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The Science Behind LED Light Therapy: Unveiling Its Benefits and Uses

Light emitting diode (LED) phototherapy (treatment with light) is a treatment in which different wavelengths of light are shone on the skin, usually of the face, to “stimulate or regulate biological processes with proven therapeutic results”. LED phototherapy can be used to target a plethora of skin concerns, from acne to fine lines, to rosacea. LED’s beneficial effects on skin health were originally discovered by NASA in the 1990s when they were exploring treatments that promote wound healing and skin regeneration. Today, LED is principally used by dermatologists and aestheticians, either as a standalone treatment or in combination with other treatments, such as microneedling, injectables, skincare masks and topical skincare products to maximise their effects.  


Professionals use powerful, medical-grade devices, from manufacturers such as Dermalux, which are at least 20 times more powerful than any at-home devices, to administer the LED therapy. A variety of slower, less effective at-home devices are also available to purchase over-the-counter.


How does LED work?


LED light therapy uses different wavelengths of light, which emit different colours. Each wavelength has the ability to penetrate different depths of the skin, and therefore to treat different skin concerns. These wavelengths may be used in isolation or in combination, depending on the skin issue being addressed.


Different wavelengths of light used for LED light treatment and their corresponding
Different wavelengths of light and their depths of skin penetration


·       Blue light- affects the top layer of the skin (the epidermis)

·       Red light – penetrates the middle layer of skin (the dermis)  

·       Near-infrared light- penetrates the deepest layer of skin (the

Effects of the different wavelengths


Blue LED therapy (415nm) – for bacteria and blemishes

  • Capable of killing acne-forming bacteria, P.acnes, improving skin clarity without irritation

  • Helps spots and blemish-prone skin

  • Improves skin clarity

  • Calming anti-inflammatory effect

  • Post-procedure- Used in combination with near infrared light to calm the skin and minimise breakouts post procedures such as microneedling


Red LED therapy (633nm) – for rejuvenation and renewal

  • Rejuvenates the skin by increasing metabolic energy (ATP) synthesis to stimulate cell renewal, boost collagen and elastane production and increase hydration. Ideal for restoring vitality.

  • Improves skin quality and texture

  • Reduces fine lines

  • Increases natural skin hydration

  • Increases blood circulation and oxygenation

  • Stimulates lymphatic system

  • Restores optimum cell function


Near infrared (NIR- 830nm)- For healing and hyperpigmentation

  • Advanced rejuvenating benefits

  • Calms redness and irritation

  • Reduces hyperpigmentation

  • Promotes integrity and healthy skin

  • Accelerates post treatment healing

  • Ideal for most sensitive skin

  • NIR has been shown to increase cell regeneration by up to 200%


Which skin conditions does LED help?


Dermalux Flex is clinically proven to aid treatment of a wide range of skin concerns, including:


·       Ageing and rejuvenation

·       Spots and blemish-prone skin

·       Hyperpigmentation

·       Red and flushed skin

·       Sensitive skin conditions e.g. eczema, psoriasis and rosacea

·       Wounds

·       Combination and post-treatment benefits


The scientific evidence behind LED


A wealth of research studies have proven the effectiveness of LED light treatment. Some of the benefits are listed below:

  • Near infrared light can increase cell regeneration by up to 200% (Dr H Whelan et al., 2001)

  • Red and near infrared light can improve periorbital (around the eye) wrinkles by to 75% (Russel et al., 2005)

  • Red and near-infrared light can improve skin texture and smoothness by up to 79% (NS Sadick, 2008)

  • Red and near-infrared light can increase skin elasticity by up to 36% (Lee et al., 2007)

  • Near infrared light can significantly reduce redness and flushing (Lee et al., 2007)

  • Blue and red light can improve spots and blemishes by up to 76% (A Chu et al., 2002)


Benefits of in-clinic LED treatment vs at home devices


The main benefits of in-clinic LED treatment are faster and more significant results, due to the use of more powerful devices in the clinic setting. Dermalux is the leading manufacturer of LED devices. Its medical-grade devices are at least 20x more powerful than any at-home device available on the market, and therefore have significantly higher ability to treat the skin conditions listed above.


Reduced treatment time- whereas many at home machines require 60 minutes use a day to see an effect, in-office machines work much faster, requiring just 10-15 minutes for many protocols, or up to 30 minutes use.


With home treatments you are unlikely to see significant anti-ageing or acne reduction.


Furthermore, the Dermalux LED gives the clinician the option to utilise multiple different wavelengths of light simultaneously, therefore targeting multiple complaints at the same time.


What to expect in LED light treatment


As with any treatment, the first step in your aesthetic journey will be a consultation with Dr Horlick, in which she will assess your skin and devise a bespoke treatment plan. It may be that LED light therapy is used as a standalone treatment, or, more commonly, in combination with another treatment, for example following microneedling where it is used as a tool to calm inflammation and reduce the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and breakouts. This will all be discussed at your consultation.


The indication for LED treatment will determine the duration and number of treatments and preceding steps. In combination treatments, LED will be applied for 10-20 minutes following your primary treatment. You will be asked to wear eye protecting goggles for the duration of the treatment. If used as a standalone treatment, prior to LED application, your skin will be cleansed so that all makeup and dirt are removed, followed by exfoliation and serum application in some cases. The LED will then be applied for 30 minutes, with safety goggles being worn throughout.


After your treatment, you may experience some temporary flushing of the skin, which has been activated by the light. There is no downtime following the treatment, after which you may recommence your normal daily activities. You are advised to wear factor 50 suncream to protect your skin everyday, including after LED treatments.


Contraindications to LED light treatment


LED treatment is generally very safe, offering a clinically effective, safe treatment without trauma, pain or downtime. However, there are a few conditions in which LED treatment is inadvisable. These are listed below.  


·       Light triggered epilepsy

·       Porphyria

·       Photosensitive eczema

·       Hypomelanism (albinism)

·       Use of medications that cause photosensitivity Roaccutane and lithium

·       Active cancer

·       Certain inherited eye diseases



The results of LED light treatment


Results are not immediate, a course of 4 in-office treatments are generally required to see changes in the skin. A maintenance treatment may then be required every 1-2 months.



Best LED treatment at Dr Horlick Aesthetics


At Dr Horlick Aesthetics, LED light treatment is currently being offered as a complimentary additional treatment following microneedling and other treatments. The goal of the LED therapy is to work synergistically with other treatments to improve their effectiveness. The LED is also used to soothe the skin, initiating the healing process and reducing skin irritation and risk of breakouts/ post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Contact us to find out more about LED light treatment or to book a consultation.  


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