Long Life and Health
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Aging

Is LED Therapy the Key to Younger Skin?

Doctors may be shedding a “new light” on how to restore a youthful glow to aging skin!

As we have fought the Covid-19 pandemic, mask-wearing has become a very familiar sight to protect and preserve health and well-being. Now, antiaging medical practitioners suggest using another kind of mask entirely, one that they say may reduce the appearance of aging skin.

We are talking about a new device  – an LED face mask — that brings the technology of “light therapy,” which has been used for years by dermatologists, into a mask that anyone can use at home.

LED stands for light-emitting diode — a technology that was developed for NASA’s plant growth experiments in space. “Light therapy” has been used for many years by dermatologists to treat severe skin issues such as rosacea and others. But that usually has involved the use of intense sources of light such as lasers or UV. As used in light therapy, LEDs use much lower energy to create changes in the skin than a laser does. Studies have shown that LED light therapy can “greatly enhance the natural wound healing process” and is “beneficial for a range of medical and aesthetic conditions” in dermatology.

LED therapy is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for recurrent facial herpes simplex or cold sores, and herpes zoster (shingles), said Dr. Pooja Sodha, director of the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at The GW Medical Faculty Associates in Washington, D.C.

But do these “home versions” of the tech work to make you look younger and fresher for your next Zoom call?

According to many dermatologists (and celebrity endorsers), the answer is “yes!”

The masks sold for home use are considerably less powerful than the ones at a dermatologist’s office. Still, the American Academy of Dermatology says they have some merit, and the privacy of home use and affordability often makes them an attractive option.

They can irradiate the face with blue light, used to treat acne; or red light — which penetrates a bit more deeply — for antiaging purposes; or both.

“Blue light actually can target the bacteria in the skin that creates acne,” said Dr. Mona Gohara, a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut.

With red light, “heat energy (is) being delivered to make changes in the skin. In this case, it’s increased collagen production,” she noted.

There are some masks that have been specially designed to treat areas of the face most prone to aging-looking lines and wrinkles, such as around the eyes or the neck.

The LED mask is not going to be as good as Botox or a filler at smoothing wrinkles, but it could add a little extra radiance and some modest antiaging results, Gohara noted.

Overall, they’re pretty safe, the experts said. Many are cleared by the FDA, though that speaks to their safety more than their efficacy.

Speaking to NBC’s Today Show, Gohara added that anyone considering using these devices should research the quality of the product and follow the safety instructions and manufacturer guidelines before using any of the at-home LED skin masks. She also recommended wearing sunglasses or opaque glasses for extra eye protection.

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