Posted on 07/07/2021
We've done thousands of LED Light Treatments in our 20+ years of The Face Place - and we've never tired of them - so we thought it was time to put together the ultimate guide. Read on to find whether LED Light Therapy is safe, why LED Light Treatments are worth the splurge and whether at-home LED Light Therapy can compare.
What is LED Light Therapy?
You may remember this from school science class - LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.
LED light therapy has been around since way back in the 1960s. NASA originally developed it for plant growth experiments on space shuttle missions, and then found it also helped heal astronauts’ wounds. In the 1990s, US Navy SEALs began using it heal wounds more quickly and to help regenerate damaged muscle tissue.
Not surprisingly, the cosmedicine industry soon decided to see if LED light therapy could be used as a beauty treatment. It’s now a popular and proven skin treatment that’s widely available at med spas.
In-clinic LED light machines typically expose your skin to various wavelengths of light, including red, blue and near infrared, to improve skin health.
“I absolutely love LED light therapy (particularly near infrared/830nm) as it has so many applications and is suitable for almost anyone.” - TFP Skin Team Leader Lauren
The beautiful warm glow of our Healite II machine
What can LED Light Therapy do?
It’s a pain-free, non-invasive treatment with tons of benefits we love!
Skin rejuvenation benefits – improves collagen synthesis
Acne-fighting benefits — reduces bacteria and regulates sebum
Inflammation-calming benefits – soothes acne, rosacea, and psoriasis as well as most other common skin conditions
It also gives you an immediate glow, so you can have this treatment right before any special event. You’ll catch us under it before any milestone birthday, big celebration, work presentation or even we just need 30 minutes of “me-time”. With the world-class shoulder massage, we liken this treatment to the feeling of a warm hug.
“LED Light Therapy is quite profound in that it creates a ‘wound healing’ response without any wound occurring. What this means is you get all the positive effects such as reduction in inflammation and stimulation of the repair process which induces collagen production and hydration: all this without any adverse reaction! The skin just looks immediately hydrated, calm and luminous.” - TFP Skin Team Leader Lauren
What do the different colours of LED Light Therapy mean?
Different colours of LED light correspond to different wavelengths of the visible light spectrum. These wavelengths penetrate the skin to different depths and produce different responses in the skin.
Red light improves the skin by stimulating the fibroblast cells, which then stimulates collagen and elastin production, as well as hydration. It is also thought to calm inflammation. Because of its ability to boost collagen, red is known as the ‘anti-ageing’ or, as we prefer, ‘rejuvenation’ light.
Blue light has a shorter wavelength that kills the acne-causing bacteria Cutibacterium Acnes. This bacteria is found in some types of acne, but not all. If blue light is appropriate for the type of acne, often a clinician will complement it with another light. This is because blue light has no skin benefits on its own, it simply oxidises bacteria. Therefore, red or near infrared light may be added for rejuvenation and anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
NEAR INFRARED (NO COLOUR) 830NM
The specific wavelength of 830 nanometres has been proven in clinical studies to be the ‘sweet spot’ for skin rejuvenation. It has excellent anti-inflammatory benefits. While many of us may not think of our skin as ‘inflamed’, in reality most skin conditions have an inflammatory element, whether it is environmental or genetic. Therefore, near infrared light is a great all-rounder for targeting many skin issues. It’s the wavelength we use most often at The Face Place.
“Inflammation is a key player in all skins - it generally contributes to poor skin health even if it doesn’t look inflamed. All conditions, including pigmentation, dehydration and acne, all have an inflammatory element. Even internal stimuli such as cortisol will inflame the skin at a micro level. Anything that is as profoundly anti-inflammatory as the Healite II Near Infrared will have a significant impact on skin health.” - TFP Skin Team Leader Lauren
This diagram shows how three wavelengths target different depths of the skin.
Is LED Light Therapy safe?
Yes, LED light is completely different from ultraviolet or UV light. It cannot burn your skin and you will not sustain any sun damage (we wouldn’t touch them if they did!)
LED light therapy is completely non-invasive – no side effects have been reported in clinical trials.
However, you will need to wear protective eyewear as the light can be bright. We provide all of our clients with sanitised, high-quality eyewear during appointments.
It’s important you visit a reputable clinic, one that has strong safety and hygiene practice and is using powerful LED Light Therapy machines from a reputable manufacturer. Some machines may not emit enough energy to stimulate the necessary response in the skin.
At The Face Place we use Healite II by Lutronic, a company with more than 20 years’ experience in aesthetic and medical technology.
Is LED Light Therapy suitable for anyone?
It is suitable for almost everyone. However, if you suffer from a medical condition that may increase your photosensitivity, it is best to avoid LED light therapy. Additionally, if you are on certain medication, such as isotretinoin for acne, this could also make you more light-sensitive.
Can I have LED Light Therapy if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Yes, the great news is that unlike many other treatments, Healite II is safe and approved for every trimester of pregnancy.
Are all brands of LED Light Therapy machines the same?
If it’s a genuine LED Light Therapy machine from a reputable manufacturer, then you can be reasonably confident of getting good results. Efficacy comes down to how much energy the machine emits – a machine needs to have sufficient density of LED bulbs to produce enough energy to stimulate the necessary response in the skin.
Most clinical studies have been done testing either the Omnilux or Healite II brands, so other brands can’t “clinically prove” they can get the same results – they can just say just that LED light therapy in general can produce these results.
At The Face Place we previously used Omnilux, which was developed by Photo Therapeutics, UK, and first commercially launched in 1998. These were great, however we have since upgraded all our machines to Healite II, which launched in 2011. Healite II was developed by the world’s leading researcher in light therapy, Dr Glen Calderhead, for Lutronic Corporation, South Korea.
The Omnilux is still a good machine, but it was time for us to replace ours as they were getting older.
Similar to Omnilux, the Healite II machine has 1800 LED lights and it uses the wavelengths of 830, 633 and 415 nanometres.
What we like about the Healite II in particular is that is has Optical Lens Array Technology. This gives its lights more concentrated output with less light scattering, which improves its efficacy and thus boosts results.
Can I do LED Light Therapy at home?
Based on how popular and effective in-clinic LED Light Therapy has become, brands have begun to offer them as at-home devices.
Home devices haven’t been proven as effective - one of the biggest differences is the amount of globes on each device, as well as their density. An at-home LED mask will generally have around 100 LED bulbs. A professional device such as Healite II has 1800 bulbs. So an at-home device only gives you a tiny fraction of light compared to what you’d get in the clinic.
The concentration of bulbs is key. One hundred bulbs might be fine in a small spot-treatment device, but would not be enough for a device targeting the entire face.
Additionally, most at-home devices don't offer the 830nm (near infrared) wavelength that is optimal for anti-ageing. They typically only offer the other wavelengths, such as red and blue.
An at-home LED mask like this may not be as effective as a clinic device
While at-home LED masks are generally safe and harmless to use, you need to be aware of eye protection. Neutrogena recently had a product recall for their LED mask after reports of eye injury!
We asked our Skin Team Leader, Lauren, to write a specific piece on the difference between home and in-clinic LED devices. Read it here.
What happens during a LED Light Therapy appointment?
It’s a real treat that’s also short and sweet!
First, your clinician will double-cleanse your skin using medical-grade skincare products. This will remove all your makeup and ensure there is a clean canvas for the light to penetrate through.
You clinician will also place special protective black goggles over your eye area to shield your eyes from the light (cleaned and sanitised after every appointment).
Once the light is on, you will gradually feel a warm glow over your face, and you may detect a bright light (despite the goggles), depending on whether you are going under a red or blue light. Red is brightest; blue less so. The colour of the light best suited to your concerns will have been pre-determined when you chatted with your clinician in your first appointment.
While the light is on, you will receive a relaxing neck and shoulder massage – this is the best part as our clinicians have amazing soothing hands. If you’re not a massage person, you can opt to skip this part and just relax. Most of us doze off!
After the light turns off, your clinician will apply moisturiser and sunscreen so you’re all set to go about your day. If you wish, our front-of-house team can also apply Jane Iredale mineral makeup for you.
However you may want to bask in that glowing, no-makeup look because your skin will look dewy and fresh after this treatment.
“Not only does LED Light Therapy create beautiful skin, it is also a beautiful experience and can help with stress too - I call it my little piece of heaven. The light produces Vitamin D and helps with the uptake of serotonin, which can help with SAD or seasonal effective disorder.” - TFP Skin Team Leader Lauren
What is the downtime after LED Light Therapy?
There is no downtime at all. In fact, it’s a great treatment to have right before a big event as your skin will be glowing.
Can I have LED Light Therapy if I am also having other treatments?
Yes! The great thing about LED Light Therapy is that is works beautifully in combination with other treatments. At The Face Place, many of our skin patients book a Healite II after having peels, micro-needling, Derma-Frac or dermaplaning.
They’re also affective for soothing skin and calming inflammation after having injectables such as dermal filler, wrinkle relaxer or platelet-rich plasma. If you have any small bruises from your injectable treatment, Healite II is a must-have!
As a bonus, our Healite II sessions are even more cost-effective when purchased as an add-on treatment, rather than a standalone treatment.
Fun fact: A new trend in LED Light Therapy is to have a course of this treatment after cosmetic surgery such as a facelift or eyelift. Clinical studies have shown a course of LED Light Therapy can reduce the healing time after a cosmetic procedure, so you can be back showing your full face much faster!
How many sessions of LED Light Therapy do I need to see results?
You will always get the most significant results when you commit to a full course of LED Light Therapy, but you will still get benefits from having just one session (including an instant glow.)
At The Face Place a course is typically 8 to 9 sessions, each 2 to 3 days apart, or until results are achieved. This is the best way to see profound results.
In particular, a course of Healite II is very beneficial when your skin concern is acne, as the results are cumulative.
It’s also more cost-effective to buy multiple sessions. At The Face Place we recommend a course of 8 treatments, with twice-weekly appointments over the course of 1 month.
“Healite is best used as a course - a minimum of 8-9 - but it also compliments other treatments. At TFP we like to incorporate Healite with our peels, needling and Dermafrac, as it will accelerate healing time and compound the rejuvenating effects of the other treatments.” - TFP Skin Team Leader Lauren
This patient had a series of peels followed by LED Light Therapy treatments to improve adult acne.
Can I book straight in for LED Light Therapy?
At The Face Place we always love to see you for an Initial Skin Consultation first, so we can get you on the best routine of medical-grade skincare for your unique skin, and create a long-term plan for you. During this consult we also analyse your skin using our Observ machine so we can get a full picture of what would benefit you most. We would also determine what Healite II settings would work best for you – blue light, red light, near infrared light or a combination.
That said, because Healite is generally suitable and safe for all skin types, it’s one of the rare skin treatments we will do without an Initial Skin Consultation. For example, some patients come to us mainly for injectables, but book Healite II as an add-on.
So if you want to come and see us solely to try our amazing Healite II, there is nothing to stop you.
“Please don’t stampede for this treatment 😊 – it's by appointment only!” - TFP Skin Team Leader Lauren
What does LED Light Therapy cost?
The Face Place prices:
One session of Healite II (standalone) $125
Course of 9 standalone Healite II treatments $900
Course of 8 standalone Healite II treatments $800
One session of Healite II (added on to another injectable or skin treatment) $70
Course of 3 Healite II (added on to another injectable or skin treatment) $210
Course of 4 Healite II (added on to another injectable or skin treatment) $280
Course of 6 Healite II (added on to another injectable or skin treatment) $420
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