The evolution and future of LED Light Therapy
In the concluding sentence of their compendium on the clinical benefits of Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT), researchers at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School’s Department of Dermatology noted that… “The day may not be far off when most homes will have a light source (most likely a LED device) to be used for aches, pains, cuts, bruises, joints, and which can also be applied to the hair and even transcranially to the brain.
These researchers went on to state . . . “Advances in design and manufacturing of LLLT devices in the years to come will continue to widen the acceptability and increase adoption of the therapy among the medical profession, physical therapists, and the general public.” However, before discussing the future of Low Level Light Therapy, and more specifically the use of LED devices in aesthetics, it is important to understand the biochemical mechanism of actions of LLLT and the history of its commercialization over the past two decades.
While LASERs and lamp-based light de vices have historically been used to treat acne using a thermal mechanism of action, the LED system utilizes the mechanism of endogenous photodynamic therapy where bacterial porphyrins are produced as part of the normal metabolism of P. acnes and act as natural photosensitizers. When they absorb light, preferably wavelengths in the Blue and Red-light range, the resultant photodynamic reaction produces singlet oxygen species and reactive free radicals, which destroy the bacteria themselves. Essentially, the P. acne bacteria commit suicide.
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