Are you looking for an effective skin treatment that doesn’t use harsh chemicals, needles, or surgery? Light therapy offers a non-invasive and gentler approach to skin care. With the constant advances in dermatology, there are a variety of light therapies that can help with skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, and eczema, as well as providing cosmetic benefits, such as the reduction of wrinkles and brown spots and the removal of hair. Explore the many light therapy options to find the best treatment for your unique skin care needs.
LED (light emitting diodes) began as NASA technology and were eventually found to help wound healing in space. This led to the discovery that LEDs could help with wound healing following cosmetic procedures. It is now used to treat a range of skin conditions from cancers to acne to signs of aging. Of the various light therapies, LED is the most gentle, with very little to no downtime, no pain, and practically no side effects. It’s also safe and effective for all skin types. Most LED treatments last 20-30 minutes, and you’ll need about 10 sessions spaced a week apart.
Because light can be broken down into wavelengths of different colors, LED light therapy is a broad term that encompasses red light therapy (or infrared) and blue light therapy. Let’s look at these different LED treatments to learn how they are used to treat a variety of skin conditions.
Red light therapy (RLT) is used primarily as an anti-aging treatment and for issues with skin inflammation, like rosacea and psoriasis. It also helps stimulate hair growth in people who have alopecia. RLT is known to target the epidermis, the skin’s outer layer, to increase the body’s production of collagen, a protein that is responsible for your skin’s elasticity. With more collagen, the skin will plump up, smoothing out wrinkles and fine lines.
Blue light therapy is predominantly used to treat acne. It focuses on the oil glands in your skin, causing them to be less active, reducing oiliness in your skin and acne breakouts. Blue light therapy also kills acne-causing bacterial beneath your skin, eliminating the pimples and cysts common in acne breakouts. Blue light therapy can also be used in conjunction with a topical medication to treat actinic keratoses, rough patches of skin that could become cancerous. When used with a topical or oral medication, blue light therapy is known as “photodynamic therapy” and can treat precancerous spots while leaving healthy tissue unharmed.
Laser treatments have a huge range of applications, from treating smaller skin cancers to hair removal to smoothing out fine lines on the face. In the case of skin cancer, your doctor may opt for the less-invasive laser treatment if your lesion is small and superficial. The laser is able to focus solely on the cancerous growth without affecting the surrounding tissue and with limited bleeding, bruising, or scarring. In laser therapy’s cosmetic uses, it can reduce redness (as an effective laser treatment for rosacea), remove hair, and resurface the skin in both ablative (removing a layer of skin in order to, for instance, reduce acne scars) and non-ablative procedures.
IPL is a treatment that releases flashes of light of a variety of wavelengths, like the flash of a camera. It is best used to remove freckles and dark spots and for rosacea skin care, or other red or flushed areas on fair skin. Although often used to treat the same conditions as laser therapy, it is a gentler procedure than laser therapy with less downtime fewer side effects.
While ultraviolet light is the culprit for sun damage to the skin, it can be used safely in a medical setting through a controlled process to treat various skin conditions, like psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, and a type of lymphoma that affects the skin. Ultraviolet light slows down the overgrowth of skin cells and seems to affect the body’s immune system, both of which help alleviate the symptoms of hard-to-treat skin diseases.
One common type of light therapy for vitiligo and psoriasis treatment is psoralen and ultraviolet light A (PUVA). This kind of light therapy couples the use of an oral or topical medication (psoralen) with light treatment to treat the patches of skin affected by psoriasis and vitiligo. Ultraviolet light procedures may be administered through hand-held devices such as lasers and combs or light cabinets that encompass the whole body or just a part of the body like your hands or feet.
Ready to find the best light therapy for your unique needs? Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area offers a wide range of light therapies administered by experienced dermatologists. Schedule a consultation today!