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We've heard so much about rejuvenating therapies that use light to glow up our skin. These treatments are collectively known as phototherapy or light therapy and have been around for some time. However, because they expose our skin to artificial ultraviolet (UV) light, the chances of side effects, like burning or blistering, are very concerning.

We've heard so much about rejuvenating therapies that use light to glow up our skin. These treatments are collectively known as phototherapy or light therapy and have been around for some time. However, because they expose our skin to artificial ultraviolet (UV) light, the chances of side effects, like burning or blistering, are very concerning.

As an alternative, LED light therapy for skin is emerging as the safer option while having been scientifically proven to offer equivalent benefits to UV lights.

Rejuvenate Your Skin: Learn What Science Claims About Light Therapy for Skin

What Is LED Light Therapy for Skin?

LED (light-emitting diode) light therapy involves exposing the user's face or a particular skin area to LED lights through a specialized device, such as a face mask or a light wand.

Unlike traditional light therapy that uses UV lights, the LED treatment uses harmless, low-level rays whose wavelengths range within the visible spectrum. Also, LED light therapy can switch from red (strongest) to blue (weakest) light depending on the condition treated. In particular, this therapy doesn't require the use of protective goggles.

How Does LED Light Therapy for Skin Work?

A wide range of light colors is available in LED therapy, including red, blue, white, green, and white. Each color provides a different effect on the skin due to its unique wavelength. However, the two most often used ones are red and blue lights.

- Red Light Therapy

Since red light has the longest wavelength (700 nm) in the visible light spectrum, it travels further and penetrates deeper into the skin.

Research shows that red LED light can stimulate a type of skin cell called the fibroblast. These cells, lying deep under the epidermis layer, play a crucial role in collagen synthesis through a complicated process involving the transcription of the genes encoding collagen.

One of the mechanisms behind this process is oxygenation. When red light penetrates the skin, it increases the blood flow and the amount of oxygen in the treated area, which helps nourish the fibroblasts. This phenomenon, in turn, stimulates collagen production.

Also, because red light increases blood flow and oxygen to the damaged area, it helps alleviate chronic inflammation - a primary cause of skin redness - and boosts the body's natural antioxidant defenses to protect against oxidative stress.

- Blue Light Therapy

Opposite to red light, blue LED has the shortest wavelength (400 nm) and doesn't penetrate the skin as deeply.

However, research shows that blue LED light can instead inhibit the activity and narrow the size of the sebaceous glands, reducing the amount of oil or sebum that can clog the hair follicles and, therefore, helping prevent the development of acne. Blue light can thus treat other skin conditions like sebaceous hyperplasia or enlarged oil glands.

Another key mechanism behind the anti-acne action of blue light is that it can help eliminate the acne-causing bacteria known as Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) in and around the sebaceous glands. Since blue light penetrates further into the glands than external scrubbing can, it's more effective than washing the face with a salicylic acid cleanser.

Benefits of LED Light Therapy for Skin

Reduce fine lines and wrinkles: LED light therapy stimulates collagen production, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Improve skin texture: LED light therapy can help improve skin texture by stimulating collagen production and promoting cell turnover, making it smoother and more even.

Reduce inflammation and redness: LED light therapy can help reduce inflammation and redness, making it a treatment for rosacea and acne.

Improve skin hydration: LED light therapy can improve skin hydration by enhancing the effects of hyaluronic acid. This natural substance helps keep skin hydrated.

Reduce pore size: LED light therapy can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores by improving skin elasticity and texture.

Accelerate wound healing: LED light therapy can help accelerate wound healing by promoting collagen production and reducing inflammation.

The benefits of LED light therapy for skin can vary depending on the specific wavelengths and devices used and the individual's skin type and condition.

How Long Does It Take for LED Light Therapy to Work?

In most cases, you'll need a series of in-office treatments to observe any real benefits. For example, you may receive a session once weekly in the first month of the treatment. You could then require maintenance treatments every month or every few months.

If you use a portable self-care device, like a facial mask, you may also need to be committed to a fixed skincare routine. Spend 30 - 60 minutes daily in the first 4-5 weeks. Then maintain the procedure several times per week for the next few months.

What Do Scientific Studies Show?

According to a study published in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, LED light therapy was safe and effective in skin rejuvenation and collagen production.

This study involved 136 individuals in total. Among these participants, 113 were randomly assigned to four treatment groups and given twice weekly treatments with either 611 - 650 or 570 - 850 nm polychromatic light, then compared to controls.

After 30 sessions, the skin's appearance, texture, and roughness, as determined by profilometry, and collagen density, as determined by ultrasound, considerably improved in the treated patients. The study concluded that patients seeking gentle skin regeneration might have more anti-aging treatment alternatives with LED light therapy.

The study also found a gender-specific response to the treatment, as female volunteers tended to observe better results than males regarding collagen density increase. Scientists explained that this phenomenon could be due to the physiological differences between female and male skin on endocrine and extracellular matrix levels.

Is LED Light Therapy for Skin Safe?

LED light therapy is generally safe when used appropriately. Also, it's a non-invasive, painless treatment that can be used in clinical settings and at home as a self-care practice.

However, as with any medical or skincare treatment, there are some potential risks and side effects associated with LED light therapy. These may include:

Eye damage: LED light therapy can cause damage to the eyes if the light is too bright or too close to the eyes. It's better to wear protective goggles during treatment. • Skin irritation: Some people may experience skin irritation or redness after LED light therapy, especially if the treatment is too intense or the skin is sensitive.

Headache: Some people may experience headaches or eye strain during or after treatment, especially if the light is too bright.

Interference with certain medications: LED light therapy may interfere with some drugs, such as tetracycline or isotretinoin, making the skin more light-sensitive.


LED light therapy is an emerging approach to safely and effectively rejuvenate your skin. This method has proven superior to other light therapies due to its application of harmless rays everywhere in our surroundings. Also, it should be the number one choice because it can be done at home as a self-care practice. So be confident that you can stick to a LED light therapy routine for a long time.


Wunsch A. et al. (2014). A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near- Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.

Pei S. et al. (2015). Light-based Therapies in Acne Treatment. Indian Dermatology Online Journal.Kim Y. et al. (2017). A Protective Mechanism of Visible Red Light in Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts: Enhancement of GADD45A-Mediated DNA Repair Activity. Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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