LED (Light Emitting Diode) therapy has emerged as a safe and noninvasive method for medically and cosmetically improving the appearance of skin and dermatological conditions. Unlike chemical peels and laser therapy, LED therapy has an excellent safety profile and has been scientifically proven to not cause any damage to the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, or the underlying dermal tissue. LED light therapy prevents epidermal cell disruption by employing specific wavelengths of light to target the various layers of the skin at different depths. Wavelengths of light trigger a cascade of metabolic functions in the targeted cells. These functions include increasing cellular function, proliferation, and repair of damaged cells. LED light therapy can rejuvenate skin, help prevent acne, aid in wrinkle reduction, and assist with wound rehabilitation.
LED blue light therapy is most commonly utilized to treat skin affected by acne. Acne is caused by the excretion of bacteria within the skin’s pores and oil glands, known as sebaceous glands, becoming clogged or overproducing oil. Blue light is a shorter wavelength of light that can kill the bacteria within the glands through a natural inhibitory effect. It also reduces the size and appearance of oil glands by lowering their activity and cutting down waste production by bacteria. After several treatments, oil production on the skin will be reduced and fewer acne flare ups will take place.
Red light is composed of longer wavelengths of light that penetrate deep into the skin, fighting inflammation and wrinkles, while improving skin smoothness. The red light stimulates cells that make up the dermis, called fibroblasts, to produce collagen and increases nutrient circulation. Collagen is a protein that gives the skin its youthful, healthy, and uplifted appearance. By increasing collagen production and improving the flow of oxygen and other nutrients to the underlying layers of skin, red LED light therapy helps reduce wrinkles, sagging, and scarring, revitalizing the skin’s appearance.
Yellow LED light waves reach the papillary dermis, the thin layer between the outer layer of skin and underlying dermis. The yellow light helps relieve signs of aging of the skin and rosacea due to UV rays and facial redness by decreasing blood vessel size and soothing skin. This makes yellow LED light therapy optimal for those who spend extended periods of time in the sun or undergo laser skin resurfacing or cosmetic injections.
Infrared light wavelengths are longer than those under the visible spectrum of light, making them invisible to the eye. Due to the long wavelengths, infrared light penetrates to the deepest layers of the skin. The light stimulates the cells far below the surface, activating them to produce more ATP (the energy molecule in cells), fight infections, and accelerate healing. Infrared light can also increase the release of nitric oxide from tissues, which improves circulation at the site. Increased blood flow brings a large amount of nutrients to the area, helping to relieve pain and expedite healing speeds. Infrared light therapy is best for healing wounds and infections, pain relief, and overall skin revival.
LED therapy light is also able to target the hair follicles within the scalp. Age-related hair loss occurs in both men and women due to hair follicles becoming thinner and weaker, making them unable to support hair growth. Red light wavelengths target the layer of skin where hair follicles grow. The light stimulates the follicles and root of the hair to increase protein production and circulation, strengthening the follicle and helping hair to grow back stronger and healthier.
Ablon, Glynis. “Phototherapy with Light Emitting Diodes: Treating a Broad Range of Medical and Aesthetic Conditions in Dermatology.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, Matrix Medical Communications, 1 Feb. 2018.
Russel, B. A., et al. “A Study to Determine the Efficacy of Combination LED Light Therapy (633 Nm and 830 NM) in Facial Skin Rejuvenation.” Taylor & Francis, Taylor & Francis Online, 12 July 2009.
Pei, Susan, et al. “Light-Based Therapies in Acne Treatment.” Indian Dermatology Online Journal, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2015.
Wheeland, Ronald G, and Sunil Dhawan. “Evaluation of Self-Treatment of Mild-to-Moderate Facial Acne with a Blue Light Treatment System.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 June 2011.
Varani, James, et al. “Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin: Roles of Age-Dependent Alteration in Fibroblast Function and Defective Mechanical Stimulation.” The American Journal of Pathology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2006.
Mamalis, Andrew, and Jared Jagdeo. “High-Fluence Light-Emitting Diode-Generated Red Light Modulates the Transforming Growth Factor-Beta Pathway in Human Skin Fibroblasts.” Dermatologic Surgery : Official Publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [Et Al.], U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2018.
Opel, Daniel R, et al. “Light-Emitting Diodes: A Brief Review and Clinical Experience.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, Matrix Medical Communications, June 2015.
Gale, George D, et al. “Infrared Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized, Controlled Trial.” Pain Research & Management, Pulsus Group Inc, 2006.
Tsai, Shang-Ru, and Michael R Hamblin. “Biological Effects and Medical Applications of Infrared Radiation.” Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology. B, Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2017.
Lee, Ju Hee, et al. “Effects of Infrared Radiation on Skin Photo-Aging and Pigmentation.” Yonsei Medical Journal, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 31 Aug. 2006.
Sorbellini, Elisabetta, et al. “Photodynamic and Photobiological Effects of Light-Emitting Diode (Led) Therapy in Dermatological Disease: An Update.” Lasers in Medical Science, Springer London, Sept. 2018.
Lanzafame, Raymond J, et al. “The Growth of Human Scalp Hair in Females Using Visible Red Light Laser and Led Sources.” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 Aug. 2014.
Han, Le, et al. “Activation of Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Is Involved in Hair Growth-Promoting Effect OF 655-Nm Red Light and Led in in Vitro Culture Model.” Lasers in Medical Science, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2018.