Seeing the Light

SPA OWNERS, DIRECTORS, AND ESTHETICIANS are incredibly savvy these days about skincare trends, product technology, marketing, packaging, retailing, and new revenue-building services. However, there is one service category where more individual homework still needs to be done—light therapy for facial rejuvenation. This profitable service is no longer a market for the rich and famous. It's a whole paradigm shift for the masses in the making. Increasing client awareness and need demands that skincare professionals anticipate consumer attitudes and trends, seek out the most professional knowledge available, and, above all else, ask the operative questions. When it comes to light therapy, prepare to power up. As one of the fastest growing categories driven by the anti-aging baby boomer market, the advent of light therapy for facial rejuvenation is a popular service that is ideal for progressive spas and their clients. When it comes to selecting the safest and most effective choices of light therapy devices and products, due diligence is definitely in order on the part of the owner and the esthetician.

As with any worthwhile business purchase, check things out first with the most respected category experts you can find. There are some unscrupulous companies that sell systems and results that are misrepresented and, in some cases, simply not safe. The skincare professional today should not take information about light therapy devices at face value. Anyone can write anything in a brochure. The cost factor for introducing light therapy is also all over the map these days. The first and best rule of thumb is to scope out the competition, identify the players, and interview the most reputable companies offering clinical results and real science behind their claims.

Clearing Up Misconceptions About Light Therapy
Clearing Up Misconceptions About Light Therapy

Consider the following therapies available: light therapy versus lasers, cosmetic light therapy versus medical light therapy, Light Emitting Diodes (LED) therapy versus Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), non-invasive/non-thermal treatments versus aggressive thermal treatments, no damage treatments versus less damage treatments. It's no wonder spa specialists are confused about light therapy. It is easy to gather information at shows, in magazines, and from company representatives, but consider the source. Make sure the product claims can be backed up with scientific facts and clinical results. Be wary of those eager to cite research findings that are not their own. Ask for independent clinical studies that involve the company's own technology. It is going to take a bit of extra effort to study up on light therapy and the specific devices needed for certain conditions, but that is a standard operating procedure for spa professionals who pride themselves on offering safe, state-of-the-art, and science-based technologies.

Brushing up on the benefits of light therapy, such as tightening pores, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, brightening and evening out skintone and texture, is only half the job The other half is making smart technology choices that deliver results and are both safe and profitable. To help you get started, here are some guidelines you'll want as you consider light therapy for facial rejuvenation at your spa.

Ask The Right Questions

You're more likely to make a good equipment purchase and get the most efficacious light device if you ask the following questions.

1. Ask to see copies of the company's clinical trials and independent research studies.

2. Ask to see a copy of a letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicating that the manufacturer's light therapy device has been appropriately reviewed and determined to be a "non-significant risk" device that can be utilized for "cosmetic applications" at the spa level. This letter ensures that the device presents no safety risk to your clients, and you will have peace of mind knowing that you are not operating a device that requires medical credentials.

3. Ask for names of respected, credible doctors (e.g., board-certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons) who use and/or approve of the company's light therapy system. Call these medical professionals and ask their opinions.

Future Flash

Baby boomers are constantly striving to look younger and don't want just any light shining on them. They want the light therapy that delivers immediate results with no risk, no damage, and no downtime. Future-minded successful skincare professionals understand that they must anticipate consumer trends and become increasingly knowledgeable to meet client demand, satisfy expectations, and above all, guarantee the safety and efficacy of all products and services offered.

Light therapy is rapidly redefining the anti-aging category and facial rejuvenation treatments as we know them. As with other paradigm shifts that the professional beauty industry has experienced and sometimes endured, estheticians will inevitably be asking themselves just a few short 'light years' from today: "Now that I know about light therapy, why would I ever want to go back?" or, "How did we ever use anything else....back then in 2006?"

Tony Case is the president of Lumiere Light Therapie, a subsidiary of Photo Therapeutics, a leader in light therapy. To contact him, email [email protected]. For more information, visit