For some, using Light Emitting Diodes (LED) to treat certain skin issues like acne and aging may sound too good. How does shining a light on your face clear up those pesky breakouts and plump-up skin? Well, science is in the stars. About 40 years ago, scientists at NASA discovered through plant growth experiments that light therapy was a beneficial way to repair damaged cells and speed up healing. Danish physician Dr, Neils Finsen won a Nobel Prize two hundred years ago when he demonstrated how varying light waves could be used to treat tuberculosis. LED has been around for quite some time!
Through the years the basis for this technology has been accepted as a non-invasive popular application to treat a variety of common skin conditions. LED photo modulation works similar to the way photosynthesis works in plants as it triggers the body to convert the light energy into cell energy. The light encourages natural cellular activity and “re-energizes” the cells in the skin.
Red light therapy is a technology that uses visible red light wavelengths from 630-660 nanometers and infrared light wavelengths at around 880nm to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin. Red and Infrared light increases energy inside cells and jump-starts collagen and elastin production to help make skin firm and supple. Because the skin layers have a high blood and water content, it makes it easy for the skin to absorb light. Most researchers agree that light therapy increases the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)—the energy or battery life of cells—and it may also work by targeting water layers on elastin, gradually restoring its elastic function and reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles. In addition, Red Infrared light therapy also assists with blood circulation, effectively transporting oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Along with fighting wrinkles, red LED light waves have been used to heal rosacea and even eczema skin.
Blue light has a wavelength of 400–490 nm and has unique effects on the skin, especially when treating acne. When blue light reaches the sebaceous glands in the skin, it can help excite porphyrins, which are compounds inside acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acne). When activated porphyrins release reactive oxygen molecules that damage the bacteria internally, killing them from the inside out. Since red light helps accelerate wound repair, it’s often combined with blue light to treat acne, encourage healing, and lessen acne scarring and under-the-skin lesions.
These two light wavelengths can effectively and gently make significant changes in the skin at a deep level by repairing cells, stimulating collagen and elastin, and helping to treat acne.
Other color wavelengths work to boost anti-aging benefits such as infrared for wound healing and deep red and amber, best known for their work on wrinkles and skin tone.