LED technology has improved dramatically in recent years and, consequently, devices are more affordable and more versatile than ever. While selecting the appropriate machine may seem overwhelming, it does not have to be. There are well-established and simple guidelines to ensure an informed decision. A well-chosen device will yield a quick return on investment, optimize client outcomes, increase referrals, and enhance bottom line revenue through increased services and sales. To begin, choose a device that is FDA-cleared. This means that the device has been rigorously reviewed for both efficacy and safety. The cleared indications-for-use should be relevant to the conditions to address.
Look for an efficient, multipurpose device. Just like smartphones, LED devices have become multifunctional, lightweight, and streamlined. Whether deciding between a panel-style or a handheld LED, modern devices are designed for efficiency and can address a variety of conditions with a single machine, thereby minimizing investment and requiring minimal storage space.
When selecting an LED device, there are several factors to consider which impact the cell’s ability to absorb the emitted energy.
Choose a device emitting evidence-based wavelengths – blue, red, and near-infrared. These wavelengths have been widely shown to increase ATP production in cells, which are compromised due to aging, illness, disease, or just poor lifestyle choices. Blue addresses acne issues, while red and near-infrared decrease inflammation and increase micro-circulation to bring more oxygen and nutrients to the area. In aesthetics, red and near-infrared are particularly desirable for their ability to stimulate fibroblast activity and boost collagen and elastin production. No other wavelengths are more broadly supported in credible scientific research.
The efficacy of a light therapy session depends on the amount of energy absorbed by the cells. Therefore, it is prudent to choose an LED array system that can contour to the treatment area for optimal energy absorption. Laws of optical physics have established that the closer the light device is positioned to the skin, the more energy is absorbed. A flexible panel device with a large treatment area has the distinct advantage over rigid light delivery systems, where the distance between the light source and skin is difficult to keep constant, leading to inconsistent light absorption. While handheld LEDs are ideal for spot treatment and are normally used directly on the skin, they can lack efficiency due to the small treatment area.
It is well known that the beneficial effects resulting from LED therapy require a specific energy delivery. The correct parameters will result in processes known to promote anti-aging, enhance wound healing, reduce pain, and reduce acne, as well as other clinical benefits. The acceptable range of energy delivery for an effective LED device is measured in joules and should be in the range of two to 12 joules per square centimeter.
Pulsing adds a higher level of sophistication and effectiveness to an LED device and its importance is often overlooked. Delivering the light energy in a pulsed manner has been shown in clinical literature to enhance the cell’s ability to absorb more energy over the treatment period.
Used as a treatment enhancing add-on or as a stand-alone treatment, LED offers something for every aesthetic practitioner, massage therapist, and client alike.