Updated: May 7, 2020
My new job has got me training in all kinds of exciting aesthetic technologies, the Dermalux LED machine being one of them. I have read about LED light and the numerous benefits it has on the skin before using it for the first time, because it’s impossible to ignore this blockbuster skin treatment as LED home masks have become a hot beauty trend, and fellow aestheticians’ flood my Instagram feed with LED treatment selfies.
I was pleasantly surprised during my training at what this multi-tasking technology can achieve as well as the level of safety it has over other aesthetic light-therapy-based treatments in the industry, like lasers and IPL. This kind of skin tech is truly transformative and this latest post will tell you why.
What is LED light therapy?
LED stands for light emitting diode and before hitting the skin industry, all it seemed to be good for was long-lasting fluorescent light bulbs.
Light therapy was discovered in 1903 and by the 1960s, LED was widely used in parts of Europe to treat chronic pain, arthritis and muscular, tissue and joint injury. A wave of clinical studies and development followed in the decades after and it soon became apparent during this time, that LED therapy was beneficial for improving the appearance of superficial skin trauma too.
LED light devices always include one, or at least two of the following wavelengths:
(travels 415 nanometres into the skin)
When used on the skin, the blue light targets the sebaceous gland making it the perfect treatment for mild to severe acne conditions. As the skin absorbs the blue light, a reaction takes place creating singlet oxygen which helps treat active breakouts and prevent further spots from developing.
This type of light is also well- known for its mood-boosting effect and is commonly used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
There have been a variety of studies carried out of the last couple of decades, highlighting the profound antibacterial effects that the blue LED light has on the skin.
(travels 633 nanometres into the skin)
The red–light acts as the rejuvenating wavelength and is absorbed by mitochondria, the ‘cell factories’ in our skin that help assist with the body’s cell’s regular functions. This means that a session under the red light can accelerate the skin’s cell renewal process which helps increase the collagen, elastin and hydration levels resulting in a smoother, brighter complexion.
This light benefits all skin types especially if skin brightening and rejuvenation are at the top of your list.
(travels 830 nanometres into the skin)
Infrared light travels the deepest into the skin and its main benefit for the skin is its healing properties. Exposure to this type of light leads to increased blood circulation which helps with repairing and strengthening the skin.
This light also benefits irritated skin conditions including skin burns, reactions and rosacea due to its calming properties and gentle application. The stimulation from the infrared wavelength can also help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
If you are having a professional treatment, your aesthetician will select a wavelength (sometimes multiple) that will be most suitable for your concern and skin type. The one advantage you have when seeing an expert for LED over buying a device to use at home, is that the professional machine will offer better results due to a higher number of wavelengths. Many of the home-friendly devices on the market will only provide one light, limiting results in comparison with a clinical treatment.
It is important to know that despite the multitude of benefits LED has to offer, it still remains a very gentle treatment and is better paired with a stronger treatment if you are treating severe skin conditions. For example, if you have a severe case of acne or hyperpigmentation, a course of LED facials is not going to give you the same WOW results as skin peels, microneedling or laser. However it does work well as a treatment booster or ‘add-on’ and can be used in between deeper treatments to assist the skin’s healing process.
The frequency of treatments needed, depends on a number of factors from your lifestyle and overall health, to the severity of the condition you are treating and the skincare routine you follow. Typically, a course of treatment is advised 1-2 times a week followed by maintenance programme (meaning much longer gaps in between).
It common to feel warmth in the skin straight after an LED facial, and sometimes a mild tingling sensation that usually disappear minutes afterward. Heat-related activities (such as swimming, exercise, saunas and steam rooms) should be avoided for 24 hours after the treatment. As a result of cellular stimulation, you many experience very mild skin dryness for a couple of days after.
How safe is LED?
The answer is SAFE. LED light does not emit ultraviolet rays, reducing any risk of hyperpigmentation. This is a treatment that requires no patch test and is safe for all Fitzpatrick skin types to use.
Contraindicated conditions to this treatment include epilepsy, autoimmune conditions, photosensitive eczema, albinism and active cancer, and it also advised to avoid the treatment when consuming antibiotics and other photosensitive medications. Side effects are extremely rare but of course they can happen; symptoms include redness, inflammation and rashes. If this happens then stop having LED treatment (or your at-home mask) completely and consult with your aesthetician or doctor.
How can I start?
Treatwell lists lots of UK salons and clinics online, that offer this skin-boosting treatment from £29 and there are equally a wide (but pricey) range of LED home-masks to choose from.
Buy at Lookfantastic
Buy at Dermalight
Buy at Skinstore
Buy at Skinstore
Is there anything that LED light isn’t good for? If you have a comprised skin type, this gentle therapy will help strengthen and rejuvenate your skin and reduce inflammation. LED treatment is the perfect choice for when you are ready to finally take the plunge and have an aesthetic treatment, but also not daring enough to face peeling or needles just yet. An LED facial is the cost of a meal out but instead will benefit you, your mind and your skin. Breakouts? Have LED. Sunburnt skin? Call your aesthetician and book some LED. Need a pre-party facial? You guessed it, choose LED. Haven’t tried it yet? Book it now.