Whole of Body – LED Benefits
LED light therapy is part of almost every skin professional’s armamentarium for effective acne and anti-aging skin care routines. However, many professionals are now discovering that non-invasive LED light therapy is not just a great addition to skin health, but a valuable tool to help achieve whole-body health as well.
Since LED light therapy combats inflammation and induces collagen production, it is a great option for those who suffer from general pain conditions. Let’s take a look at the head-to-toe benefits of LED light therapy.
How Light Therapy Works
One of the easiest ways to explain red and near-infrared light therapy is to think of it as photosynthesis for mammals. Just like plants, scientific research has shown that human bodies can absorb light particles called photons and transform that light energy into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is what powers the metabolic processes in our cells, thus improving overall cellular performance and encouraging tissue repair and regeneration. Quality medical-grade light therapy devices utilise three scientifically proven wavelengths: blue, red and near-infrared.
Just like plants derive energy from the sun through photosynthesis, light therapy uses specific wavelengths to stimulate a natural response in human tissue that can increase circulation, accelerate tissue repair, ease muscle pain, relieve joint stiffness, improve skin conditions, and enhances overall cell performance at the cellular level. Light therapy boosts cellular performance to encourage and enhance the body’s ability to heal itself from the inside out.
Keeping Acne Breakouts Under Control
Acne (technical name: Acne vulgaris) is a common inflammatory skin disease that affects more than 80% of teens. But it isn’t limited to teenagers – adult acne can strike at any time, especially in females, even if you didn’t have teenage acne.
Acne is not a cosmetic condition – it is a medical skin disease. More specifically, a disease of the skin’s ‘pilosebaceous units’ – the hair follicle (that exits at the skin surface via a pore) and associated sebaceous gland that produces oil.
It all starts with a clogged pore. Acne sufferers produce excess oil (‘sebum’) and the skin cells lining their pores don’t shed properly, instead collecting in the pore. The sticky skin cells and oil mix together in the pore, creating a microscopic blockage called a micro-comedone.
Acne bacteria (C. acne) feed on sebum, gathering in large numbers around this oily plug, signaling the body to start producing chemicals that ramp up inflammation.
(C. acnes – Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes [P. acnes] is the relatively slow-growing, typically aerotolerant anaerobic, gram-positive bacterium (rod) linked to the skin condition of acne)
The inflamed plug gradually enlarges to form a visible comedone.
Eventually, the pore bursts, and bacteria and oil leak into the surrounding tissue, creating even more inflammation and causing other acne lesions like papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.
Acne isn’t caused by a lack of hygiene or ‘dirty’ skin – so no amount of cleansing, scrubbing, or exfoliating will get rid of it. In fact, this can inflame the skin and make everything worse! Acne is simply a medical condition, that needs a medical solution.
It is well known that LED therapy using light energy in the blue light range of the electromagnetic spectrum (400nm – 470nm) is effective in treating mild to moderate Acne vulgaris. When C. acnes bacteria is exposed to blue light energy, a phototoxic event is created, resulting in the death of the bacteria. Specifically, LED light therapy systems utilise the mechanism of endogenous photodynamic therapy, where bacterial porphyrins, which are produced as part of the normal metabolism of C. acnes, act as natural photosensitisers. When they absorb light, preferably wavelengths in the blue-light and red-light range, the resultant photodynamic reaction produces singlet oxygen species and reactive free radicals, which destroy the bacteria themselves. Essentially, the C. acnes bacteria commit suicide.
Blue light is the wavelength of choice for treating acne, as it is a short wavelength of light energy at the peak of the light energy absorption curve. The penetration of light energy is a function of the wavelength. As wavelengths get shorter, the light energy penetrates shallower. As C. acnes bacteria reside close to the surface of the skin and blue light is shallow penetrating, blue light is ideal for killing C. acnes bacteria. And in the absence of C. acnes bacteria, you eliminate one of the fundamental sources of Acne vulgaris. This being the case, having a light therapy device that emits light energy in the blue range is essential for every skin care professional treating acne.
Managing Aches, Pains, and Aging-Skin
Who wouldn’t like a little more collagen to help eliminate those fine lines and under-eye wrinkles? But did you know that collagen plays a much larger role in how your body functions?
Collagen is defined as a protein that your body naturally makes. Collagen actually makes up almost a third of all the protein in our bodies and is an essential component for healthy joints. Although most of us tend to think of collagen as the cure for under-eye wrinkles and laugh lines, it is also accurate to think of collagen as the glue that holds together our muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, and skin.
There are 16 different types of collagen in our bodies, but most are Type I, II or III. Each collagen type has a different job to do.
- Type I builds skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
- Type II helps make cartilage, the flexible tissues between bones and in our ears and nose.
- Type III helps create muscles and blood vessels.
Our bodies make less collagen as we age, which is why we have those stiff joints or weak muscles. The use of red-light therapy for increasing collagen production is highly effective, as it stimulates fibroblast growth factors and increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, an energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things. ATP captures chemical energy obtained from the breakdown of food molecules and releases it to fuel other cellular processes). This increase in ATP, pro-collagen, and collagen synthesis, and increased blood flow can dramatically reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Proven red and near-infrared wavelengths of light energy are clinically verified to enhance your body’s natural ability to generate collagen and elastin by stimulating fibroblast cells.
When it comes to the effective treatment of pain conditions with LED light therapy, the wavelength is the key to success. Compared to blue light therapy, near-infrared wavelengths can penetrate deep into the muscle and joint tissue to alleviate pain, increase circulation, and decrease inflammation. LED light therapy provides compromised cells with extra energy to accelerate the natural repair of compromised tissue cells, foster cell production and restore homeostasis within the body. Those suffering from arthritic pain can benefit from using an LED red light therapy that is TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration – Australia) approved to treat the pain associated with arthritis.
Near infrared wavelengths are clinically proven to penetrate deep below the surface layer of the skin to better target muscle and joint pain right where it starts. This provides much-needed pain relief from inflammation, injury, and aging issues. For example, if you have ever suffered from the effects of arthritis, then you know the pain and discomfort this disease can cause. LED light therapy is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical alternative that can effectively treat the arthritic pain.
As we begin to age, we all notice how the laws of gravity seem to turn on us. We quickly learn the lesson that aging is not limited to just the skin on our faces. Whether it’s the under-eye wrinkles that make us look perpetually tired, the deep laugh lines around the mouth, or the saggy skin on our necks, anti-aging products fill the shelves claiming to tighten, firm or fill in those fine lines and wrinkles.
TGA approved, medical-grade light therapy devices work by up-regulating compromised mitochondrial function leading to a whole cascade of downstream beneficial effects including a decrease in inflammation and an increase in micro-circulation leading to therapeutic benefits for a wide variety of skin, muscle, joint, and pain conditions.
And finally, treatment time matters too! It takes cells a certain amount of time to absorb enough energy to affect a change at the cellular level. The duration of the LED session should take this fact into account. High-quality medical grade LED devices call for 20 – 30 minute treatment times to deliver a full therapeutic dose of energy, up-regulating cellular activity for up to 48 hours post-treatment. This is how a quality LED device achieves an observable change in skin, pain, and wound conditions.