You may have spotted one of these brightly lit machines in your esthetician’s treatment room or in the Instagram feed of one of the many A-list celebrities. But admit it: The whole science behind LED and how it translates to skin care still seems a little “out of this world” to you. So to help shed light on this trending technology, we chatted with Erin St. Laurent, brand educator for LightStim, one of the leading manufacturers of LED light therapy devices for at-home and professional use.

In layman’s term, how exactly does LED light therapy work?
Firstly, LED stands for light-emitting diode, which is essentially a tiny computer chip encased in glass. Light therapy works like photosynthesis, the process by which plants absorb light from the sun and convert it to energy. LED light therapy delivers therapeutic, UV-free light rays that in turn energize the cells and stimulate the body’s natural process to build new proteins and regenerate cells. Essentially, light therapy is helping to provide the energy needed for cells to “do their job” and do so at peak performance.

Why are there so many different colors—what does each do?
LED light therapy offers a multitude of benefits, but the important thing to understand here is that each of the varying wavelengths, or colors, of light provides unique and majorly beneficial benefits.

  • Infrared helps reduce inflammation (also known as the root of most, if not all, skin care evils), accelerate healing and promote circulation.
  • Amber helps build up the two protein pillars of anti-aging: collagen and elastin.
  • Red helps reduce inflammation and promotes circulation.
  • Blue destroys P. acnes bacteria, preventing new breakouts while treating existing ones.

Which one is good for which skin type?
Pay no mind to the customary skin type and tone indicators. Normal, sensitive, dry, oily, combination, warm or cool—LED light therapy is effective on all skin types and tones. One of the beauties of this modality is that utilizing a device that addresses your concern—be it anti-aging, acne or pain management—will not be at all impacted by your skin type or tone.

Are there clinical studies proving that it really works?
There have been many clinical studies conducted relating to the effectiveness of LED light therapy. It reduces and eliminates fine lines and wrinkles, minimizes pore size, restores your skin’s healthy appearance, smooths the texture of skin, diminishes bruising, increases blood circulation, soothes aches and pains, reduces inflammation, accelerates healing, destroys acne-causing bacteria and heals and calms existing breakouts.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this technology has been used for more than 20 years. It was advanced by NASA in the mid ’90s and has been used successfully for a plethora of medical purposes, including wound healing, cell growth and more. No contraindications have been found with respect to LED light therapy. The wavelengths are therapeutic, not at all damaging. Just make sure that you are utilizing devices that are cleared by the FDA.

What’s the difference between in-office and at-home LED treatments?
Just as technology has greatly transformed and enhanced our everyday experiences, it has elevated the level at which our at-home skin care regimen can perform. High-tech beauty gadgets are being added to skin care arsenals around the globe, and new breakthroughs in technology will continue to drive this beauty revolution. As the leader in LED light therapy, LightStim designs both at-home and professional light therapy devices utilizing LightStim MultiWave® patented technology, so the results are pretty close.

Is it painful? What’s the recovery time?
Light therapy is noninvasive, chemical-free, painless and requires no recovery time. What’s interesting is that it stimulates your skin’s natural abilities without the use of any harsh ingredients or chemicals. It is a completely natural solution to achieving healthy, youthful and radiant skin—with zero recovery time necessary. Can it get any better? Yes! There is absolutely no pain or discomfort involved. In fact, the only thing you will feel is relaxing, soothing warmth. The devices are also very user-friendly and can easily be incorporated into your existing skin care regimen and lifestyle.

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What should you not use with LED light therapy?

Individuals should not use LED therapy if they take certain medications, such as isotretinoin (Accutane), for acne or use topical treatments that cause sensitivity to sunlight. People with skin conditions should speak to a dermatologist before using LED light therapy.


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