Can a light actually reduce wrinkles?
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
The answer is a simple, yes it can. Before Covid hit the world I invested in a high end low level light therapy panel to use as a complement to my services, as well as a standalone skin treatment. When I first began learning about light therapy, naturally I was dubious. So I dug in, did a ton of research, reached out to knowledgeable colleagues who perform this service and I became overwhelmingly convinced (bless you Shannan Zickefoose, RN, CPCP, Tulsa Oklahoma). As with all my treatments, I use on myself first. I can attest to the improvements but as I write this I am going on the 4 week challenge, chronicling my journey in order to show what it has done for me. WEEK BY WEEK PICS. STAY TUNED.
One thing I will NEVER do in my little part time business is invest in something that has not been proven in science, or that will cost my clients more than what I think is reasonable. My niche is in providing affordable solutions.
Indeed you can buy yourself a little light device on Amazon and do light therapy at home. At first I considered this but I needed to ensure that I was dealing with technology that has been developed and designed by experts---doctors, dermatologists and the supporting team of scientists and technologists that make a light panel worth the investment. Therefore, not all light therapy devices are created equal. That was clear from the start.
We already know that light therapy has been shown effective for individuals suffering from seasonal affective disorder (and no one knows more about that than Canadians). Living in darkness during the winter months takes a toll on our well being. So now you can sign up for sessions using a high end "SAD" light, or purchase one for home use. For the real deal, expect to pay.
Marketers have also gotten in on the game in terms of the lighting in shopping malls and stores. Harsh fluorescent light is hard on the eyes and is also know to trigger anxious, agitated mood changes when no natural light is nearby. In fact there are studies that show that unnatural light in classrooms, custodial facilities, hospitals, office buildings and meeting rooms can detrimentally affect the people in them. Sometimes behaviour is triggered, other times people become either tired, agitated, off task.
I suffer from a condition called scotopic sensitivity and I can attest to this first hand. Fluorescent light makes me extremely agitated and makes computer screens and reading in rooms lit this way very difficult, if not impossible. As a result, when put in these situations, I avoid these tasks and tend to move around more to get away from the assault on my eyes. Of course this affects my productivity, but it also speaks to productivity for millions of people in companies and businesses across the globe.
Would you believe that many (far too many---it is an epidemic in North America) children get diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and/or a behaviour exceptionality and it is often traced, when people choose to think a little further outside the box, to the refusal to read in the classroom because of the sensitivity it causes the eyes? Subsequently, reading reluctance leads to academic problems with students unable to keep up. Before you know it there is a domino effect for that child in school. Often ADD/ADHD had nothing at all to do with the problem. IT WAS LIGHT!! FLUORESCENT LIGHT!
Is it possible that lights can replace
Daytrana (methylphenidate patch)
Metadate or Methylin (methylphenidate)
Dexedrine or Dextrostat (dextroamphetamine)
Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)
for our nation's misdiagnosed children?
Honestly, this really should not be surprising. Individuals who suffer from seizures can attest to the trigger that lighting has on their bodily response.
Don't get me wrong, lighting is important....bright lighting, for emergencies such as in fire escape protocols, aircraft evacuation protocols.....basically--any emergency protocol that is intended to alert. However, for seizure/epilepsy patients these protocols can bring on yet another emergency.
Light is critical to our well being. We are coming around to understanding that more and more. The source, the wavelength, and the colour seem to be the discerning factors.
So science has taken the concept of lighting for medicinal purposes a step further by studying the effects of light emitting diodes (AKA LED) in various colours to determine if there might be more benefits. In fact, the science around using artificial light to treat physical ailments goes back to the early 20th century. By artificial, I mean not the sun, but also not fluorescent.
Fast forward to today. Yes, natural light is good for us. It helps us with our circadian rhythm, it helps us with our well being. We are happier on a sunny day than on a gloomy one. A stretch of gloomy weather has a collective impact. Think about it!! When you chat with someone in passing, what is the ONE SINGLE TOPIC ALWAYS MENTIONED?? That is no accident.
However, we also know the effects the sun has on our skin. As a significant and growing part of my practice is in treating the effects of sun on the skin, I can assure you, the only time you will hear me recommend sun is for about 10 minutes a day after a tattoo removal or a scar revision treatment where the skin has lost some colour, known as hypopigmentation. (I credit Arlington TX based, Vicki Hansen, a mentor and 30 year veteran of this industry, with that advice).
Light therapy, aka low level light therapy, aka cold laser therapy, aka LED light therapy is also known as phototherapy or photobiomodulation therapy. Sorry for the confusion---in my studio it is known as the light panel! All terms mean more or less the same thing.
The most notable science leading to the recent innovations around this modality is about 50 years old with the main interest being in the finding that its use has been shown to repair tissue damage, accelerate wound healing and initiate overall cellular regeneration. For many years now it has been used with cancer patients suffering from the effects of treatments, injured patients with significant wounds, and patients suffering from pain whether generalized or specific. It has become of significant interest in the field of dermatology of course because of the ability of the lights to actually permeate the dermis and activate cellular regeneration at a level that other services cannot. Low Level Light Therapy is also now a traditional practice in physiotherapy, athletic therapy, out-patient surgery, pain management clinics and cosmetic/cranio-fascial surgery clinics and medi-spas.
I am trying to simplify as best I can but I am also likely not doing justice to this technology. The research studies are abundant. In my practice I am ALWAYS telling clients to do research on various modalities because I want them informed before they spend money. In fact, I send many consultation clients home with a list to study before making any commitment to a service or a course of services with me.
This might make me either the worst or the best business person in the industry, not too sure. Honesty rules my practice, research dictates my investments. Let's just say I have tried nearly nearly all anti-aging treatments. Leaving it there.
Anyway, back to the topic. Light Therapy. It has been found that specific colours of light in deliberate wavelengths stimulate a cascade at the precise depth of your skin that will lead to cellular proliferation and the development of growth factors, while also reducing inflammation. It is so much more scientifically exciting---the cascade of events that the light triggers is nothing short of miraculous. Light, just light.
Okay, well, not just light. Specifically red, blue and near infa-red---each having, in my practice, a specific purpose. Because of the wavelengths (measured in NM--nanometers) of these lights, red light has the ability to permeate the level of your skin where repair occurs, without even the slightest impact on the epidermis---the uppermost layer. Over a course of 12 treatments in close succession of LITERALLY LYING UNDER THE PANEL FOR 30 MINUTES, a client will notice remarkable changes to their skin. Skin laxity and wrinkles, pallor and colour, uneven pigmentation, redness and pore size are all concern areas successfully addressed. Clients with bothersome stretch marks and scars also enjoy amazing results.
Moving over to blue light, well, without antibiotics and topical treatments which can sometimes exacerbate before they help, the bacteria that is at the root of your acne is reached and destroyed. This treatment can be done during an active acne stage and has been shown effective even on cystic acne. Regardless of the cause (stress, hormones, genetics, diet) acne is at its base, is an infection caused by a bacteria. Destroy the bacteria, watch your skin improve.
Lastly, near infa-red light. This is the technology that has been proven effective in treating pain. We are living in a society that has become far too sedentary. Think about the hours sitting at a computer--shoulder strained, arms and hands in steady repetitive motion, neck damage from texting. Then look at the explosion in auto-immune diseases--many of which are stress related and if not, stress exacerbated. Then consider muscle pain from repetitive motion, stress, recovering injuries, the migraine crisis, arthritis, age----the list goes on.
If it wasn't for pain, the opioid crisis would not have become the epidemic that has occurred. It started with pain medications in 1999 and moved on from there.
Back to SAD. Take it a step further and think depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD, and the myriad of physical ailments that stem from these conditions. Simple exposure to this calming, soothing and just slightly warm light renders the client relaxed (often sleeping), while also treating deeper conditions.
What is involved?
Well, if we are treating a concern, then 12 sessions of 30 minutes 2 to 3 times a week is your commitment. It must be this way. Once in awhile is wonderful for SAD, anxiety, etc., but to achieve a specific observable result for a condition, that is the treatment course.
What is not involved?
Any kind of invasive approach. Any pain. Any down time. You literally lie under the panel for 30 minutes and relax with soothing music and essential oils.
At Dermal Enhancements if you have had a tattoo removal or permanent makeup treatment you automatically receive a light therapy session because I want to kick start your healing process to ensure results. Furthermore, if you have me do microchannelling, you will also receive a complimentary light session.
Keeping up light sessions between microchannelling, microneedling, and tattoo removal is highly recommended and offered at a discounted rate. I am as invested in your treatments as you are and want the best of results for you.
When I started this blog I wanted to attach a bunch of research studies but then I realized there are too many!
Google on your own...Light Therapy for:
scars and wounds
skin trauma (including all tattoos including permanent makeup and tattoo removal)
pain--localized and general
I got you.
Katie Mohamed, B.Sc., B.Ed., M.A. Ed.
Member SCPC, Aesthetician, Permanent Makeup Artist.