ASCP Skin Deep

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2020

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In a Good Light The benefits of LED light therapy by Maggie Staszcuk LED has been around for decades, but its applications in the skin care industry have seen a rise in popularity—both in over- the-counter devices and professional units that treat the entire body. These LED devices seem like a dream, promising to alleviate inflammation, address pigmentation, reduce acne, and so much more. So, what is LED, and how does it work? WHAT IS LED LIGHT THERAPY? LED stands for light-emitting diode, which is essentially a very small light bulb that fi ts into an electrical circuit. The bulb is illuminated by the movement of electrons through a semiconductor without generating heat. As electrons move through the semiconductor material, or diode, photons of energy are released in the form of light. 1 Research has shown that when cells absorb photons of energy from the light emitted, there is an increase in adenosine triphosphate (ATP, the energy source of the cell that fuels cell metabolism and mitosis), an increase in collagen synthesis, and an increase in blood fl ow. 2 The LED was fi rst invented in the 1960s but was not adopted for 30 years. In the 1990s, NASA further developed LEDs to produce a very narrow spectrum of light that allowed for clinical applications, 3 including aiding in cell regeneration and wound healing for astronauts in space. Diff erent colors of LED light penetrate the skin to various depths. Depending on how deeply they penetrate, LED lights are thought to have a variety of biological eff ects. 4 expertadvice ADVANCED MODALITIES LED light therapy can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other treatments like laser, microdermabrasion, or facials.

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