Principle of Light Therapy
Light therapy machines produce carefully measured levels of ultraviolet light, which is shone onto your whole body or the area of your skin that needs treatment. You’ll usually have light therapy in a hospital or special clinic or with a home-used device . You’ll need to have it two or three times a week, for a couple of months.
What can it provide?
Light therapy can help with skin conditions where your skin is inflamed, like psoriasis, eczema or vitiligo. The ultraviolet light dampens down your body’s immune response, and reduces the inflammation in your skin. It’s not usually a permanent cure for skin conditions, but aims to reduce symptoms.
How does it work?
Red light (wavelength 630nm-640nm) penetrates human tissue superficially, with approximately 80% of the energy being absorbed in the first 2cm. Red light energy has a significant effect on mitochondrial stimulation, which increases the production of ATP and in turn boosts fibroblast activity. This leads to an increase in cellular turnover, superficial circulation, and an anti-inflammatory emission.
Infrared (IR) light (wavelength 800nm – 900nm) energy penetrates tissue at a greater depth than the Blue and Red light. Approximately 50% penetrates to 8cm and decreases to less than 1% at 20cm (NASA study). Infrared energy is known to heat tissue and its effects are well documented for therapeutic pain management. For cosmetic applications, IR stimulates the NaK+ pump which increases cell membrane permeability; facilitating equilibrium of cellular pH, while increasing nutritional absorption and elimination of waste byproducts.
Biological effects such as an increase in collagen bundles and elastin fibers are increased when Red and Infrared energy is used in conjunction with each other. However, the two wavelengths should never be used simultaneously due to possible wavelength interference.
Tissues are affected differently by pulsing the wavelengths between 10 Hz – 10,000 Hz. Slow pulses reduce nerve sensitivity by decreasing the production of Brinikin lucitrin necessary in the transmission of pain signals. Mid range pulses stimulate endorphin production while intense pulses stimulate mitosis and cellular repair. Each program incorporates multiple pulse frequencies including continuous wave which are designed for optimum tissue response for each pre-set indication.
Many skin care products contain reflective agents and if they are applied to the skin prior to a light therapy treatment, they can actually decrease the effectiveness of the treatment. It is important to apply the various wavelengths of light to clean, dry skin.