Published: November 29, 2022

If you are looking for a way to improve the overall health and appearance of your skin, we recommend considering LED light therapy. This specialized treatment utilizes a noninvasive light to alleviate several concerns.

LED light therapy is a developing field in cosmetic treatments that can be beneficial for all skin types. It has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years as more people are drawn to it for the physical and mental benefits as well as the short treatment time. We’re going to take a close look at LED light therapy—how it actually works to the specific benefits it can offer.

""LED therapy can also be used on the neck and chest, which are other areas that tend to show signs of aging"

Monica Poli, [ comfort zone ] Skin Science and Technologies Manager

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What is LED Light Therapy?

Though LED light therapy might sound new, it has actually been around since the early 1960s. However, it didn’t become well-known until the ‘90s when NASA began utilizing it for plant growth on shuttle missions. During that time, people consequently discovered it to be a quite promising method for skin treatment.

Light emitting diodes (LED) emit a narrow spectrum of light that is absorbed directly into the skin. This process is what's responsible for healing and rejuvenating the skin. Different wavelengths, including blue, red, yellow, green, and infrared light are used to treat a range of skin issues. A combination of the aforementioned lights may be used for specific concerns.

Some common reasons for getting LED light therapy may include: anti-aging, acne, eczema, rosacea, scarring, sun damage, hair loss, facial texture, wounds, collagen production,, wrinkles, Reduction in inflammation

One of the main benefits of LED light therapy is its safety. This treatment provides all the benefits of light absorption, without the potentially harmful ultraviolet light. While treatments such as laser therapies and chemical peels may accomplish a similar result, LED light therapy is completely painless and safe for all skin types and colors.

LED light therapy can be performed at a dermatology office or even at home. Regardless of location, make sure you consult with a doctor first to properly diagnose the condition you’re seeking to treat.

How Does LED Light Therapy Work?

LED light therapy is painless, quick, and improves skin conditions—but how exactly does it work? When our skin absorbs light, we receive more energy. Light supplementation allows our skin cells to do their job more efficiently. This can include repairing the skin, boosting cell growth, and/or enhancing skin rejuvenation.

When receiving treatments, you will need to begin by choosing the correct wavelength: blue, red, yellow, or green. Blue and red light therapy are the most common. They help with wrinkles, inflammation, sebaceous glands, acne, and scarring. Each wavelength is absorbed by different molecules in the body to achieve the desired results. The skin cells can be broken down or disposed of depending on the different wavelengths being used.

Typically, results aren't instantly noticeable. LED light therapy works to improve your complexion overtime so it is a process to gain results. In 2009, a study was conducted with 40 participants between the ages of 18 and 65 who were experiencing signs of aging. Each participant engaged in the study for four consecutive weeks. Half of their face was exposed to a sham light and the other half was exposed to an LED light. For a majority of the participants, there was a significant improvement on the side of the face that was exposed to LED light—as opposed to the side exposed to the sham light after the four weeks.

LED light therapy comes in a variety of devices including LED masks, lamps, and light wands. As best practice, the light source should be placed as close to the skin as possible while remaining within your comfort level. Remember, it is essential that you consult with a professional before beginning any treatment at home or in an office.

Types of LED Light Therapy

As mentioned, there are several types of LED light therapy. Each type reaches the skin at different depths to achieve a specific result. LED light therapy is known to help lessen wrinkles, fine lines, and acne.

Red Light Therapy

The most common form of LED light therapy is red light therapy. It uses a low wavelength to improve the skin's appearance. Red light therapy treats the outer layer of the skin and can be fully absorbed by fiber cells while repairing damaged cells. Some trials have shown that red light therapy can assist in collagen production and blood circulation.

Red light therapy is used frequently for wound healing, sun damage, wrinkles, fine lines, and inflammatory concerns such as rosacea.

Blue Light Therapy

Blue light therapy is utilized to illuminate and kill acne-causing bacteria. It can also balance oils in the skin to target enlarged pores. In fact, blue light therapy has been used to aid in the healing process of third-degree burns as well.

If you are someone who struggles with chronic acne, you may want to consider blue light therapy. It is important to note that blue light therapy is not for whiteheads, cysts, or blackheads.

Yellow Light Therapy

While there hasn’t been an extensive amount of research completed for yellow (or amber) light therapy, there have been trials that show the efficacy of using it to prevent wrinkles, reduce inflammation, and help with wound healing. Yellow light therapy may also stimulate collagen and accelerate blood circulation.

Green Light Therapy

Green light therapy uses a soft and natural light color on the non-pigmented parts of the skin. It’s even known to help mitigate feelings of anxiety or depression. Green light helps to neutralize and calm the nerves, which can positively affect human emotions. Green light therapy can also target dark circles, regulate skin glands, improve oily skin, and even out skin texture. 

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LED Light Therapy Risks and Side Effects

This form of treatment is suitable for all skin tones, doesn't require any downtime, and is considered noninvasive. However (even though LED light therapy has much lower risks than other cosmetic treatments) it is still important to consult and receive treatment from a dermatologist or qualified cosmetic professional. If you notice unusual side effects from LED light therapy, stop treatment immediately and seek medical opinion.

Just like any procedure, you need to be aware of the necessary safety measures and potential side effects. If you are pregnant, on blood thinners, or taking Accutane, you may want to avoid LED light therapy. Possible side effects include redness, inflammation, swelling, crusting, mild headaches, or mild visual side effects. 

How to Prepare for LED Light Therapy

Getting ready for light therapy treatment is considered low prep—especially in comparison to other cosmetic procedures. Immediately before your procedure, you will want to ensure that you have a clean, makeup-free face. In the two weeks leading up to your treatment, you will want to avoid using tanning beds, chemical peels, or any face waxes. This will allow for best results and reduce the chance of side effects occurring. 

What to Expect From a LED Light Therapy Treatment

An LED light therapy treatment can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on where you are—at home or in a spa (professional treatment facility). In a spa, you will be asked to lie down while wearing safety goggles. Once your medical professional is prepped, they will begin treatment.

For most people, LED light therapy recurrence is advised once a week for around 10 weeks, and then once every other month after that. Some professionals may recommend longer or shorter spans, depending on your specific skin needs and desires.

While in-office LED lights tend to be more powerful, there are also LED devices available for at-home facial usage. At-home devices typically come in the form of a face mask or handheld wand. To achieve the best results, you may need to use your at-home device on a more regular basis than you would with spa treatment.

LED Light Therapy Aftercare and Recovery

If you are looking for a procedure with minimal recovery time, LED light therapy fits the bill. With proper aftercare, this noninvasive treatment requires no downtime—so you don’t have to worry about canceling any fun plans.

However, it is pretty common for your face to be pink or red after the first session. This could last anywhere from four to eight hours. If you notice a light stinging sensation, you can use a wet cloth or ice pack to ease the stinging. During recovery time, it is also recommended not to use any makeup or moisturizers for at least 24 hours.

How Much Does LED Light Therapy Cost?

Directly after a chemical peel, the skin will be red, irritated, or swollen. This can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days depending on the depth of the peel.

Light chemical peels take around five to seven days for a full recovery. During the recovery time, the skin may have higher sensitivity and be mildly irritated. The skin may also look sunburned for a few days. However, makeup can usually be applied after 24 hours if desired.

The downtime for medium chemical peels can last up to 14 days. The skin will be red and swollen and a stinging sensation may occur. Ice packs and over-the-counter medication are recommended to relieve any discomfort during recovery. Treated skin will start to crust and may darken during this period.

Severe redness and swelling after a deep chemical peel is to be expected, as well as burning and throbbing. Doctors will usually prescribe a painkiller and ointment to be applied to the treated skin frequently. Those who receive deep chemical peels might prefer staying home until the pain has subsided and new skin completely covers the treated area. This can last up to two weeks.

Regardless of what type of chemical peel you get, treated skin will be sensitive during the healing process. Here are a few tips to follow to keep your skin protected:

  • Use a fragrance-free moisturizer to help prevent scarring and dry skin.
  • Apply sunscreen every day and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Let your peeling skin come off naturally. If you pick at your skin, it can increase the risk of scarring, infection, and prolonged redness.
  • Wait until the skin has stopped peeling to apply makeup.

How Much Do Chemical Peels Cost?

Chemical peels have been growing in popularity since 2016 and are projected to continue. On average, this cosmetic procedure costs around $400. However, the total will vary depending on the type of peel you get, your dermatologist's level of expertise, your location, and your skin condition.

Medium and deep peels typically cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000. These are the most thorough and extensive peels.

Light peels occasionally require treatments over a number of weeks. However, they are usually the cheapest. Always make sure to talk to your doctor about the total cost upfront.

Try Your Hands at Our At-Home Exfoliation First!

While chemical peels result in smooth and rejuvenated skin, they can be costly and time-consuming. If you are looking to exfoliate on a budget, take a look at some of our at-home products that are both effective and safe.

Our products are made to nourish and protect (try our body peel scrub for smoothness or our peel pads for brightening!) so you always feel at home in your own skin.

If you’re interested in getting a safe and trustworthy treatment, connect with a Comfort Zone spa near you.

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