Light Therapy for Skin Health

Skin health and appearance is improved with light therapy. Skin responds well to near-infrared and red wavelengths of light (including low level laser therapy). Red and near infrared-light effect skin at the cellular level, causing cells to regenerate, survive (when they would otherwise die), and proliferate as well as galvanize tissue repair. The mitochondrial chromophores in skin cells absorb the light’s photons, especially CCo or cytochrome c oxidase. This galvanizes a cascade of events and bio-stimulation of numerous processes, including electron transport, the release of both ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and nitric oxide, improved blood flow, and increased production of reactive oxygen species (a good thing in this case). Through these processes red/near infrared light enhances enzyme activity and activates diverse signaling pathways. This leads to stem cell activation, and the healing of burns and/or repairs to damaged tissue (13 751) and the rapid (up to 200% faster).

Light devices, including those designed for in-home use, can treat fine lines and wrinkles, and irregular pigmentation. For a faster result go to a professional for IPLs or intense pulse light sources. It also treats a condition called telangiectasia: widened venules of tiny blood vessels cause thread like red patters or lines on the skin. It can also tighten skin as well as scars and photoaged (sun damaged) skin. Regarding skin damage due to UV light, red light can both treat this problem and protect against it.

Cellulite, or its appearance, has been treated with LED infrared irradiation during exercises on a treadmill. Here LED treatment, especially when combined with the contraction of skeletal muscles, leads to a thermal effect with higher circulation caused by a rise in muscle temperature can improve the supply of oxygen and the transportation and utilization of metabolic substrates (10). This then leads to increased micro-circulation and better lymphatic drainage and subsequently an improvement in cellulite appearance, often with a reduction in thigh perimeter. Cellulite is characterised by changes to lymphatic drainage and microcirculation, and dysfunction cutaneous and adipose tissue that has a fibrotic reaction (10).

Red light can even help to treat disorders of pigmentation like vitiligo (when skin loses colour, appearing white or depigmented). this is due to the pigment cells or melanocytes, being destroyed by the disease) . Here it stimulates the proliferation of melanocyte while reducing depigmentation by slowing autoimmunity. It can also help treat diseases of inflammation like acne (especially in combination with anti-bacterial blue light) and psoriasis, as well as the cold sore virus or Herpes Virus Lesions. Keep in mind that the oral variety responded better than the genital variety to light therapy (13).

You can also use light therapy to produce more collagen using either red light or infrared light, or a mixture of both. The first, red light, slows production of enzymes associated with collagen breakdown and increases fibroblast production. Red light (free from UV rays) uses non-damaging light wavelengths known to increase collagen. The second, infrared light, helps increase production of type one and three collagens specifically, as well as elastin.

Preparing the skin is important to the success of using light therapy. Remove all makeup and oily substances. Maintain the equipment properly. Strength is an issue depending on what the light is used for. Low fluences (390 nm to 690 nm) and power densities are used for superficial tissue. While longer wavelengths (600 nm to 1100 nm) are used for deeper tissues. 

This information is for education only. Please consult a qualified health care provider.

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