The Science Behind LED Light Therapy Explained - With Expert Sarah Turner

April 6, 2021

LED light therapy is becomingincreasingly popular. You may have seen influencers (or your mostskincare-obssessed friend) posting these illuminating devices on their socialmedia. But the question remains, how light (of all things) can help clear yourskin and give it a glow?

Today, we ask photobiomodulationexpert, Sarah Turner who has been actively working in the field for over fouryears. After leaving her research position in big pharmaceutical companies,Sarah discovered alternative medicine which led her to the biohacking scene.This led her to discover the transformative impact and potential ofLED light therapy. Since then, Sarah is continuing her research in whatmay be the future of many medical treatments - including acne treatment.

Not in the mood to read? Watch theinterview instead:

Whatare the benefits of using light therapy?

The first thing is, I am a big fan of any treatment that is non-toxic. Thereare a lot of pharmaceutical therapies for various conditions. But that alwayscomes with a price later down the line. Plus, your body always has to find away to deal with any kind of drug intervention. So, that’s, I think, a hugebenefit of these treatments - they are entirely non-toxic.

The other thing is they stimulate your body’s healing mechanisms. So, you’readdressing the root cause of the problem rather than dealing with the symptoms.That’s another cool reason why I think light therapy will become one of themedicines of the future. Since it really works with the body, not against it.

How would you apply LED light therapy with acne treatments?

Light therapy has been applied to skin ailments because it is very well-suitedto that kind of problem. It’s very easy to get to the surface of the skin usinglight. And you know, these straightforward devices, handheld devices, the skinis very accessible. And it works because light does penetrate the skin, anddepending on what wavelength (and when I say wavelength, that equates tocolor), the light will penetrate to various depths.

So, the blue light will address thesurface of the skin. And then red and near-infrared will go deeper into theskin. And what you’re doing with these treatments is you are changing certainaspects of your physiology. So, for example for blue light- it helps destroybacteria on the surface of your skin. So, that’s an ideal treatment if you havesomething like acne where you have bacteria that will cause an issue or that’salready causing a problem. You can deal with that with blue light.

And then red light actually penetrates deeper into the skin. It’s very healing;it’s used for wound-healing and things in hospitals. That will help the skinregain its integrity, build up collagen, help with wrinkles, and all that goodstuff.

How would you compare LED light therapy to other types of acne treatments?

Well, I think with problems like acne or other skin conditions, sometimes theycan be very difficult to treat, sometimes the treatment programs are difficultto administer. There are a lot of pharmaceutical treatments, like antibioticsfor killing bacteria on the skin, are effective, but then you’re also killingthe bacteria in your gut, you know?

So, as I said, there’s always a payback when you’re using these kinds ofpharmaceutical treatments. But then again, you have to be careful that if thereis some kind of antibacterial in there, you’re also going to be killing theother good bacteria that reside on your skin.

So, from my point of view, using light therapy is probably one of the bestthings you can do for many skin conditions.

Because you know, you’re working with the body and not upsetting the naturalbalance there. And it's easy. And it shows that if you do use it consistently,you can actually get a very good result. It’s just as effective as othertreatments.

Do you think LED will have its breakthrough?

LED as a light source have come into their own. The reason why it is not sowidely known is that up until fairly recently, the technology wasn’t there toprovide at-home use equipment. Because initially this treatment was done usinglasers. This was the kit that was available. And so this used to be calledlow-level laser therapy. It’s now been renamed to photobiomodulation becauseLED lights have now been upgraded to the point where they’re very inexpensive,they’re very effective, and you can use them for home use.

It’s just you know, we’re kind of at the start of light therapy. I think whatwe’re going to see in the future is that the LED light therapy is going to beused for a whole host of other applications. And as the research grows, peoplewill gain confidence, people will be trained more in this kind of therapybecause at the moment, medical doctors, for example, do not have training inthis therapy. Because it's still relatively new. So, that’s why perhaps it'snot so mainstream.

What skincare tips would you have?

I would keep it simple. As for everything. Things like just washing your facewith warm water and some soap. It doesn’t have to be some huge fancy skincareroutine.
The other thing is I am a big fan of dealing with things from the inside. So,you know, are you giving your body what it needs for your skin? So, skin to meis not so much about the routine. It’s about are you sleeping well? Are youeating well? Are you managing your stress?

And then I think that would go along way, the skincare routine. With regards to the lights, after you’ve done avery simple routine, I would say to use the lights probably in the morning. Anduse the device regularly. It’s a cumulative effect; it builds up. So, the moreyou use the device, the greater effect you’ve got. So, it’s about consistency.

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