What Is LED Light Therapy, and Is It Safe for the Skin?
What Is LED Light Therapy, and Is It Safe for the Skin?

When we imagine a beauty routine, chances are, the phrase conjures thoughts of cleanser, retinol, sunscreen, and maybe a serum or two. But thanks to an area of the beauty world I like to think of as “gadgetry,” everyday routines are expanding to include high-tech treatments that were previously only available in a professional’s office. This category includes at-home laser hair removal, personal microcurrent treatments, and, increasingly, at-home LED light therapy.

Although these devices can have a slight Westworld feel, companies like tried-and-true Neutrogena and device specialists like Dr. Dennis Gross have come out with light therapy tools that claim various skin benefits. But does at-home light therapy really work? And what does it do, anyway? Before you get started on your RoboCop impression, we asked board-certified dermatologists to break down exactly what you need to know about light therapy.

Why am I putting this light on my skin?

“Without a doubt, visible light can have powerful effects on the skin, especially in high-energy forms, such as in lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) devices,” says Daniel Belkin, a board-certified dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. LED (light-emitting diode) is a “lower energy form,” in which the light is absorbed by the molecules in the skin, which in turn “alters the biologic activity or the activity of nearby cells.”

In skin-care terms, that means altering the skin cells in order to produce a variety of agreeable outcomes, depending on the color of the light in question. “There is encouraging evidence that blue LED light can alter the microbiome of the skin to improve acne, that red LED light can stimulate collagen synthesis, and that yellow LED light can reduce redness and healing time,” says Belkin. Read more

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