Let’s face it, getting facials at a salon or by an esthetician can really set you back even just going one time. They are incredibly awesome, beneficial and just relaxing however, doing them on a regular basis is out of reach for most people. To combat the price tag of a “spa experience” you might end up mixing up some weird concoction you found online only to make a mess so, doing it regularly is out of the question.

One essential practice I have had in my personal routine to create the same benefits at home is doing photofacials (AKA photo therapy or, Light Therapy). This type of therapy dates to the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. I have had this in my skincare routine for almost 3 years and let me tell you, you can tell a major difference if you stop (I found this out after my first mask bit the dust).

What is a photofacial? There are two different kinds of photofacials; IPL (which we will discuss briefly) and LED (this is the one I do so, we will discuss this kind more in depth). IPL stands for “intense pulsed light” and is performed by a trained technician usually in a medical spa (not at home). This procedure is designed for individuals who have issues with rosacea, broken capillaries, brown spots or other similar skin problems. This procedure comes with a few sides effects like mild skin burns, temporary pain and discomfort (Varano, 2016).

LED stands for “light emitting diode” and is quite different than an IPL. The great thing about LED photofacials is that there are no known side effects and you can conduct them at home (you can still receive more intense version at a medical spa by a trained technician)! Awesome, right? Now, let’s get to the details.

LED Photofacial equipment resembles either a plastic shield that goes over your face (warn your loved ones before wearing, it looks like something from a Halloween movie) or, something like those 3 phase mirrors you have for applying makeup (this is the more expensive version and less mobile). What you will find in your device are LED lights that emit different colors of light; some emit just one single color, 3 colors or 7 colors depending on which mask you have (the more colors the device emits, the more expensive the equipment).

What’s up with all of the colors? Each visible color of light has a different wavelength; depending on the wavelength, you see a certain color (I bet you never thought you would apply some of your high school/college physic course material concerning electromagnetism to your daily skincare routine). Each of those colors brings a benefit to your skin!

My favorite color to utilize on my mask is the red light setting (you can purchase a single-color mask that only emits red light). Red light is for anti-aging! This setting is beneficial for almost all skin types. The red light has a wavelength of 650nm and reaches the derma level of your skin to stimulate blood circulation, collagen production, aid in reducing the appearance of sun spots and hyper pigmentation; think evening skin tone and reducing fine lines and wrinkles (Norek, 2010).

The second most popular single color mask comes in blue light. If you choose to purchase a mask that has multiple colors, it will have this color option. If you have acne prone skin or active acne, you need the blue light setting. Blue light has a wavelength of 463 nm and doesn’t penetrate the skin as deep as the red light. What’s great about this wavelength is that it kills bacteria on the surface of your skin, the main cause of acne! It also aids in calming the skin so, it’s suitable for those individuals whom have sensitive skin or rash irritations (Norek, 2010).

My second favorite setting after the red-light option is the green light setting. Green light has a wavelength of between 515nm and 520nm. This is another anti-aging color! Green light helps brighten your skin, helps prevent signs of aging, and aids in reducing freckling and sun spots. What’s also awesome about this wavelength of light is that it helps calm and relax your skin (Braile, 2014).

Depending on the device you have, the time and intensity is already set and others, you choose the intensity and the amount of time the light is on. Comment below and I will share which devices I have utilized and my exact routine with all of the light options!

Always check the research and references:

Braile, J (2014). Shedding light on the benefits of light therapy. Apira Science. Retrieved from http://www.apirascience.com/blog/shedding-light-on-the-benefits-of-light-therapy/

Gold, M., et.al (2009). Clinical Efficacy of Self-applied Blue Light Therapy for Mild-to-Moderate Facial Acne. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2923954/

Norek, D (2010). Use Blue and Red Light Therapy for Multiple Skin Benefits. Natural News, The world’s top news source on natural health. 

Wunsch, A., et.al (2014). A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. Journal of Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/

Varano, D (2016). IPL/Photo Facial. Medical Cosmetic Enhancements by Drew Varano, MD. Retrieved from https://www.medicalcosmetic.org/IPL

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