Recently, American reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian posted a picture on Instagram, in which she was seen wearing an alien-like mask that emanated light. Turns out, this mask is used for a skin rejuvenation treatment called LED therapy, or photo-dynamic or light therapy. And Kardashian isn’t the only one endorsing it.
Several celebrities, including Hollywood star Jessica Alba and, closer home, TV actor Sukirti Kandpal, have apparently, tried this treatment.
“Last year, during the summer, I developed acne. I am not one to use oral medication unless it is the last resort. When I consulted my dermatologist, Dr Monica Jacob, she told me about this therapy. I attended four sessions of this therapy with a gap of about 10 days between each. By the third session, I started noticing a visible improvement. By the fourth session, my skin had cleared up completely,” says Kandpal.
How does it work?
LED therapy has previously been used for several other treatments, including those for hair-fall related issues. “When it comes to hair fall, LED therapy involves exposing the scalp to varying LED wavelengths. The patient wears a helmet-like device, which contains miniature LEDs attuned to a specific wavelength. The light emanating from these LEDs is delivered for about 15-20 minutes at a time. The patient is generally advised an interval of three to seven days between sittings,” says Dr Viral Desai, cosmetic surgeon. The cost of this treatment starts at Rs 1,000- 1,500 per session.
For skin rejuvenation, LED therapy follows almost the same technique. However, different wavelengths are used to treat different problems:
Infrared: These are the lights with the longest wavelengths. They heal the skin by stimulating deeper levels of cell activity.
Red Light: It stimulates the cells that produce collagen and elastin. It is primarily used for anti-ageing treatments.
Yellow Light: It tones and tightens the facial muscles, and has a detoxifying effect. It energises the skin, and also acts as an anti-allergen.
Green Light: It reduces redness and improves the overall texture of the skin. It is best used after laser treatments and sunburns, as it is good for vascular activities like redness and post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation.
Blue Light: It works by killing the bacteria that is responsible for large and cystic acnes. This light is also excellent for sterilising the skin.
Who should opt for it?
“Any adult above the age of 18 can opt for this therapy. But our patients are mostly in the age group of 25 to 45 years,” says Dr Nivedita Dadu, dermatologist.
This treatment is suited for:
Those wanting to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Those wanting to reduce the appearance of tiny blood vessels.
Those with stretch marks.
Those with burn or acne scars, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and athletes foot.
Those suffering from muscular and joint aches.
Those with active acne or pigmentation.
Those experiencing skin redness and irritation.
Those experiencing hair thinning and hair fall.
Who should avoid it?
Women who breast feed.
Individuals suffering from epilepsy.
Individuals with a known history of photoaesthesia.
Individuals with other skin conditions, or on-going treatments that could interfere with the therapy.
Benefits of LED therapy
It is non-invasive and painless.
Works by reviving the body’s natural processes.
Each sitting lasts for just 15-20 minutes and there is no downtime associated. Patients can go home soon after the procedure.
Side effects of LED therapy:
“LED therapy is one of the safest methods of skin rejuvenation. Only in extremely rare cases does it cause side effects. However, most of these [side effects] can be avoided by calculating the appropriate amount of light and exposure time [that is required for each treatment],” says Dr Monica Jacob, cosmetologist.
Here are some undesirable effects of the treatment:
LED therapy is never done over a single session. The patient needs to keep coming back after a few days. The treatment can take up to a month. Hence, it requires a long-term commitment.
The most common risk is the strain on the eyes caused by the bright LEDs. However, reputable products come with eye protection.
Since this treatment depends on the skin’s natural process, it is most beneficial only when the person’s skin is healthy enough to respond to it.
It can cause irritability, headaches, and insomnia.
Individuals with extreme photosensitivity could face more severe side-effects.
—With inputs from Dr Mohan Thomas, cosmetic surgeon
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