I’ve been using a “light box” for six years now—light therapy is an increasingly popular beauty treatment to diminish the effects of aging and skincare struggles. From infrared light to light therapy, there are so many types of light therapy treatments available today. And while the reason for using them is similar, most proponents cite that the treatment could be the key to improving skin, whether it’s anti-aging, minimizing acne, brightening skin, or treating blemishes. That said, there is more to the story than that. So, how exactly do light therapy treatments actually work?
It’s All About Energy
Red light therapy is believed to improve the skin’s ability to maintain collagen and elastin—this is a component of your skin’s growth cycle, which is important because it gives skin a firm, elastic surface. As your skin ages, it doesn’t produce as much collagen and elastin, which results in the skin looking more saggy and loose. When your body produces collagen and elastin, your skin can be pulled away from the underlying muscles that make up your face. That’s why topical treatments can be effective at diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The therapy itself uses lights that emit short-wave infrared light, which helps stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Many light therapy lamps emit light for 10 to 20 minutes, as opposed to full body therapy lamps that last for hours at a time. The light therapy lamp you should be looking at for a specific treatment, on the other hand, can last from 30 minutes to eight hours, depending on the type.
So, while the therapy itself may be clinically proven to improve your skin, it’s not likely that it’ll achieve that by simply sitting in a bright light for a few minutes a few times a week. The real magic happens in the cell’s reaction to the light. The more efficient your skin’s cells can react to the light, the better your skin’s health will be. The cells are also much better at absorbing the light, meaning that it’s more likely to penetrate the skin and give you immediate benefits.
So, the light therapy does make a difference, but the real question is, can you fake the benefits by doing the treatment once or twice a week? The short answer is no, you can’t. Doing one treatment or the one day of light therapy won’t magically turn you into Jennifer Aniston, or even Oprah.
The Hormone Connection
That’s because the rise in collagen and elastin is closely tied to the changes hormone levels, such as estrogen and testosterone, might be going through. While you may think that more estrogen means a healthier body and skin, the opposite is true for the hormones. When estrogen levels go up, skin becomes dryer, oilier, and more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. This is the reason why, even after breastfeeding, women who experience hormonal changes are more likely to suffer from breakouts and more wrinkles. When estrogen levels drop, skin becomes firmer, and less sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. It’s all related.
Because light therapy can help increase your skin’s production of collagen and elastin, it can improve your skin’s overall appearance. But since light therapy can’t do anything to heal your acne. It won’t be an option for tackling pesky breakouts on their own.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dr. Nancy Rozen, MD, a Chicago-based dermatologist, explains that the best way to treat breakouts at home is to do exfoliating treatments before applying the light therapy. Which in this case, would be an exfoliating serum.
See a Dermatologist First
So, before you try anything new, make sure you see a dermatologist. If you’re in a pinch, or don’t have the time or money to visit a dermatologist, you can also try the Holistic Skin Care Detox Mask. which according to users, does a great job at aiding in the production of collagen and elastin.