Do LED devices really do anything for the skin?
Treatment with LED Light involves nothing more taxing than relaxing for around fifteen minutes in the gentle glow from a large canopy studded with small LED bulbs or wearing a face-shaped mask filled with LED bulbs on the inside. It feels like nothing is happening, but under the skin, new collagen is being produced, or acne-causing bacteria is being zapped from the surface, depending on which colour light is being used. LED Light Therapy is no ‘fad’, and there is a remarkable amount of research that shows just how beneficial this non-invasive procedure is for the skin.
What does LED light do?
It helps heal wounds, calms inflammation in the skin (the sort you get with acne or rosacea, for example) and encourages cell renewal for a start. Then there’s how it smooths the skin, stimulates new collagen production, and helps skin glow. The light must be used at an appropriate intensity and for long enough – the standard treatment time is 20 minutes – and repeated regularly. Used on its own, it is very effective, but it also makes a great add-on to other skin rejuvenating treatments such as a chemical peel or microneedling.
Many people lose patience with LED because they feel it’s not actually doing anything to the skin, but you need to be patient. Skin cells don’t just grow overnight – it’s a process.
How does it work?
Different kinds of light each have a different effect. For example, red light therapy is the most popular in the clinic, and it has been proven to help stimulate the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in the skin. Red light reaches several millimetres into the skin and has an anti-inflammatory effect, so it soothes the skin and calms inflammation.
Blue light works differently; its main goal is to reduce acne-causing bacteria. It won’t stop spots from forming in the skin, but it will reduce the redness and inflammation by knocking out the bacteria on the skin’s surface that is provoking spots. Because blue light only works at surface level, it doesn’t kill bacteria deep within the pores of the skin. But it can be beneficial in reducing acne, especially when combined with a good, medical-grade skincare regime.
Near-infrared light is more powerful than red light and travels deeper into the skin – up to 15cm. As well as kick-starting collagen production and improving levels of elastin and hyaluronic acid, it can stimulate bone tissue development, which can be very useful since we all naturally lose bone as we age. Near-infrared also lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and boosts levels of serotonin.
What about home-use devices?
The research behind clinic-level LED light is pretty robust, but there are very few home-use devices that deliver enough power to garner tangible results. They’re not going to harm you, but equally, they won’t deliver the results that LED, in general, can promise. Home LED masks don’t have the same quality of evidence behind them that professional LED does because they’re rarely tested. So the marketing claims we see are extrapolated from the known benefits of LED light therapy, but we don’t have any guarantee that home devices give the same results.
If you can commit to regular in-clinic LED treatments or invest in a device like the Dermalux Flex, you will reap the benefits.
If you’d like to learn more about LED Light Therapy and whether it’s suitable for your concerns, click here to book a consultation with a skin expert.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.