I was that teen that always got picked on, “pizza face”, “zit face”, or “you can fry a French fry with all the grease on your face” became part of my daily life. Kids at school picked on me, coworkers berated me (I started working bagging groceries when I was 14), even my own mother tormented me daily (I think she thought if she insulted me enough I could somehow control my own hormones). I tried all the cleansers, scrubs, masks available, heck I worked in a grocery store, I hit the personal care aisle weekly trying product after product. Spent the little money I earned bagging groceries to visit skin therapy clinics and see professionals, nothing worked. I finally made it to my 20’s my skin started to look better, not 100% but not “make me cry with embarrassment and shame” face covering acne. Late 20’s my skin looked normal and even radiant, I thought I was in the clear. Then came my 30’s and a whole new round of crazy female hormones made their way into my life, and I was a teenager all over again, except adults are too politically correct or kind to call names, they would just stare, or say “have you tried this or that, it worked for me”, which of course I thought I had tried it all, Hello I own a day spa! I have access to the best products, the best specialists, and equipment, however suddenly what had been working no longer worked, ah ha moment! Your skin changes with the seasons, age, the environment, and stress and what has worked for the past 10 years, or the past 2 weeks may stop working today. I adjusted my products, and tried to adjust my stress level. I finally visited a dermatologist, which of course he listened to my concerns, told me my issues were hormonal and he could prescribe me a medication (spironolactone) to lower my testosterone, and thus clear the acne. I am a person who avoids medications unless I’m dying, I won’t even take a Tylenol if I get a headache, and instead I massage essential oils on my temples. I very gently explained my views to the doc, hopefully without sounding like a wack-a-doo. He smiled a beautiful ear to ear grin, and said “Well, we have this light mask that a product rep dropped off a while back to give away to an acne patient to try, and no one before wanted it because usually everyone just wants a prescription medication, you can have it to try if you would like”. A light mask? Well sure it doesn’t require me to ingest chemicals, I’ll give it a go! I accepted it, and started using it per the instruction manual for 10 minutes a day, every day and within 2 weeks my skin was transformed. I had my confidence back, along with gorgeous skin. I feel my skin looks better now, in my late 30’s then it ever has. Because of my personal experience I decided to go back to school to earn my Master Aesthetics License so I could perform LED treatments on my clients and share this wonderful treatment with others.
So what is LED?
LED stands for light emitting diode and is essentially fast flashing lights that cause positive changes in the appearance of the skin. Another term for the use of light therapy to treat conditions of the skin is photo modulation.
The benefits of LED technology were originally discovered by NASA while they experimented with ways to increase plant tissue growth in space, they also learned that LED’s have a similar physiological effect on human cells and tissues. Body tissues have the ability to absorb light and convert it into energy. LED’s can be used to deliver beneficial light energy to the skin. In further research NASA proved that particular wavelengths (different colors penetrate to varying depths) of LED light have positive effects on the body’s ability to regenerate and repair human tissue, as well as inducing different benefits for the skin and fascia. This happens because LED therapy stimulates the release of ATP- (adenosine tri phosphate); an organic chemical that provides energy for many metabolic processes in living cells. Think of it as fuel for the cells: by increasing cell activity, cell repair is increased. The process is very similar to photosynthesis in plants, a reaction occurs which triggers the conversion of light energy into cell energy. More basically it harmonizes cellular activity.
“Different wavelengths of light (colors) have varying depth penetration, to stimulate different results in the skin” says Bedeha Hamze, Master Aesthetics Instructor at American Spirit Institute. By penetrating to varying depths the different colors are able to either make your skin do things that they no longer do well on their own, or can create an effect on the surface of the skin. They also increase the efficacy of serums by causing greater product penetration when used over a serum or treatment. LED should not be mistaken for UV lights (like those in a tanning bed), or for lasers (like those used in hair removal, or for IPL- intense pulsed light (used in photo rejuvenation), as LED does not produce intense heat. Because it does not produce heat it does not cause damage to the dermis, nor does it hurt to use. Bedeha also stated “LED is an absolutely painless procedure that can be done alone or added to another facial treatment”. LED has been used to treat sun damage, redness, rosacea, visible telangiectasia, uneven skin tone, fine lines, wrinkles, acne, wounds, pains, and bruises to name a few. LED also stimulates fibroblasts (cells responsible for making extracellular matrix and collagen; which are critical for proper wound healing) to increase collagen, resulting in smoother texture, tone, and reduced appearance of fine lines.
Red light is typically used for increasing circulation, increasing moisture retention, stimulating cell turnover, reducing appearance of large pore size, fading photo damaged skin, reducing inflammation, speeding up the healing process, decreasing fine lines and wrinkles, and stimulating collagen production. Red light LED’s are also beneficial for temporarily relieving minor muscle and joint pain, reducing the severity of bruising, temporarily reducing arthritic pain and stiffness, and temporarily increasing local blood circulation.
Blue light is antibacterial making it best for the treatment of acne because it penetrates below the surface of the skin to kill bacteria deep within the epidermis before it reaches “a white head” or closed comedome. Basically it kills it before it happens, however it will also rid the skin of existing acne by sanitizing surface bacteria as well. It is one of the few acne treatments that works without causing irritation in the process.
White light is often used to tighten, and reduce inflammation.
Yellow or Amber light can also be used to reduce swelling, redness, pigmentation, and to stimulate collagen and elastin.
Green light is most often utilized to decrease dark circles (I sure need that under my eyes), reduce hyperpigmentation, lessen the appearance of broken capillaries, break up discoloration such as sunspots, and calming angry skin.
Keep in mind, LED and other photo modulation techniques should not be used on folks with seizure disorders, unless permission is given by a medical doctor.
LED can be added to your facial treatment during your mask, or during serum application, or you can use a daily at home device. Because LED will take more than one session (usually a minimum of 6) to achieve desired results, an at home device that can be used daily may be a better fit for someone on a limited budget. For clients who are on a restricted budget, and want to treat more than 1 issue at the same time (IE: acne, wrinkles, and sunspots) a multi color LED at home device would be the most effective way to get the most bang for your buck. At Affordable Spa we accept HSA and FSA cards for our services and products to help you make your skins wellness a priority.
Is LED right for you? It is certainly worth discussing with your Licensed Aesthetician.