Let There Be Light


Light-Emitting Diode (LED) therapy is an ideal addition to a medical spa’s repertoire of services, because it is painless, non-invasive, and has virtually no recovery time. There are several different forms of LED therapy, with each color or combination of lights targeting a specific purpose. Because LED therapy can be used for multiple reasons, it is important to discuss with your client the exact results they are looking to achieve so you can give them the most effective treatment.

For those looking to reduce the signs of aging, red light is the best option, because it stimulates collagen and elastin production. “Collagen is the most common protein found in the body,” says Alex Webster, vice president of marketing for Quasar Bio-Tech. “It is the essential protein used to repair and replace damaged tissue. By increasing collagen, LED therapy improves the skin, making it look younger, smoother, firmer, and healthier.”

In addition to anti-aging benefits, red light therapy is ideal to use on clients who are undergoing cosmetic procedures. “It’s great for both pre- and post-operative procedures, particularly facelifts and liposuction,” says Dex Phillip, master esthetician for Shafer Plastic Surgery and founder of DEX New York Cosmetics. “Not only does it revitalize the health of the skin, but it also helps speed up the recovery process and aids in reducing inflammation.”

Clients suffering from acne should be treated with blue LED therapy, because blue light reduces sebum production and decreases the size of oil glands. This is an excellent option for those who would like to augment their conventional acne treatment regimens, according to Joshua L. Fox, M.D., of Advanced Dermatology, Center for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery (New York City). “This is great for adolescent and adult patients who would like their acne treated without risking possible side effects or pain associated with harsher acne therapies,” he says.

Green LED therapy uses low-intensity light to fade dark spots on the surface of the skin. This makes it especially beneficial for those suffering from hyperpigmentation, melasma, and vitiligo. “LED therapy has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemical peels, topical hydroquinone, and lasers to help decrease facial hyperpigmentation,” says Andrea Kassim, M.D., of Advanced Dermatology, Center for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery.

According to Rita Teixeira, national trainer at Silhouet-Tone, LED therapy is particularly valuable in a medical spa, because it helps facilitate faster results for other treatments. “This therapy is ideal for clients who get regular facials but want quicker and longer lasting results,” she says. “LED therapy treats the problem, not just the symptoms. The results have been so effective and impressive that clients have become knowledgeable about the technology and are asking for it with their treatments.”

While LED therapy is considered both safe and effective for most clients, there are some contraindications of which to be aware, including pregnancy and photosensitive skin disorders. “A distinct advantage of LED therapy is that, unlike certain other modalities that promote the production of collagen, there are no serious contraindications to be concerned about,” says Steve Marchese, CEO of LightStim. “But, as a precaution, we recommend that anyone who is under the care of a physician for a serious medical condition consult with their doctor before beginning any new treatment.”

In addition to helping with the prevention of premature aging, acne, and hyperpigmentation, LED therapy is becoming increasingly recognized for other medical benefits, such as healing wounds, increasing blood flow, and the treatment of brain tumors, to name a few. “The potential for LED use with regards to medical applications is vast and exciting,” says Marchese. “In the near future, we hope to market lights that are designed and engineered to re-grow hair. We are also involved in clinical studies with medical experts to eradicate all manifestations of psoriasis, reverse blindness caused by diabetes and macular degeneration, and kill flesh-eating bacteria.”

Incorporating LED therapy into your menu of services will not only broaden your offerings but it can also enhance your current treatments, both pre- and post-procedure. It will also convey to your clients that you are on top of offering them the most advanced skincare techniques. “We are living in the 21st century, where technology is advancing at a fast pace, so clients have less patience to wait around for results and want instant gratification,” says Teixeira. “In order to satisfy their demands, technology, such as LED therapy, is the ideal way to treat different concerns in a non-invasive, quick, and longer lasting way.”