LED light therapy has become an increasingly popular treatment for various skin conditions and aesthetic goals. The technology uses different wavelengths of light to target specific cells and reactions in the skin. While generally considered very safe, some people wonder if you can overdo LED treatments and end up causing more harm than good.
How LED light therapy works
LED therapy uses light-emitting diodes to deliver wavelengths of visible light onto the skin’s surface. The light penetrates into the deeper layers of skin and interacts with cells and tissues to produce beneficial effects. Some of the main mechanisms of action include:
- Increasing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production in cells – This provides more cellular energy
- Stimulating collagen and elastin production – These proteins keep skin firm and youthful
- Reducing inflammation – Light helps calm inflammation that can lead to skin damage
- Increasing blood flow – More blood flow brings nutrients and oxygen to skin cells
There are different LED colors used in light therapy:
- Blue light – Targets and eliminates acne bacteria
- Red light – Boosts collagen production and reduces inflammation
- Near-infrared light -Stimulates cellular renewal and repairs damaged skin
Potential benefits of LED therapy
Research has shown LED light treatments can improve a number of skin concerns, such as:
- Wrinkles and fine lines
- Skin texture irregularities
- Skin laxity
- Dull, uneven complexion
- Acne and acne scars
LED therapy is gentler than laser treatments and other abrasive skin resurfacing methods. It does not damage the skin surface. This makes it a desirable option for people looking to improve their skin’s appearance and health.
Is there such a thing as too much LED light therapy?
Most experts consider LED light therapy to be very safe when used correctly. However, there are some factors to keep in mind regarding overdoing treatments:
- following protocols – It’s important to follow recommended treatment parameters and not overuse LED devices outside of these protocols. This includes the wavelength, distance from skin, treatment time, etc.
- Allowing rest periods – Skin needs time to recover between LED sessions. Daily treatments could end up causing irritation or inflammation.
- Using appropriate light intensity – Using LED devices at excessive intensities could potentially cause burns or skin damage with prolonged exposure.
- Considering skin sensitivity – People with very sensitive skin may not tolerate daily or lengthy treatments well.
Adhering to the protocols and settings recommended by LED device manufacturers can help avoid issues. Working with an experienced clinician also ensures treatments are delivered safely and properly.
Signs you may be overdoing LED therapy
Some signs that you may be overusing LED treatments include:
- Skin feeling tender, itchy or irritated during or after treatments
- Increased redness and inflammation
- Dryness, flaking, peeling or scabbing of the skin
- Blistering or burns
- Hyperpigmentation (dark spots) developing
These reactions indicate the skin is becoming overexposed. If any negative side effects develop, it’s best to take a break from LED therapy until skin heals. Then, reduce the frequency and/or intensity of treatments.
Recommended LED therapy schedules
Below are some general guidelines for safe LED treatment frequency from dermatologists:
|LED therapy type
|In-office professional treatments
|1-2 times per week
|At-home LED masks
|2-3 times per week
|At-home handheld LED devices
|1-2 times per week
It’s a good idea to start off slowly (1-2 times per week) and gradually increase the frequency if needed. Taking periodic breaks, like a week off every 4-6 weeks, can also prevent overusing the technology.
Precautions when receiving LED light therapy
To make sure LED treatments remain safe and effective, it’s wise to take these precautions:
- Fully research and vet LED clinics and aestheticians before booking appointments.
- Follow all post-treatment care instructions provided.
- Always wear protective eyewear during LED sessions.
- Use proper sun protection if getting LED therapy on your face.
- Avoid heat-generating activities like exercise, hot tubs, etc. after treatment.
- Listen to your skin – if any irritation develops, take a break from treatments.
Who should avoid LED therapy?
While considered very safe for most people, the following groups should use caution or avoid LED treatments altogether:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Those with an active or recent skin cancer
- People taking light-sensitizing medications
- Those with photosensitivity disorders
- People with pacemakers or medical implants
Anyone with concerns about their skin’s condition or tolerance to light should discuss LED therapy with their dermatologist first.
When administered properly and safely, LED light therapy offers an effective way to rejuvenate skin and treat various skin conditions. Following treatment guidelines and not overdoing sessions allows you to gain the benefits while avoiding potential risks of overexposure.
Be smart about treatment frequency, listen to your skin, and work with knowledgeable professionals. With this approach, LED light therapy can safely become a valuable part of your skincare regimen.