Using light-emitting diodes, or LED for short, as a form of therapy is nothing new.
Professionals have long used LED therapy as a non-invasive treatment. Psychotherapists and dermatologists have used LED therapy for years to combat anything from acne to rosacea, skin discoloration, aging skin, and even seasonal affective disorder.
Unfortunately, because the process was both expensive and time-consuming, LED therapy didn’t really gain much traction.
Because of advancements in technology, light therapy is now more affordable and just as effective. In fact, there are now at-home devices that you can use to enjoy the benefits of light therapy without having to leave your house.
What Is Light Therapy?
Using light-emitting diodes, or LED, to emit infrared lights and cause heat in various wavelengths and spectrums, LED therapy brings different kinds of skincare benefits depending on the light used.
For example, using Amber light helps stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.
Collagen and elastin two essential proteins that help maintain the elasticity and structure of your skin. Or, in simpler terms, these two proteins work together to help keep your skin firm and young.
On the other hand, using red light causes a biochemical reaction in the human body, improving its ability to produce cellular energy and promoting better circulation of blood wherever it is deployed. Meanwhile, white light therapy helps tighten the skin and reduce inflammation, and finally, blue light has been shown to have antibacterial properties, among other things.
In short, LED therapy devices act as a catalyst that trigger natural intracellular reactions, and your skin reacts depending on the light used.
The Benefits of Light Therapy
LED light therapy is safe, non-invasive, and has a broad range of application. This is one of the reasons why LED light therapy has become so popular in recent years.
In fact, researchers have yet to find any solid proof that LED light therapy has any negative side effects on the human body. Also, because LEDs do not contain ultraviolet rays, they are safe to use regularly and doesn’t come with the known side effects of other more conventional cosmetic treatments, such as dermabrasion and chemical peels.
For optimal results, patients are recommended to get in-salon LED light therapy sessions at least two to three times a week for six weeks.
Don’t worry, because sessions are not time-consuming. They only take 30 minutes at most, making it easy to squeeze a session during your lunch break. Also, sessions are relatively pain-free. It’s not unusual for people to fall asleep in between sessions, only to be woken up once it’s already done.
Used in conjunction with other facial treatments, LED light therapy sessions are a great way to prepare your skin for a big event, as well as to address cosmetic issues like acne and hyper-pigmentation.
If, however, you don’t have the time to go to a salon for regular treatment, it is still possible to enjoy the benefits of LED light therapy at home by purchasing at-home light therapy devices. Light therapy masks are not as strong or powerful compared to in-salon devices, but they’re easy to use and very effective for maintaining the results.
Of course, even if LED has very little contraindications if any at all and is safe to use for all skin types, it’s still wise to consult with a board-certified dermatologist for proper assessment. Also, when using at-home light therapy products, make sure that you follow the instructions given carefully.
If you have doubts, always check with a board-certified dermatologist first.
Among the many number of reasons why light therapy is used includes:
- Treatment for seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as SAD, as well as sleep disorders.
- As a supplement or alternative to the use of antidepressants.
- As a way to help patients wean off of antidepressants, or make it easier to take a lower dose.
- To help combat the effects of jetlag.
In the beauty world, dermatologists are also using LED light therapy to treat a number of conditions affecting the skin. Blue light, for example, is great at combating acne, as well as cysts dues to its antibacterial properties. Meanwhile, red light stimulates collagen growth, which, in theory, can make your skin look younger and fuller, making it perfect for addressing cosmetic skin issues such as wrinkles, blemishes, and even stretch marks.
How Often Should You Do Light Therapy?
Regardless of whether you’re using light therapy for mood disorders or, what’s great about this non-invasive form of treatment is that it has benefits for both one-off and regular use.
For starters, a single light therapy session will instantly make you feel relieved and leave you glowing.
It is with regular maintenance that light therapy becomes most effective, however.
For cosmetic issues, such as acne problems and rosacea, among others, light therapy is recommended at least twice a week for about two to three months. After this, regular maintenance of once a month can help maintain the results and further reduce symptoms, with repeat intensive courses every year recommended for maintenance purposes.
There are minimal drawbacks to using LED light therapy daily. In fact, daily use is recommended for at-home devices. However, as the machines used by aestheticians and professionals are much more powerful compared to at-home devices, going once or twice a week is sufficient and any frequency higher than that produces marginal improvements at best.
Expensive Light Therapy Masks vs Budget-Friendly Light Therapy Masks
While there’s no doubt that in-office treatments are always stronger and more effective, using light therapy masks for regular maintenance is more accessible and less expensive, even if you have to use the mask at home every day as opposed to getting an in-office treatment once a month.
Unlike in-office treatments, however, light therapy masks can vary wildly in terms of price. Some are more expensive compared to others, despite using the same specifications, such as the wavelengths emitted by the bulbs used.
So, is it okay to use budget-friendly light therapy masks over expensive light therapy masks?
While both products may be safe, you most likely will get what you paid for.
The main difference between expensive and budget-friendly light masks is the bulbs used for treatment. Often, the bulbs used by expensive light masks are a lot more precise. Although there may be very little difference between the light emitted by the bulbs used by both expensive and budget-friendly masks to the naked eye, your skin reacts differently based on the wavelength emitted by the bulb.
This is because, the more precise the wavelength emitted by the bulbs are, the more your skin will react and the better the benefits are.
This is why the more expensive light therapy masks are more worth it compared to the more budget-friendly options. But, mid-range light therapy masks are also worth trying, if only to see whether there’s a huge difference in results between them and the top-end products.
Regardless of whether you go for a mid-end, top-shelf, or budget-friendly light therapy mask, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, make sure to clear everything with the manufacturer or a board-certified dermatologist first, especially if you plan on using the mask outside of their recommendations.