how LED light could promote wound healing in astronauts. It was proven that LED light helped skin cells and tissue regenerate.
Today, aestheticians and dermatologists use LED light therapy — in conjunction with creams, oils and facials — to treat skin issues.
LED light therapy treatments are usually offered at skin clinics and spas, but at-home LED masks have boomed in popularity thanks to their convenience, effectiveness and high safety rating.
LED light therapy is commonly used for acne, but it can help to treat a range of conditions including:
With this in mind, how does LED light therapy work?
LED therapy works at a cellular level. It’s been shown to stimulate the skin’s natural healing mechanisms.
Essentially, LED light leads to an increase in collagen production, which smooths the skin and reduces the appearance of age spots, wrinkles and acne.
LED lights deliver different frequencies and wavelengths which correlate with different colours. Blue and red LED lights are the most utilised frequencies.
Your treatment may use one of these frequencies or a combination of the two.
Red or infrared light is used to treat the outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis.
The epidermis absorbs light, which stimulates the production of collagen. More collagen production equals fuller and smoother looking skin.
Red LED light also reduces inflammation and improves circulation, which gives the skin a healthy glow (and that’s the goal!).
Blue LED light targets the sebaceous glands, which are the skin’s oil glands that sit below the hair follicles. These glands are responsible for lubricating the skin and hair so that they don’t dry out.
For many people, the sebaceous glands become overactive, which causes oily skin and acne. When applied to the sebaceous glands, blue LED light can actually reduce the activity within the glands. After undergoing blue LED light therapy, you can expect to see fewer acne breakouts.
Blue light also has the ability to kill acne-causing bacteria, which can help in treating severe acne. Your blue LED light can be used to treat age spots and sun damage, too. While it won’t repair all the damage done by spending summers in the sun sans sunscreen, it can help to create a more even complexion.
LED light treatment can be done in the salon or at home. If you’re receiving LED light therapy by your dermatologist or aesthetician, you can expect the treatment to last around 20 minutes per session. If you prefer to do your own skincare treatments, you can also purchase your very own LED light. While the cost up-front might seem a little steep, you’ll be able to use your mask as many times as you like, so you’ll actually be saving money in the long run.
LED light therapy is very easy to do on your own, so you won’t have to worry about dealing with a complex application. Simply cleanse your face and ensure it’s completely dry. Next, place the LED light mask on your face. Then, let it do its thing! We typically recommend increasing usage from 10 to 30 minutes for up to four times a week.
Research shows us that LED light therapy is very effective in improving the appearance of skin. However, you’ll need regular treatments to reap the benefits of this powerful tool. Treatments in-office are more powerful, though LED portable devices are more convenient and will show excellent results over time.
If you’re receiving in-house treatment, you’ll likely need one treatment a week for a month, followed by maintenance treatments. If you’re using an at-home device, for best results you’ll need to use your mask for 10 to 30 minutes a day for four days a week over the course of four to five weeks. Some devices are more powerful than others and require use for just a few minutes a day.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of LED light therapy is its ability to treat a wide range of skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, rosacea and hair loss.
However, its main benefit is its exceptional safety profile. Unlike most other skin treatments, LED light therapy is suitable for all skin types and colours as it doesn’t use UV light and therefore won’t burn the skin. It is suitable for regular use, while the same can’t be said for chemical peels or laser therapy.
As mentioned, LED light therapy is a very safe, non-invasive and pain-free treatment, however as with all things, there are risks involved in undergoing LED treatment.
If you use Accutane for acne, you’ll know that this is a powerful drug that increases the skin’s sensitivity to light. It’s best to avoid using LED light therapy if you’re taking medications that have this effect. If you have an active rash, it’s important to chat with your doctor before using LED light therapy as it should only be used in conjunction with prescribed treatments.
Skincare tips and trends move fast. It can be tricky to navigate — even for skincare experts!
If you’ve found yourself wondering, how does LED light therapy work, you can now make an informed decision about whether or not the treatment is right for you.
We know regular visits to the salon can be pricey, so if you’re looking to invest in a skincare tool that will safely deliver real results, an LED mask might be for you. Take a look at our LED Light Therapy Collection.