Celebrities like the Kardashians are using it, K-dramas are featuring it, even dermatologists are raving about it!
With LED light therapy devices rising in popularity all around the world, there comes with it a ton of misconceptions and, of course, skeptics. In this article, we will be debunking 5 myths and misconceptions commonly heard through the grapevine.
“It’s dangerous”Quite the contrary! LED therapy is FDA-approved and is the safest tool for treatment of various skin conditions.1 LED devices are nonablative and nonthermal, and do not cause any damage to the epidermis or dermal tissue (unlike lasers).
There are no adverse events and little to no downtime is required.2 It is safe for even pregnant women to use.3
“LED therapy is bogus! I could just as well shine a table lamp on my face”Be our guest, but shining a table lamp on your face will do absolutely nothing for your skin. Those who claim that LED therapy is bogus simply do not understand the science behind this technology.
So, what exactly is LED therapy and how does affect the skin?
LED therapy works using different wavelengths of light, which appears to the naked eye as distinctive colors (this is NOT the same as putting a color filter onto white light). Used wavelengths range from approximately 380 to 1300nm, with longer wavelengths penetrating deeper into tissues.
Different cells and tissues absorb light at different wavelengths, and this is strictly related to the penetration that the wavelengths have to achieve. For example, blue light (450-495nm) is useful for skin conditions in the epidermis layer of the skin, versus red light (620-750nm) which can reach all the way to the dermis. As a kind of photodynamic therapy, LED acts on tissue and cells by photobiomodulation.1
Photobiomodulation is a form of light therapy that uses sources like lasers and LEDs in the visible and near-infrared spectrum.
In photobiomodulation, a light source is placed near or in contact with the skin, allowing the light energy (photons) to penetrate tissue where it interacts with chromophores located in cells. This results in photophysical and photochemical changes that lead to alterations at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels of the body.4
This complex chain of physiological reactions can help accelerate wound healing and tissue regeneration, increase circulation, reduce acute inflammation, reduce acute and chronic pain, and even enhance performance in normal tissues and cells.4For details on how each wavelength can benefit the skin, check out our LED Light Therapy Cheat Sheet.
“LED therapy will make my face hairy!”
Red and yellow light have been proven to help with hair growth for those with androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. However, it works by stimulating existing hair follicles, so you will not suddenly be sprouting hairs in areas where hair didn’t exist before!1
“All devices are the same”Not quite. Different equipment may vary in wavelength and energy produced. For example, in-clinic devices are often stronger in energy and will yield results faster than an at-home device. Of course, these devices need to be operated by a trained professional and are not available for at-home use.
Home-based devices are lower in energy but with the correct wavelength, can also produce results with long-term and consistent use. They are also useful as a maintenance tool complementing in-clinic LED treatments.
“It’s SO expensive”
It doesn’t have to be. There are many options for at-home LED light therapy devices these days, ranging from the more affordable $100+ range to luxury versions of over $800.
Here are some key things to consider when purchasing your device:
- Type of device: If you’re just treating your face, an LED mask will do. However, if you have other bodily concerns like back or chest acne, a handheld version may be more useful.
- Device wavelengths: Ensure that each wavelength falls within the effective range so that they actually yield results. You can refer to these clinical studies on tested wavelengths that produced results.
- Battery-operated or USB-charged: USB-chargeable devices are always much more convenient and cost-effective.
- Product warranty/guarantee: Make sure your product comes with a warranty in the event the device stops working.
- Shipping cost: Courier costs and customs/taxes could set you back quite a bit, so check the company’s shipping policy before checking out.
Want to find out more about LED therapy and its treatment areas? Check out our blog.
Ready to reap the benefits of LED therapy? Get your hands on the GlowBeau.
1. Sorbellini E, Rucco M, Rinaldi F. Photodynamic and photobiological effects of light-emitting diode (LED) therapy in dermatological disease: an update. Lasers Med Sci. 2018;33(7):1431‐1439. 2. Ablon G. Phototherapy with Light Emitting Diodes: Treating a Broad Range of Medical and Aesthetic Conditions in Dermatology. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018;11(2):21‐27. 3. Jagdeo J, Austin E, Mamalis A, Wong C, Ho D, Siegel DM. Light-emitting diodes in dermatology: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials [published online ahead of print, 2018 Jan 22]. Lasers Surg Med. 2018;50(6):613‐628. 4. Anders, J., 2016. Photobiomodulation. [online] American Society For Laser Medicine And Surgery. Available at: <https://www.aslms.org/for-the-public/treatments-using-lasers-and-energy-based-devices/photobiomodulation> [Accessed 13 August 2020].