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Shedding Light on LED

Jennifer Brodeur May 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
Shedding Light on LED

It seems as if every day new, exciting technologies are created to help slow down the aging process. Traditionally, medical anti-aging and wrinkle treatments have been fairly aggressive. There is now a demand for nonsurgical procedures to treat different skin types and conditions. One of the most exciting fields today is light therapy. To be a little more precise, light-emitting diodes (LED).

Until several years ago, people still thought that LED or light therapy was only good for holistic purposes or household electronic appliances. Everywhere you turn, you can see LED busy at work: clock radios, Christmas lights, cell phones, traffic lights and more. It seems pretty doubtful to most that they can actually affect the skin in any way. Advances in LED and light therapy are moving at light-speed, and people are changing their minds rapidly.

LED is a noninvasive approach to working with light, and during the past 10 years, independent worldwide research from organizations such as NASA has shown that light applied in the correct wavelength stimulates intercellular communication, resulting in skin rejuvenation.

Usage of LED light

LED are semiconductor devices that emit incoherent narrow-spectrum light when electrically biased in a forward direction. This effect is a form of electroluminescence. The color of the emitted light depends on the composition and condition of the semiconducting metal used and can be near ultraviolet (UV), visible or infrared (IR). Electromagnetic waves exist with an enormous range of frequencies. This continuous range of frequencies is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. Visible light is detectable by the human eye and consists of wavelengths ranging from 400 (violet)–700 nm (red). UV and IR are considered to be light, yet cannot be seen by the naked eye. UV light has shorter wavelengths than visible light. IR light has a range of wavelengths, just like visible light has wavelengths ranging from red light to violet. Near infrared light is closest in wavelength to visible light, and far infrared is close to the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Far infrared waves are thermal.

Intercellular action

Light is both absorbed and scattered by matter. The photon—the fundamental unit of light—behaves like a wave. It takes both particle and wave action to effect absorption and scattering. When light is absorbed by the skin (60%), it is converted into energy as heat. The photon literally gives up its energy to a specific molecule in the material. The photo energy is absorbed by the cells, which increases circulation and oxygen flow while releasing toxins.

Benefits of LED

Not only is LED effective, but it also has the added benefit of being painless and relaxing, with no recovery time required. LED can also be done on all skin types, regardless of ethnicity. It remains cool and comfortable for the client because it uses spectral light instead of heat to activate the skin’s own biochemical healing processes. The photobiological effect is safe and creates no risk of burning the tissue. See LED Skin Benefits for more ways it helps the skin.

LED details

The number of treatments needed varies with different skin types and conditions. As with any skin care treatment, maintenance is highly recommended to ensure lasting results. On average, a maintenance treatment is suggested every four to six weeks. Smoother, more hydrated skin with a radiant sheen can be seen after the first treatment, and the process is safe and effective for all skin types, ethnicities and age groups. These treatments have no undesirable side effects and no downtime for clients. The treatments are gentle, safe and noninvasive, with no UV or IR light.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the July/August 2008 issue of Professional Beauty magazine. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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