LED light therapy was once a pro skincare treatment confined to salons and skin professionals, but thanks to advancements in technology, some of our favourite skincare brands are releasing light therapy devices you can use at home.
Here’s everything you need to know about LED skincare.
What is LED skincare?
LED (light-emitting diode) therapy is used in skincare because specific wavelengths of light trigger cellular reactions and biological processes in the skin – similar to the way that plants use chlorophyll to convert light into plant tissue. This leads to either a damaged cell repairing itself or a functional cell performing more efficiently, which over time results in healthier and healed skin.
How does LED skincare work?
To be able to kickstart the cellular reactions and biological processes that lead to results, light has to have a certain intensity. Light is measured in wavelengths, expressed in units of nanometers (nm). The longer the wavelength, the deeper the tissue penetration. Wavelengths of 390-600nm target superficial tissue (about 2.2mm into the dermis) while wavelengths of 600-1110nm go deeper still. Different wavelengths of light also correspond to different colours – most commonly, blue (400-495), amber (590-620nm), and red (620-750nm). Each colour has various different effects on tissue.
What can LED do for skin?
For healing – At approximately 660-850nm (red light) LED has been shown to trigger cell growth which decreases wound size and appearance, and considerably speeds up the healing process.
For acne – Due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties at a wavelength of around 420, blue light can help with the treatment of acne and blemishes.
For anti-aging – Collagen and elastin (responsible for skin being firm and flexible) decrease in our skin as we age, leading to skin that looks looser and feels thinner. This is further accelerated by sun exposure, lifestyle, and environmental pollution. Amber and red light help to trigger elastic and collagen production to combat this.
For pigmentation – At a wavelength of around 660nm (red light), LED can help to treat post-inflammatory pigmentation (the red marks that linger after breakouts).
For dull skin – LED improves blood circulation, which helps to give skin a fresh, radiant glow.
Isn’t blue light bad for skin?
You may have seen some skincare products promoted with ‘anti-blue light’ benefits. This is because blue light with wavelengths under 400nm contain UV, which is damaging to skin. LED therapy devices should therefore always have wavelengths of over 400nm, but it’s important to purchase your devices from reputable skincare brands or from brands who disclaim the strength of the wavelengths to ensure it is safe for your skin.
What results can I expect?
After treatment, skin usually appears immediately plump and glowy. Over time, skin tone and texture will improve, breakouts will reduce, acne can heal faster, and signs of aging may appear less obvious.
How long will it take to see results?
As with any skincare treatment, it can take several weeks and even months to see results, depending on your skin and how consistent you are with using the treatment.