The benefits of phototherapy
PUBLISHED: 16:36 16 May 2014 | UPDATED: 16:59 27 May 2015
Light is all around us, it’s something we take for granted. If I told you that the ordinary white light that surrounds us has healing properties you might think I was crazy.
Ordinary white light is made up of different wavelengths of visible light and non visible light energy, each wavelength exhibits a different colour, and each wavelength or colour of light affects the skin in a different way which I will explain soon. First though, if you remember your school science lesson experiments where you used a triangular prism to split white light into its coloured light components. You have probably observed rainbows forming in the atmosphere where droplets of water act as tiny prisms and give the spectacular display of colour after a rainstorm. As well as these visible colours there are other wavelengths of light energy which are part of the ordinary light all around us which are not visible to the naked eye such as ultraviolet light and infrared. Ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) are the light frequencies which cause ageing of the skin, sun burn and sun tanning. Infrared light is felt as heat when we are in the sun or close to an electric light source.
It is no accident that people, animals and birds seek out the sun and seem to get real pleasure in soaking up the suns rays. Light is absorbed by the skin and produces chemical and physical changes in the skin, the most obvious of these is tanning. When you have short exposures to the sun your skin generally looks more radiant. Spots may clear up and other skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis may improve. Longer exposure to the sun may however result in sun burn and this is due to ultraviolet radiation (UVB rays). Even if your skin doesn’t burn it will tan as a result of exposure to the UVB ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Tanning is the bodies’ natural defence against the burning ultraviolet rays. UV light isn’t all bad however because vitamin D is created through exposure to UVB rays. There is a trade off between the harm UV light does and the body getting adequate vitamin D. UV light also kills the bacteria on the skin that cause acne, hence acne often improves during the summer on skin which is allowed some exposure to the sun.
Phototherapy – Using the beneficial light rays to rejuvenate and heal the skin
In recent years there has been a massive increase in high tech light based treatments within aesthetic medicine and conventional medicine. Phototherapy is one such treatment which is designed to deliver specific therapeutic wavelengths of light to the skin using LED’s (light emitting diodes). LED phototherapy is a relaxing treatment which stimulates natural intercellular processes which repair and rejuvenate the skin. Phototherapy only uses beneficial light wavelengths such as blue, red and near infrared. UV light is carefully filtered out so that only 100% beneficial rays are delivered to the skin in high doses.
Specific light wavelengths or combinations of specific wavelengths along with topical products applied before or after exposure to the light make up effective treatment regimes for a variety of skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, signs of ageing, acne and even some types of skin cancer.
Blue Light Therapy For Acne
Visible Blue light is antibacterial in the same was as UV light is. It is absorbed by the epidermis where its antibacterial properties can get to work on the acne bacteria but without causing any of the damage associated with UV exposure. Blue light also helps reduce oil production in the skin which helps to reduce blackheads.
Red Light Therapy For Skin Rejuvenation
Red light has a longer wavelength than blue light and penetrates deeper into the skin. Red light has powerful anti ageing properties causing skin cells to renew faster and this accelerates the natural healing process. Research has shown that exposure to red light can increase cell regeneration by up to five times. Red light penetrates deep into the skin and has been shown to activate at least 24 different positive changes within the skin. Of particular concern to those of us who are in our forties or above is the ability of red light to stimulate cells known as fibroblasts. With age comes a general thinning of the skin and reduction in collagen. Wrinkles and lines start to appear as well as signs of sun damage. Fibroblasts are responsible for producing collagen and maintaining the thickness of the skin. Red light also increases circulation in the skin and speeds up the healing process.
Infrared Light Therapy For Healing
Near infrared light is invisible but felt as heat. Our cells are photosensitive to the near infrared wavelength of light and are stimulated by this wavelength. Near infrared can penetrate deeply into the skin, stimulating blood flow and healing response. It is because of this that it is used to treat inflammation including joint pain.
Near infrared light stimulates both circulation and the lymphatic system. It reduces swelling and bruising and increases wound and scar healing including burns and ulcers. Near infrared has beneficial anti ageing properties too including its ability to improve both laxity and density of the skin. Age spots and other forms of pigmentation can also be improved using near infrared light.
Phototherapy Can Benefit Everyone!
Phototherapy or light therapy can be tailored to specific skin concerns. Combinations of different light frequencies are used to beneficial effect. Acne for example can benefit not only from blue light to kill bacteria but also red and infrared light to calm inflammation and promote rapid healing.
Scar healing can be improved using a combination of red and near infrared light. Red and near infrared are also a good combination to use as a general anti ageing and skin rejuvenation treatment as they will stimulate collagen, firm the skin and reduce pigmentation. However, you can still benefit from light therapy even if you are not suffering from a skin problem. You can give your skin a boost and have it glowing just like when you have been out in the sunshine but without the harm that UV exposure does. Your skin will generally look healthier and feel healthier, plumper and firmer after a phototherapy treatment.
Phototherapy is the new facial if you want real measurable improvement in your skin. It might not seem like a pampering treatment but it gets results and it is actually quite relaxing in the same way a snooze in pleasant sunshine would be. As well as facial treatment, it can be used on the body too to improve skin conditions such as psoriasis or acne.
If you would like to improve your skin condition, whether you have ongoing skin problems such as acne or eczema or you want to rejuvenate your skin and reduce the signs of ageing then phototherapy is a safe, effective treatment that won’t break the bank. To finds out more call the Evolutions Clinic on 01962 809937. Evolutions is based in the historic city of Winchester and offers a range of aesthetic treatments, beauty treatments and complementary therapies.