Photon therapy (also referred to as LED therapy, as well as simply light therapy) is a proven method of providing clearer, smoother skin. It's a method of treatment that has been around for decades and has been used dermatologists in an office setting to treat inflammation, minimize breakouts, and give skin an overall boost.
What Can LED Therapy Treat?
Primarily, light therapy is great for treating inflammation, killing bacteria, and clearing acne.
Other claims include the ability to treat:
- localized pain
There is even evidence that light therapy has the ability to fasten the healing of wounds.
Are These Claims Backed Up By Science?
Yes, all of the above claims are backed up by scientific papers. Note that some of the claims (such as its ability to treat inflammation, kill bacteria and clear acne) have a greater amount of data when compared with the other claims.
Check out these studies discuss light therapy for inflammation:
PBM = Photobiomodulation Therapy (light therapy)
LLLT = Low Level Light Therapy
"However one of the most general benefits of PBM that has recently emerged, is its pronounced anti-inflammatory effects. While the exact cellular signaling pathways responsible for this anti-inflammatory action are not yet completely understood, it is becoming clear that both local and systemic mechanisms are operating. The local reduction of edema, and reductions in markers of oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory cytokines are well established." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
"LLLT is a promising therapeutic modality in the realm of inflammatory diseases, particularly those of skin and joints that are most accessible to treatment. It offers a unique approach by being non-invasive and incurring minimal side effects" - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
"This study showed that narrow-band blue light has anti-inflammatory effects on keratinocytes by decreasing the cytokine-induced production of IL-1alpha and ICAM-1. In addition, blue light demonstrated synergistic effects with low-dose UVB light. These results expand the properties of narrow-band blue light in modulating the inflammatory process and will facilitate testing of its phototherapeutic applications in different inflammatory skin conditions." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
Check out these studies discuss light therapy for eliminating bacteria:
"The 405-nm light produced a dose dependent bactericidal effect on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus (p < .05), achieving as much as 95.1% and nearly 90% kill rate for each, respectively. The 470-nm light effectively killed Pseudomonas aeruginosa at all dose levels, but only killed Staphylococcus aureus at 10 and 15 J cm2. With this wavelength, as much as 96.5% and 62% reduction of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus was achieved, respectively. Neither of the two wavelengths proved bactericidal with anaerobic Propionibacterium acnes." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
Check out these studies discuss light therapy for clearing acne:
PDT = Photodynamic Therapy
"Clinical trials show that 85% of the patients demonstrate a significant quantitative reduction in at least 50% of the lesions after four biweekly treatments. In approximately 20% of the cases, acne eradication may reach 90%. At 3 months after the last treatment, clearance is approximately 70% to 80%. The nonrespondent rate is 15% to 20%." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
"The strongest evidence for efficacy of light-based therapies for acne is for blue and blue-red light, with the greatest effect on mild to moderate inflammatory acne lesions. There is also evidence that PDT is effective in treating inflammatory acne lesions, although the adverse effects, mostly short term and self-resolving, tend to be more severe than blue light." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
"A reasonable body of clinical trial evidence exists to support the role of low-energy red/near-infrared light as a safe and effective method of skin rejuvenation, treatment of acne vulgaris and alopecia, and, especially, body contouring." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
Check out these studies discuss light therapy for wound healing.
"The reviewed studies show that phototherapy, either by LASER or LED, is an effective therapeutic modality to promote healing of skin wounds. The biological effects promoted by these therapeutic resources are similar and are related to the decrease in inflammatory cells, increased fibroblast proliferation, angiogenesis stimulation, formation of granulation tissue and increased collagen synthesis." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
"Illumination substantially influenced wound healing. Blue light significantly decreased wound size on day 7, which correlated with enhanced epithelialisation. Light also affected mRNA expression. Both wavelengths decreased keratin-1 mRNA on day 7 post-OP, while keratin-10 mRNA level was elevated in both light treated group compared to control. Keratin-17 mRNA was also elevated in the red light group, but was unchanged in the blue light group." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
"In conclusion, we demonstrate that green LEDs promote wound healing by inducing migratory and proliferative mediators, which suggests that not only red LEDs but also green LEDs can be a new powerful therapeutic strategy for wound healing." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
Check out these studies discuss light therapy for reducing pain.
"Based on current research, the utilization of LLLT for pain management and osteoarthritic conditions may be a complementary strategy used in clinical practice to provide symptom management for patients suffering from osteoarthritis and chronic pain." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
"Blue-light phototherapy ameliorates pain intensity and quality in a human experimental pain model and reveals antihyperalgesic, antiallodynic, and antihypesthesic effects. Therefore, blue-light phototherapy may be a novel approach to treat pain in multiple conditions." - CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE.
Which Colour LED Should I Use?
Generally speaking, the red and blue wavelengths have been shown to be most beneficial, with the green wavelength being beneficial in some instances. However, it's important to note that different light wavelengths achieve different things. The complete list of possible treatments and the corresponding LED colour wavelengths is too long to list, but the important ones are listed below:
Red light (630nm): Increases cell activity, promotes collagen formation, treats acne and inflammation.
Green light (520nm): Lightens hyperpigmentation, treats red vessels on the surface of skin, aids in wound healing.
Blue light (470nm): Antibacterial, treats acne and inflammation, aids wound healing, ameliorates pain.
Yellow light (590nm): Soothing, improves blood circulation.
Purple light: There is not much literature on the benefits of purple light, but the theory is that it combines both red and blue light to treat inflammation and acne. We recommend sticking with either red, or blue, and not trying purple as there is far more evidence to the benefits of those colours on their own.
Cyan light: There is not much literature on the benefits of cyan light, but the theory is that it combines blue and green light to treat inflammation and acne. We recommend sticking with either blue, or green, and not trying cyan as there is far more evidence to the benefits of those colours on their own.
White light: It may have a positive effect on realigning circadian rhythm, and it may have a positive effect on mood (anti-depressant).