Those in the know are boosting their skin and wellbeing with the latest LED light therapies...
Newsflash: The pivotal moment for our skincare routines was in the 70s. No, seriously, back then NASA scientists discovered that LEDs (light-emitting diodes) stimulate plant growth (useful for growing veggies in space) and subsequently found they have the same effect on skin, stimulating mitochondria (cell fuel) and boosting our collagen production. ‘One giant leap’ for skincare, indeed.
So how exactly does this affect our complexion? Well, light, in its various guises, penetrates the skin and stimulates mechanisms that can help to eliminate bacteria, plump-out lines and deliver results that are seriously noticeable. LED light is not as potent as a laser and the results take months rather than weeks to surface, but there’s none of the scarring or downtime that can come from the more aggressive treatments. A handful of sessions will take your skin to infinity and beyond.
The treatment: Yellow light
For: Fine lines and wrinkles.
The low-down: The Botox of wavelengths, this should be part of your age-maintenance programme. Yellow light reduces redness and wrinkle-causing inflammation while boosting circulation. It works by stimulating the rejuvenation process within your cells to improve the density of your skin (that’s the stuff that drops after the age of 30, causing those fine lines).
Try: The Lynton Boxlight – an LED light machine used in clinics throughout the UK. Like most light machines it can switch between and combine colours so you’ll get your money’s worth. Find a clinic at lynton.co.uk; prices vary.
The treatment: Green light
The low-down: Green light targets dark circles, pigmentation, broken capillaries and sunspots. It also calms irritated or over-stimulated skin.
Try: This alongside mesotherapy (tiny needles that boost the skin’s ‘repair’ function), as recommended by Dr Frances Prenna Jones. It’s her go-to treatment to help reduce sun damage, acne scaring, pigmentation and rosacea. Visit drfrancesprennajones.com; treatment from £300.
The treatment: Blue light
The low-down: Blue light eliminates acne vulgaris (the bacteria responsible for causing spots), while leaving the good bacteria intact. Blue light can be used on its own but it’s often paired with red light, explains expert facialist Debbie Thomas. ‘Red and blue lights have very specific wavelengths and, when used together, kill acne bacteria and help the skin to heal.’
Try: Thomas uses the above therapy in her renowned DNA treatments (from £110), which combines massage and high-performing collagen masks. Visit debbiethomas.co.uk.
The treatment: Red light
The low-down: Red light lies next to infrared at the end of the visible part of the light spectrum, and its wavelengths disable inflammation triggers. Inflammation is linked to acne, pigmentation and rosacea, which is why you’ll find this wonder light in most treatments.
Try: The Light Salon in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, London. Prices start at £35 for one treatment; a course of ten (recommended) starts at £270. Visit thelight-salon.com. Alternatively, book a Rejuvenating Facial (£180 for 45 minutes) at the Marylebone-based Prager Clinic, which combines red LEDs with a gentle resurfacing peel. Visit drmichaelprager.com for details.
The bright side
Get to grips with at-home DIY light-therapy devices
Put down your latte: studies show light therapy outperforms caffeine when it comes to increasing cognition*. A separate study found that dawn-simulation lamps and bright-light therapy, used to treat SAD (seasonal affective disorder), can be as effective as antidepressants**. Test subjects reported a 57 per cent lift in mood and improved sleep patterns.
Try: Lumie Zest, £125, which uses blue-enriched white LED light to regulate your body clock, or the Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30, £59.95, which mimics sunrise to boost your serotonin levels. For additional skin benefits, try LightStim, £242, to regenerate cells; Lumie Clear, £149, to reduce inflammation, or Tria Acne Clearing Blue Light, £229, which eliminates acne-causing bacteria.