All about LED Light Therapy

What is a LED Phototherapy / Light Therapy

Light Emitting Diode (LED) Phototherapy is the application of specific wavelengths of light energy, in order to obtain therapeutic benefits.  The specific light energy triggers a cascade of bio stimulatory responses, improving cellular performance, and has a variety of medical and cosmetic applications.

Research has shown that LED light therapy can increase circulation, accelerate tissue repair, kill acne bacteria, decrease inflammation, improve skin tone, texture and clarity, decrease under eye wrinkles as well as ease muscle and joint pain, stiffness, spasm, and pain associated with arthritis.

Phototherapy has been widely researched and is supported by thousands of peer-reviewed and published clinical research papers.  Other terms by which light therapy is know are photobiostimulation, photobiomodulation, photomedicine, LED light therapy, low-level light therapy (LLLT), red light therapy, cold and soft LASER therapy.  All terms are correct, have the same meaning and are used to describe the delivery of light energy to treat a variety of medical and cosmetic conditions.

How does it work?

The treatment involves exposing the skin to specific wavelengths or nanometres (nm) from the visible (colour) and infrared (invisible) part of the light spectrum.  Optimum energy and wavelength selection is crucial to the success of the LED treatment as it determines how effectively the light is absorbed.

Phototherapy, meaning ‘Treatment with Light’ is based on the principle that all living cells have evolved to absorb and be influenced by light. Light is a powerful energy and when applied correctly, has a significant impact on how we look, feel and perform. The human body has an amazing capacity to heal itself and light plays a crucial role.

In the same way that plants use chlorophyll to convert sunlight into energy, high intensity light emitting diodes (LEDs) utilizing specific, proven (and safe) wavelengths of light can trigger a natural biostimulatory effect in human tissue through a process known as photobiomodulation.

Research indicates that cells absorb particles of light (photons) and transform their energy into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy that cells utilize. The resulting elevation of ATP is then used to power metabolic processes; synthesize DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, and other products needed to repair or regenerate cell components; foster mitosis or cell proliferation; and restore homeostasis. In other words, the LED light source provides compromised cells with added energy so the cells performance is enhanced. For example, fibroblast cells will increase collagen and elastin production in connective tissue to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and increase the rate of wound healing.

Is a LED Phototherapy right for me?

Well evidenced for its regenerative and healing benefits, Phototherapy does not transfer heat or create trauma, making it particularly effective to treat problematic and inflammatory conditions.  With one of the highest safety profiles, it is a non-invasive, pain free treatment, without downtime, and suitable for all skin types.

Several medical conditions, medications, and chemicals can cause photosensitivity.  Photosensitivity may produce a rash of varying severity, which is known by the general term, photodermatosis.  LED phototherapy is not recommended for anyone who suffers from, Lupus erythematosus, photosensitive eczema or Albinism, or who is taking various medications that may cause photosensitivity, including certain antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and diuretics.

What Wavelengths and Energy are used?

Consistent and successful results with LED Phototherapy are determined by delivering precise clinically proven and scientifically evidenced parameters to ensure maximum light absorption by the target cells.

There are thousands of independent clinical studies supporting LED Phototherapy but three wavelengths (nm) have consistently been shown over time to deliver significant therapeutic outcomes.

BLUE – KEY ACTION: ANTI-BACTERIAL

Blue 415nm is the most proven wavelength to destroy the bacteria which causes acne and improve skin clarity whilst being gentle on the skin. Powerful antibacterial action also has a calming effect to reduce redness and inflammation.

RED – KEY ACTION: REJUVENATING

Red 633nm supercharges cell energy to accelerate repair and renewal, boost collagen synthesis, increase hydration and enhance circulation to reverse the visible signs of ageing. Ideal for restoring vitality and glow.

NEAR INFRARED – KEY ACTION: WOUND HEALING

Near Infrared 830nm targets deeper cells to trigger the wound healing process, calm redness and irritation, reduce pigmentation and promote healthy skin. Combine with Red 633nm for advanced rejuvenation benefits.

NARROW BAND UV (NOT LED) – KEY ACTION: SPECIFIC SKIN DISEASES

Narrowband UV phototherapy is prescribed and administered by a Dermatologist. This technology is an effective treatment for specific photoresponsive skin diseases such as psoriasis, vitiligo and eczema. This (UV) is NOT LED, but is a specific narrow band of UV light provided by specialized lamps (similar to fluorescent tubes).

ENERGY – DOSING MATTERS

Delivering a low power output over a long time duration does not necessarily equate in results to a higher power treatment over a shorter exposure time.  To ensure optimum results during the LED phototherapy treatment, the total absorbed energy by the treatment area (J/cm2) and the stability of photon energy emitted over the duration of the treatment are key considerations.  Our medical grade phototherapy equipment is programmable with variable peak power output, pulsed energy modes, and total energy dosing to achieve recommended clinical parameters.

How many LED Phototherapy treatments will I need?

Results are progressive, over time; however, some benefits may be realized after a single treatment (such as an add-on with another service, such as a facial), or with PDT treatments.  Typically, a minimum of 24-48 hours is recommended between light therapy treatments.

Best results are typically achieved with 2 treatments per week for about 4 – 8 weeks duration for acne (Blue or combined Blue / Red).

PDT (photodynamic therapy – phototherapy combined with light activated topical medication) can be used to treat moderate-to-severe Cystic Acne or Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancersous cells known as AKs) in a single treatment.

Rejuvenation / inflammation (Red or Red / NIR) treatments also benefit from 2 treatments per week for about 4 – 8 weeks duration.

Wound healing improvements (post surgery, invasive laser treatment, or burn) can be expected with immediate (Red / NIR) treatment and then twice weekly for 3 weeks or longer (Ablon 2018).

There has been some reported clinical success for Melasma with 1 x weekly microderm / pulsed NIR for 8 weeks.

Enhanced recovery and healing from Herpes Simplex and Zoster has been reported with 1 x daily NIR with concurrent Acyclovir for 3 days.

Large surface Phototherapy devices trigger potential beneficial systemic effects via the delivery of photolabile molecules from the vast skin reservoir that, in turn, interact with remote areas of the body with distinct mechanisms of action.  Skin improvement has been reported for weeks after LED phototherapy treatment, in many cases.

What can I expect at my first treatment?

Before treatment can begin, a consent form must be completed.  Consultations may be completed in advance or, sometimes, on the same day as the first treatment at the discretion of our staff.

Before treatment, you will need to have a clean, makeup-free face.  You might receive additional treatments before LED light therapy, such as a facial.  DO NOT use the LED phototherapy system without removing creams, lotions or make-up BEFORE treatment. Some ingredients in these products may cause light sensitization, cause a skin reaction or may reduce the effect of the treatment.

After putting on your safety goggles (mandatory), you will lie down on the treatment bed and your esthetician will position the LED light therapy device above your face (or possibly other body areas for acne or wound healing treatments).  You will lie still during the entire treatment, usually for about 15 minutes.

LED light therapy is a non-invasive, painless treatment.  In addition to skin benefits, light can increase serotonin levels, which can relieve stress and tension.  You may feel a slight warmth due to the stimulation of circulation.  However, it is a heat-free treatment and does not contain any harmful UV wavelengths.  It is safe for all skin types, including dark and sensitive skin.

What can I expect following my treatment?

LED Phototherapy is safe and effective for all skin types. It is well tolerated with very few reported side effects.  Immediately after treatment, skin may feel warm and may appear red, due to the increased blood circulation in your skin. Skin should return to normal with 1 to 2 hours.  Rarely, patients may experience temporary headaches immediately following the light treatment.  Headaches can typically be treated with an appropriate pain killer and rehydration.

After LED light therapy, you can return to your regular activities and continue with your normal skincare regime immediately.  It is Okay to reapply makeup immediately and it is recommended that that you apply a high level broad spectrum UVB/UVA sun protectant, to reduce the effects of photo ageing, immediately after your treatment session.  Results will be enhanced by using an evidence-based anti-ageing skincare regime recommended by your practitioner.

Each client’s skin reacts differently to this procedure.  There will be subtle results immediately after the first treatment and more noticeable results after the series is completed.  If you notice any adverse reactions or have any concerns you should contact Azure staff as soon as possible.

How can I ensure my desired results are achieved?

Excellent client home-care is an important part of any skin care procedure, and also ensures you obtain, and maintain, the best results.  It is typical to expect that the desired results are similarly dependent on clinical procedures, and on proper home-care.