(After 6 treatments with the PhotoActif Professional machine. Results are not typical in home use machines. Property of Rosa Cardinal International, LLC and www.europeanskininstitute.com)
There is a lot of hype nowadays promoting LED machines for home use, touting the same, amazing results you would obtain from a professional machine. It’s not to say you can’t get good use out of them and see some results, although they may not be as drastic as if you were getting them professionally done. I think we can agree that some results for the fraction of the cost can be just what you’re looking for and a perfect harmony between your beauty regimen and your wallet.
The truth is: a lot of these treatments can be very costly and sometimes self-treatment is the only realistic approach. However, remember not to be ‘wowed’ with all the fancy terminology and pictures of serious-looking people in lab coats. It’s your due diligence that you’re getting the best product, even if you’re looking for a bargain. Just because you can get a deal doesn’t mean you should get it, and by the same token, for those of you that are treatment snobs, just because it’s affordable doesn’t always mean it’s not good.
Moral of the story is you should always ask questions, but before you know what to ask or look for, I am going to educate you on how and why LEDs work.
Light-Emitting Diodes(LED): What are they?
LED lights are everywhere. They’re a semiconductor light source, which is a fancy term meaning it conducts electricity. The part that you’re interested in is how they work for skin care and why.
NASA first began using LED lights to grow plants during longer space shuttle missions, and by accident astronauts noticed their cuts being healed faster when handling the plants in this red light. See, without gravity, the healing time is very slow out in space and they would have to wait until returning to earth.
From here LED lights have been used to treat ulcers in cancer patients during treatment due to the lowered immune system, as well as to rehabilitate injured horses and other animals. Of course, everything seems to make its way back to skin care.
Did you know that body sees a wrinkle as a wound because of the depression (or indentation) in the skin tissue?
Bet you never thought of aging as a wound!
How Do LEDs Work?
This light therapy, depending on the wavelength on which it operates, will give off different colored light. The wavelength is measured in nanometers, or nm for short.
Although there is a range of colors, you may have noticed that most LEDs are blue or red; blue to calm acne and red for anti-aging.
Blue light has a wavelength of 450-500nm and red light has a wavelength of 610-760nm. However, there’s another light that is crucial when using LEDs for rejuvenation treatments and that’s infrared lighting which is 760-950nm.The larger the number, the deeper the penetration and it is imperative that any machine you use have the capability of both red and infrared. The best way to find this out is to ask what the highest wavelength is.
The different types of tissue in the skin, and body in general, have their specific light absorption abilities and characteristics. In other words, certain tissue can only absorb certain wavelengths of light. The most effective treatment should provide a variety of wavelengths to address different layers in the skin and body.
To get even more specific, this light, when it’s at the appropriate wavelength, stimulates energy production at a cellular level…that’s right; meaning within the cell! You may remember biology class and talk of mitochondria.
Ring a bell?
It’s in the mitochondria where food is converted into the energy on which the cells function, called ATP (or adenosine triphosphate). Think of ATP as ‘fuel’ for your cells to function. Our bodies get sluggish with age and our cell turnover slows down. LED at the appropriate wavelength will “wake up” the mitochondria to stimulate more energy production to allow vitality so every tissue and organ can run more effectively.
Other things that are dependent of specific wavelengths of light in order to create a chemical reaction are photosynthesis in plants, Vitamin D synthesis in our bodies and tanning (which I’m definitely not promoting!)
Are LED’s Lasers?
Yes and no.
Yes because they have the same healing effects (LED is referred to as a cold laser, which means no pain!), and no because they deliver light differently in their output. LED’s output is measured in milliwatts, and lasers are measured in watts. LED’s output is not damaging to the skin like a laser can be.
LEDs also have a certain cycle where they’re “on” for 0.5 seconds and “off” for 0.5 seconds. Lasers on the other hand are “on” for 0.000000000005 seconds and “off” for 0.999999999995 seconds (if you wanna get technical). What this means is that LED actually emits more energy on it’s “on” cycle than a laser, even though their output is less.
LEDs also penetrate a broader surface area and have the different wavelengths where as the laser only has a single-wavelength.
As Dr. Goldberg puts it (a board certified cosmetic dermatologist out of
What Will LED Do?
In a nutshell, here is a list:
- Increased circulation and the formation of new capillaries. More capillaries= the more blood flow = more oxygen and nutrients needed for healing.
- More collagen production. I think we all know what that means J
- Stimulates ATP, the fuel on which cells run.
- Increases lymphatic activity. This is specifically important for edema or swelling.
- Increased DNA synthesis which helps damaged cells to be replaced faster.
- Relieves pain by calming nervous tissue.
- Stimulates fibroblasts, the cells responsible for building new collagen and repairing.
There are constantly a variety of beauty options on the market, which can be overwhelming. To sift through the mass of information, it’s necessary to understand what you’re looking for and why. Once you have some basic knowledge, it makes it a whole lot easier to know what you’re looking for and rule out the gimmicks. Your beauty IQ is your empowerment to being a better and more savvy consumer.
To your skin’s health!
The Derma Divas