LED Therapy, At A Glance
- Best Results2-6 sessions
- Treatment RecoveryImmediate
- Procedure Time10-20 minutes
- Skin SpecialistDermal Therapist
- Duration of ResultsWeeks to Months
- Back to WorkImmediately
LED Light Therapy
LED light phototherapy is a gentle form of low laser therapy. Dermatologists prescribe blue, red & yellow wavelengths to gently & effectively treat conditions such as acne, rosacea, as well as promote collagen production. This can speed up wound healing & aid in skin rejuvenation.
FactsFacts On LED Light Therapy
- Phototherapy uses low level lasers in blue, red & yellow wavelengths
- Blue light phototherapy targets acne forming bacteria
- Treatments are quick, painless & cost effective
- LED therapy can be used to manage acne in pregnancy, breast feeding & patients not wishing to take medication
- Phototherapy can also stimulate collagen production & speed up wound healing
What exactly is LED light therapy?
LED Light Therapy is the therapeutic use of natural light. This gentle yet effective treatment emits specific wavelengths of LED light energy deep into the skin. Depending on the colour of LED, light can increase cellular function, accelerate healing, treat active acne and promote collagen production. This is why LED is used frequently for skin rejuvenation. I frequently utilize LEDs to speed up recovery following lasers & surgical procedures.
What conditions can LED Light Therapy treat?
Light therapy or LED phototherapy can treat the following conditions-
Acne: the most frequent indication at Clinic Cutis is the treatment of acne. We employ LED, as well as vascular lasers & BBL to manage all forms of acne. Light activates chemicals produced by bacteria found in zits & pimples. This causes a chemical reaction that destroys bacteria.
Scars & wounds: Red & yellow light promote wound healing, increasing collagen production, as well as alleviating any post procedure pain.
Rosacea: Yellow & red light can reduce skin inflammation from rosacea. Note: vascular lasers do a much better job than LEDs for this condition.
Rejuvenation & antiaging: Yellow & red light can increase cellular function in turn promoting new collagen & elastin production.
How does it work?
This treatment works at a cellular level to stimulate the healing mechanisms in the skin. Red light stimulates collagen production, speeds up wound healing & reduces inflammation. This wavelength is frequently used post laser resurfacing or following skin surgery.
Blue light reduces acne bacteria, thus reducing breakouts. This treatment is ideal for patients wanting to avoid oral medications.
Can LED be used to treat post-surgical scars?
Yes, LED has been shown to speed up the recovery of wounds, decrease scars & alleviate pain. In my practice I use LED on most laser resurfacing cases (fully ablative erbium &/or CO2) as well as post-surgical cases.
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How often is this treatment conducted?
The ideal treatment frequency depends on what we are treating. As a guide-
- Acne management; twice a week for 8 weeks
- Rosacea & inflamed skin; once to twice a week for 6 weeks
- Wound healing; once to twice a week for one to two weeks
Each session takes 10-20 minutes to perform & is completely painless. Light therapy can start to improve skin within just a few days. In some cases, though, it can take two or more weeks.
How long does it take to perform LED?
Treatment time varies between 7 to 15 minutes depending on the condition. Treatments are fast, effective & are not associated with any downtime.
Do LED masks (DIY at home) actually work?
Companies including Neutrogena produce LED masks & are readily available online. How do these DIY home treatments stack up against clinical phototherapy? Firstly, home devices do not produce enough energy to deliver clinical outcomes. An in-clinic LED device will deliver 60 times more power than a home device.
Secondly there are concerns over side effects such as cataracts for home devices. A sensible DIY hack is to use natural sunlight. Here is how to do it safely-
- Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before exposure. An SPF 30-50+ is recommended.
- Expose the treated areas to sunlight for 8 to 12 minutes. Repeat every second to third day.
Sunscreens block UVB & most of UVA, allowing visible sunlight to penetrate. Sunlight has the same wavelengths as LED light therapy, namely blue, red & yellow light. This is known as natural phototherapy & is still used by dermatologists worldwide. This is one reason why acne improves on a beach holiday.
What are the side effects of LED therapy?
LED is the gentlest form of ‘laser’. It has no downtime. In fact, LED is used to decrease downtime & speed up recovery from other laser procedures.
How do I know if LED light therapy is right for me?
To see if this treatment is right for you, book a FREE consultation with our dermal therapist @cliniccutis. LED is only one of many devices we employ to treat acne, rejuvenate, repair & recover.
Davin’s Viewpoint on LED light therapy
LED light therapy has seen a huge influx of providers over the past two decades. I first heard about this treatment in the United States in 2003 when they coined the term LLED or low-level laser emission devices. Essentially this treatment uses very tightly controlled light emission diodes (not actually a laser), in specific wavelengths, namely blue & red.
Omnilux was probably the first company to produce light emitting diodes in the respective wavelength range. This was then followed by Galderma’s Aktalite, thereafter with Lutronic’s Healite. Kleresca ‘biophotonic’ treatment is essentially two wavelengths of blue light, combined with a porphyrin, AKA photodynamic therapy.
As this treatment is not controlled in Australia, it has been commercialised by many beauty & cosmetic clinics. A specific laser licence is not required (at the time of writing) to purchase this device. Without doubt, LLED has therapeutic value, however the true indications have been diluted considerably with commercial, rather than clinical outcomes in mind.
I employ LED light therapy in three main roles-
Firstly, for adjunctive management of acne whereby medications are contraindicated. The most frequently encountered scenario is in pregnancy. In this context the aim is to reduce both lesion count & also promote wound healing, hence why I may choose two wavelengths, namely blue & red. The peak porphyrin action spectrum is in the 420+nm over the 630+ nm spectrum, however research in Korea has shown that combined wavelengths equates to better outcomes. This makes sense as blue light penetrates superficially, whilst red penetrates deeply. Additionally, the longer wavelengths play a larger role in collagen remodelling (an important aspect of wound healing, especially in mitigation of acne scars).
Secondly, LED is employed to activate porphyrins or more specifically aminolevulinic acid or methyl-ALA. This is of course, photodynamic therapy. In the United States we use Luvan, activation is via the blue light spectrum, in Australia & Europe, most dermatologists employ red light, mostly in the 630-633 nm spectrum. Pros & cons for each wavelength. Blue hurts a lot less (superficial penetration), red goes deeper- hurts more . PDT is also used to treat conditions like acne & rosacea (less so for the later). In the context of acne, the trade name is Kleresca. Does it work? Yes, however there are far more cost-effective ways to treat acne, namely with simple blue & or red LED therapy. Recalcitrant cases can be managed with ALA. This treatment is not new, as it has been used for over 20 years by dermatologists. It has just been commercialized.
Third role of LED/LLED phototherapy is for wound healing. The optimal wavelength is the yellow light at 830 nm, however the 630+ has some evidence. LEDs modulate the cellular responses, reduce inflammation, improves circulation, stimulates collagen & speeds up wound healing. LLED can speed up surgical, laser, & deep peel dermal wounding.
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