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Red Light, Blue Light: A Quick Guide to LED Light Skin Therapy
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Dec 22, 2017

LED light therapy is a revolutionary skin treatment that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, balances uneven skin tone, minimizes pore size, and brightens the skin. It’s also an excellent complementary treatment for mild to moderate acne.

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Unlike more invasive cosmetic procedures, LED facials don’t require time off work. There’s no lengthy recovery. It’s such a simple, convenient process that you can schedule sessions on your lunch break. Treatments are safe, easily accessible, affordable, and they’re beneficial for all skin types and colors.

Keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions on this highly effective medical spa treatment.

What are treatment sessions like? Are they painful?

A panel of gentle, low-level light is held just above your skin while you wear a protective cover over your eyes. There’s a warm sensation like that of being in the sun. Many clients fall asleep.

Sessions can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of machine used and how much skin surface it covers. There are home devices on the market, but professional equipment is stronger and more effective.

How does it work?

Light is a valuable source of energy that your skin uses to encourage healing. The process is comparable to photosynthesis in plants. Light energy is converted to cell energy.

LED stands for light-emitting diode. That’s a fancy phrase for a computer chip that delivers therapeutic wavelengths of non-laser light energy. The technology was first developed to accelerate the healing of wounds and scars, but benefits for other skin problems soon became evident.

When the light energy is at the correct color wavelength, it boosts skin cells’ production of the proteins collagen and elastin. Collagen gives the skin youthful-looking fullness and smooths out folds and wrinkles. Elastin provides firmness and resilience. LED light therapy causes fibroblast cells in the dermis to produce these proteins at a rate comparable to that of people in their 20s.

This technique stimulates the anti-aging process, normalizes cellular imbalances, and improves overall tone and clarity. It increases blood circulation and oxygen flow to cells while releasing toxins at the same time. The therapy may even deactivate certain enzymes that break down collagen.


RELATED: The Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing

What skin concerns do LED facials address?

LED light therapy has been proven to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Redness and irritation are replaced with a radiant glow. Sun spots disappear or fade significantly during treatment.

LED light therapy is effective for the treatment of several common skin concerns:

  • Acne

The light penetrates skin layers to kill harmful bacteria, reduce inflammation and inhibit production of skin oil. Large areas of skin can be targeted at once.

  • Rosacea

Rosacea causes persistent facial redness on the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead. The condition may be accompanied by small, inflamed bumps or visible blood vessels, and symptoms may include a painful burning sensation.

Low-level LED light helps treat this condition. Mitochondria in skin cells absorb the concentrated light and stimulate collagen production. Heat and light encourage blood circulation, which carries beneficial nutrients to affected areas. As capillaries are normalized and strengthened, rosacea is reduced.

  • Melasma

Melasma is a common issue in which brown or gray patches appear on the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin or upper lip. Other areas that get a lot of sun exposure, such as the forearms and neck, are also prone to discoloration.

Melasma occurs so frequently during pregnancy that it’s otherwise known as the mask of pregnancy. Hormone replacement therapy is also a trigger.

LED light therapy has been shown to minimize discoloration and balance skin tone.

  • Eczema

This condition, also known as dermatitis, is an itchy, unsightly inflammation of the skin caused by overactive cells in the immune system. It is quite common, but severity ranges from minor, temporary rashes to extreme irritation.

Light therapy has been shown to suppress the overactive cells that are to blame.

  • Uneven pigmentation

Sun damage, birth control pills, hormone fluctuations during pregnancy, acne scarring and overproduction of melanin can all lead to blotchy, uneven skin tone. Even pollution can interfere with pigmentation.

Light energy lightens and fades dark spots. It protects the skin from future discoloration by limiting melanin production and preventing melanin from reaching the skin’s surface.

  • Aging and sun damage

Clients swear by LED light therapy for diminishing the effects of aging and sun damage. Participants in a 2014 survey were overwhelmingly pleased with their dramatic results. Most reported firmer, softer, smoother skin with even coloring and a youthful shine.

What’s the difference between blue light and red light therapy?

Red light penetrates the skin to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. It also increases collagen production. Collagen helps minimize lines and wrinkles, corrects sun damage, diminishes stretch marks and reduces redness.

Blue light kills the harmful bacteria beneath the skin surface that is responsible for acne.

Red light is good for wound healing, scar prevention, rosacea, anti-aging and rejuvenation. Blue light is used primarily for acne. Many clients see even greater results from alternating between red light and blue light treatments, and some dermatologists take the two-color approach to address skin-deep cancer problems or prevent occurrences of cancer.

How long does it take to work?

Depending on skin condition and the severity of problems, LED light treatments are recommended two to three times a week for a course of six weeks to three months.

You may immediately see a slight improvement, but results are largely progressive. Your skin will improve with each treatment until all problems are corrected. Noticeable changes usually appear after eight to 10 sessions. Professionals advise scheduling maintenance treatments every three to six months.

It may take longer to notice results if you have an unhealthy diet, you’ve recently lost weight or you spend too much time in the sun without protection.

Does LED light therapy promote healing after plastic surgery?

Yes, it does. It accelerates healing, reduces scarring and prevents bruising. Experts recommend treatment at least one day prior to surgery and for at least three consecutive days following surgery.

At The Breslow Center in Paramus, New Jersey we offer treatments using the Celluma Elite, a stand-mounted lamp that’s perfect for use where very precise positioning is required following surgery and deep ablative procedures.


Can LED facials be performed in conjunction with other medical spa treatments?

Results are maximized when LED light therapy is used in conjunction with chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments.

What does the LED skin therapy cost?

Cost depends on the condition of your skin, the problems you’re experiencing and other factors, but LED therapy is largely affordable.

Ask our staff about our LED facial pricing and availabilities.

What are the risks and potential side effects?

It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor or dermatologist before trying a new treatment, but LED light therapy is considered very safe.

It doesn’t use ultraviolet rays, so the risk of burning your skin or damaging your eyes is virtually nonexistent; the protective eye covering is for preventing glare. The therapy has not been shown to cause cancer or pose a danger during pregnancy.

Medical aestheticians and skincare professionals alike are excited about the promising results and potential of LED light therapy. Ask our medical spa staff in Paramus, NJ if it’s right for you!

About the Author

Dr. Gary Breslow, MD, FACS

Dr. Gary Breslow, MD, FACS

Is a highly regarded plastic surgeon in Paramus New Jersey, known by both patients and peers as a problem-solver with a warm, engaging personality, and an instinctive ability to identify and truly understand the goals of his patients and the patients, themselves. Dr. Breslow has dedicated his efforts to providing results of only the most unsurpassed quality, continually staying abreast of the most advanced techniques in cosmetic surgery for the benefit of his patients. Dr. Breslow is Board-Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is licensed to practice plastic & reconstructive surgery in both New Jersey and New York.

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