Light is one of the most abundant energies on the planet. Besides being vital for photosynthesis and human vision, light exposure also provides several benefits to humans. Sunlight exposure is believed to help regulate mood and specific behaviors. Since a few years ago, light therapy or phototherapy has been used to treat several skin conditions.
If you want to know the specific skin conditions phototherapy may help treat, continue reading this article.
What Is Phototherapy?
Phototherapy is known for many names such as light therapy, heliotherapy, or light-emitting diode (LED) therapy. This procedure uses different types of light to generate the benefits of sunlight exposure. Most treatment centers use artificial sources to produce ultraviolet (UV) light to encourage the body’s processes in fighting inflammation, encouraging skin restoration, and treating other skin conditions after several sessions.
Clinics use different types of artificial and natural light to administer phototherapy to clients. These may include:
- LED light, used primarily in skin care treatment by utilizing different wavelengths, including red and blue.
- Narrowband Ultraviolet B (UVB) light
- Psoralen Ultraviolet A (PUVA), which uses a plant-based substance called psoralen to help the body absorb UVA light
- Fluorescent light bulbs
- Halogen lights
You may require different types of light therapy depending on your specific skin conditions. Most medical skin conditions use UV light while most cosmetic procedures use LED light to administer treatment.
Cosmetic Benefits Of Phototherapy
LED therapy is used in various cosmetic procedures, especially in treating acne and other cosmetic skin issues. Red light is often used for anti-aging while blue is primarily for acne treatment. Led light doesn’t contain ultraviolet rays and can be absorbed quickly by the skin.
Laser treatment is often used to stop acne in its tracks. Blue and red light and intense pulsed light (IPL) may help reduce sebum production and prevent dead skin cells from clogging pores. But as a rule of thumb, find more information on how phototherapy may help treat acne.
When administered in several sessions, an individual may experience the following aesthetic benefits on the skin:
- Smoothens out fine lines
- Reduces the appearance of wrinkles and age spots
- Minimizes inflammation
- Improves acne scars
- Facilitates the skin restoration process
- Promotes circulation
- Stimulates collagen production
- Brightens skin tone
As you may have noticed, the aesthetic benefits of phototherapy are primarily to rejuvenate the skin, hasten the healing process, and fight the signs of skin aging. A dermatologist may often use light therapy to complement your skincare products or prescribe a new set of skincare lines altogether.
Which Skin Conditions May Be Treated With Phototherapy?
In the 1990s, members of the United States Naval Special Warfare combat forces or Navy SEALs used light therapy to help facilitate faster wound healing and treating injuries. Since then, the scientific world has expanded the research to include the treatment of various skin conditions.
Below are a few examples of skin problems that light therapy may help treat:
A sufferer will lose skin color in some areas, resulting in patchy and uneven skin color as the affected area turns white. For vitiligo, Ultraviolet B (UVB) and PUVA may be administered.
- Mycosis fungoides
This severe skin condition is a rare form of skin lymphoma that triggers skin nodules and plaques. Apart from chemotherapy, UVA and UVB may be administered to help treat a patient.
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis
A common skin problem, eczema causes skin inflammation and rashes. UVB light is the most common treatment for eczema.
Red, itchy, and scaly patches are the hallmark signs of psoriasis. The use of UVA and UVB light on persons with psoriasis is said to help regulate the immune system and calm the skin to reduce inflammation and itchiness.
Painless patches on the skin could mean an individual has this skin condition. Physicians may recommend the use of UV light in severe conditions of morphea.
This blood disorder turns a sufferer yellow because of a bile pigment called bilirubin. Medical practitioners use blue-green light rays instead of ultraviolet light to treat this condition in babies.
A rare autoimmune disease, scleroderma causes extra collagen production, which leads skin tissues to thicken. A UVA light treatment is often used to loosen hardened skin and ease skin itching.
Apart from these skin conditions, light therapy may also help ease mental health issues such as depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Phototherapy is also said to be effective in managing sleep problems.
Phototherapy can be used in cosmetic and medical applications, particularly in wound healing, minimizing inflammation, and relieving itchiness. Led light therapy is available for clinical and home use, but it’s not without minimal risks.
Before embarking on light therapy, it’s always recommended to discuss with a healthcare professional to learn more about the advantages and drawbacks of this type of treatment