What are LED facials?
By Jennifer Brodeur
Every day, we read about the newest, fastest, craziest ways to eradicate pimples, cellulite, lines and hyperpigmentaion, from IV Vitamin drips, to Cool Sculpting fat-freeze devices. It can all become a little overwhelming – and let’s be honest - with all the “buzz” and need for instant gratification, do we really know what we’re getting into? One thing is certain: there is a growing demand for new non-surgical procedures, procedures that can be done with no downtime and no negative side effects. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) is one such treatment that is becoming more popular. A huge benefit of LED is that a wide range of skin types can be treated very safely. Due to the low-intensity light source, there is no thermal damage to the skin, and no post inflammatory hyperpigmentaion is possible. After a clinical LED session, skin is more luminous, more even and much clearer. As technology in non-ablative therapies continue to evolve and grow in popularity, LED facials have become the go-to gentler approach for treating anything from acne to dry skin, to wrinkles, rosacea or just a quick “pick me up.”
HOW DOES LED WORK?
LED is very different from lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), which rely on thermal (heat) injury to the skin’s collagen, water or blood vessels to create changes in the skin’s appearance. The process by which light is emitted by the LED’s is similar to that of photosynthesis in plants. Simply put, LED light gets converted into energy, or more specifically, “ATP” (Adenosine Triphosphate). This is the form of energy that cells use to power the metabolic processes needed to repair or regenerate cell and tissue components and restore balance. Different wavelengths (colours) of the visible light spectrum (think the colours of the rainbow) act on different mechanisms within individual cells: red to promote collagen growth; and violet-blue to help kill acne-causing bacteria. The chosen colours are one of the most important points. Depth of penetration is dependant on the wavelengths (nm), which has a direct bearing on the results achieved.
WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE AT-HOME LED DEVICES LIKE THE TANDA LUXE, LIGHT STIM, AND BABY QUASAR?
As with any new technology, all devices are not created equally. Some hand-held units for use at-home can be effective to control problem skin, blemishes and acne, but professional units used in clinical settings will give you a higher dose.
ARE LEDs BETTER THAN LASERS?
Although results are not as impressive as those aggressive ablative treatments, LED treatments are very effective when used correctly. It is vital that the correct treatment or wavelength is chosen for your skin type and condition. Using the wrong formulation is ineffective at best and, under some conditions when adding products to the mix, worsens the problem. Even the simplest cosmetic skin care products have an appreciable influence on the physiological skin processes. This is why for optimal results, I recommend a complete skin diagnosis and a treatment plan with a licensed aesthetician. Treatment prices can range anywhere from $115-$1250.
HOW DOES A LED FACIAL FEEL LIKE?
Most clients don’t feel very much while undergoing the treatment – some feel a slight tingly sensation but that’s pretty much it. Often times, we equate results to pain, therefore LED takes a different mindset. On a recent business trip to Beverly Hills, I spoke with Mia Belle, a Paramedical Aesthetician working at Lancer Dermatology on Rodeo Drive, who is adding LED to her skincare tools. She says it best, “There are great machines and products out there, but if your skin is not balanced and in its most optimal state, it is impossible for your skin to receive any great benefit from them. In some cases, these treatments and products can actually cause more harm than good. Using LED therapy on my patients creates this optimal state in their skin so they can benefit from their home care and any other modality I chose to use on them.”
About the author Jennifer Brodeur is a light therapy consultant and owner of Bella Clinique in downtown Montreal. Bella Clinique offers anti-aging therapies using cosmeceuticals and LED technology. Brodeur has worked in the aesthetics fields for over 15 years. Follow her [gn_fancy_link color="black" link="https://twitter.com/jenniferbrodeur"]@jenniferbrodeur[/gn_fancy_link]