LED light treatment is the newest thing to hit the world of esthetics.
LED—Light Emitting Diode—therapy was originally developed by NASA to help Navy Seals recover from their wounds and regenerate muscle. However, it wasn’t long before researchers discovered its unique therapeutic benefits in the world of cosmetic skincare—namely that certain frequencies of light reduce fine lines and wrinkles, stimulate collagen production, and increase new tissue growth.
So it’s no wonder why LED light therapy has made an appearance in some of the top women’s health and fashion magazines. For example, LED light therapy landed a spot at the top of Shape’s list of the “10 High-Tech Beauty Products Worth Every Penny.”
As an esthetician, if you haven’t already, it’s time to become acquainted with this top esthetics tool. Your clients, and certainly your bottom line, will thank you for it.
What is LED Light Treatment and How Does It Work?
First a little science lesson: Our skin has the unique ability to absorb light and convert it to energy, which is great for regenerating cells and building new proteins. However, as we all know, the absorption of too much sunlight damages our skin.
Enter LED light therapy, which delivers the advantages of light absorption without the UV damaging rays.
LED light therapy is a noninvasive, anti-aging procedure that emits packets of light deep into the skin’s layers. It triggers cellular activity to allow the skin to heal and rejuvenate.
Unlike other procedures that accomplish this—namely laser and chemical peels—LED light therapy is painless and involves no downtime. It is ideal for clients of any age who want to improve the appearance of their skin and is safe for all skin types and colors. LED light therapy does not heat up the skin and therefore poses no risk of burns or thermal damage.
Clients using Accutane should discontinue product use at least six months before an LED light treatment. Those with an extreme sensitivity to light, or those who suffer from migraines or seizures, should exercise caution before undergoing LED light therapy.
Through the absorption of light via LED light therapy, a number of immediate results are realized:
- Increased blood circulation
- Accelerated healing
- Reduced inflammation
- Minimized appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Minimized appearance of pores
- Bright, toned skin
LED light therapy is also used to minimize the downtime from cosmetic surgery or more aggressive types of esthetics procedures, such as chemical peels.
Over time a number of other results are realized:
- Repaired collagen and elastin
- Improved cellular function
The exact benefits of LED light therapy vary, depending on the wavelength used:
Red and infrared lights increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and allow for better topical product absorption. As the epidermis absorbs the light, it stimulates the fibroblasts that produce collagen to help treat fine lines and wrinkles and give skin a more plumped, smooth appearance.
Blue light treats acne by destroying the bacteria that causes it. It penetrates down to the skin’s sebaceous glands to kill bacteria from the inside out. Blue light for mild to moderate acne it often used in conjunction with red light, which is effective at reducing inflammation and redness due to the increase in oxygen and circulation.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends LED light therapy to decrease acne-causing bacteria.
The LED Light Therapy Procedure
LED light treatment lasts about 20 minutes, during which the client rests under a panel of warm lights. Some LED light treatments also include the use of an LED wand that is moved over the skin.
Patients with sensitive eyes use protective eyewear. Results are cumulative, with patients achieving the desired results in about 8 to 10 treatments, each one or two weeks apart. After the initial treatment sessions, results are maintained through treatments about every two to three months.
LED light treatment is often used in conjunction with other therapies, such as facials and microdermabrasion, to further enhance treatment results.
Advanced Esthetician Training and Certification in LED Light Therapy
LED light therapy is non-ablative (does not destroy live tissue) and is therefore within the scope of most esthetician state licenses. Because LED light therapy is a relatively new offering in the field of esthetics, some state boards of cosmetology have only recently begun to address how and if it fits within the scope of an esthetician license.
California, for example, prohibited the use of LED light therapy by estheticians until 2015, when they recognized that LED devices (410 nanometers-945 nanometers) do not constitute an invasive procedure, and that using them is within the scope of an esthetician license.
Some states, however, still require advanced training to perform LED light treatments. Virginia, for example, approves LED light therapy only for master estheticians.
Before engaging in LED light therapy, it is important to check with your state regulatory agency to ensure this type of esthetics service falls within your professional scope of practice. It is also important to find a course or training program in LED light therapy that will provide you with the theory and hands-on training necessary to expertly perform this popular procedure.
Some of the topics covered in an LED light therapy training course/program include:
- Energy measurement and delivery
- Three characteristics of laser light
- Laser and light applications
- Therapeutic properties of lasers
- FDA device classification
- Biological effects of various wavelengths