Thursday, May 8, 2014

Light Therapies for Skin

The secret code is 648

You see, 648 (nanometers, to be specific) is the numeric representation of a wavelength on the electromagnetic spectrum that corresponds to a pretty, visible red color.

Skincare blogger Nicki Zevola wrote a little something about this wavelength, and the possibility of using it in a cream version over at her blog FutureDerm, and I've been meaning to respond for quite some time!

I am of course totally intrigued by the potential for encapsulating light filters into skincare for targeted results (duh!), and while the technology isn't there yet, I did still want to clarify a few things to make it easier for readers interested in having light treatments, whether at Spa Aeon or a dermatology office.

Nicki explains that the polyphenol responsible for converting UV light to beneficial 648nm focused light is expected to work "because encapsulating the polyphenol with an inert tricalcium phosphate particle makes the product proven to transmit visible red light into the skin."

Presumably this encapsulation is something similar to liposome technology, although this was not revealed in the article.  Here's a picture of a liposome!

Nicki goes on to say that unfortunately, "There is a lot less red LED light exposure from it than a targeted IPL treatment, which has 800 (or more) focused diodes," however I would like to clarify one point for the non-skin professional readers, which is that IPL treatments and LED treatments are very different, and IPL treatments don't even use diodes (they use bulbs!).

Both of these treatments are also very different than laser treatments, despite the terms being used interchangeably here and on other blogs.

You can see the individual diodes
LED treatments are the most gentle light-based version of phototherapy for the skin. The lights (Light Emitting Diodes – juiced up versions of the indicator lights on common electronics, which are used in those applications precisely because they generate very little heat) are warm but not hot, and presuming adequate eye protection, these treatments are virtually zero-risk and can be performed on any skin tone.

IPL treatments are the next step up in terms of results, but also in terms of risks. Individuals with the darkest skin tones must not be treated with these devices. Those with medium skin tones may experience unwanted pigmentation or burns if treatments are not performed correctly. There is moderate discomfort.

Laser treatments differ primarily from LED and IPL treatments in that laser light is collimated, meaning the rays are very nearly parallel – the light sticks together in a precise beam rather than spreading and diffusing across the treatment area. As a result, laser treatments are much more focused and with greater light energy per unit area, these treatments promise some of the most significant results, but come at the greatest expense and with the highest risk and downtime.

It is so exciting to hear that advances in skincare may mean extending the incredible benefits of light treatments into daily life! I can’t wait to hear how the trials on these ingredients turn out.  Stay tuned, and in the mean time visit us at for a variety of light-based modality facial treatments!

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