Light therapy is a popular trend. Celebrities are touting it, clients are demanding it, and if you’re in the skin care business, then you know you need it. While selecting a new LED device can seem daunting, a little advance research will ensure satisfaction for you, glowing testimonials from clients, and a fast return on your LED purchase. Here are the seven most important questions to ask prior to making your decision.
HANDHELD, MASK, OR PANEL STYLE – WHICH IS FOR ME?
Like all decisions, there are pros and cons to every choice. However, for efficacy and efficiency, skin care professionals will be best served by choosing a full-face panel style LED device. Panels provide greater coverage, allowing the entire area to benefit simultaneously, while leaving you free to work on other important business. Versatile, shape-taking panels can be contoured to treat the face, neck and décolleté, and other body parts. Face masks are less practical as they are limited to treating the face only. Clients may occasionally complain of feeling claustrophobic and may not like the temporary indentations which masks can leave on the skin. Often considered as entry-level, handheld devices are best reserved for home use, spot treatment, and travel and are ideally suited for retailing to clients for maintenance between appointments.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO SPEND?
While panel devices are generally more expensive than handhelds or masks, a quality panel-style LED device will be more efficient, more versatile, and more affordable in the long run. Consider investing in a multi-functional machine that will pay for itself quickly and is capable of treating all your acne and antiaging cases. With advances in technology, modern LED machines have dispensed with bulky stands, reducing clutter and cost.
WHAT WAVELENGTHS (COLORS) DO I NEED?
Humans perceive wavelengths as colors. When it comes to skin care, the most effective wavelengths are blue, red, and near-infrared. No other wavelengths are more broadly supported in the scientific community. Blue has been proven to be effective in killing acne-causing bacteria. However, blue is a shallow reaching wavelength, so it is not used for much more than the treatment of acne. Red and near-infrared wavelengths reach cells from the epidermis to the dermal layer and beyond and are ideal for treating skin and aging conditions whose root cause is located in the dermis. Shallow reaching wavelengths, such as yellow, green, and amber, are not recommended, as they cannot reach the target cells located deep in the dermal layer and are not supported by rigorous scientific research.
WHAT ABOUT POWER?
When it comes to light therapy, the effectiveness of a device is measured by how much energy is available for absorption by the cells, not how much power the device emits. After all, if the emitted energy is not absorbed, then there will be no change at the cellular level and no visible improvement, resulting in disappointment for you and your clients. Cells are only capable of absorbing a certain amount of energy in a given period and need a certain amount of time to absorb enough energy for an observable and favorable change. Laws of optical physics have established that the closer the light device is positioned to the skin the more energy is absorbed. For maximum results, look for devices that can be adjusted so that the distance from the light source and the entire face is consistent.
WHAT ABOUT FDA CREDENTIALS?
Put your concerns at ease by selecting a machine which is FDA-cleared, so at least you know that it has been reviewed for efficacy and safety by the agency. Otherwise, you really have no way to confirm what you are actually getting. Ask the manufacturer to provide proof of exactly what the device is cleared to treat. For example, if you want to treat wrinkles, then selecting a device that is only indicated to treat pain will not be the best option for you or your antiaging clients. Also, don’t be fooled –FDA-registered does not mean that the device has been reviewed for efficacy or safety or awarded any treatment clearances.
HOW WILL I MARKET MY NEW LED SERVICES?
Marketing is everything, and with good planning, the right LED device can sometimes pay for itself even before it arrives. Ask the manufacturer about post-sales support and marketing tools. If you’re not satisfied with the response, move on. Look for a manufacturer with well-trained specialists who are committed to your clinical and commercial success, can readily answer your questions, and who offer extensive and ongoing marketing and educational support and tools. The sale should mark the beginning of a valuable and treasured relationship, not the end.
Pam Cushing is a registered nurse with over 35 years of experience in emergency medicine. She has worked in the field of aesthetics for over 15 years, full-time for the last five years. Cushing holds a degree at the master’s level, with commendation, as well as a post-graduate diploma in aesthetic medicine, with merit. She is an independent nurse prescriber in the United Kingdom. Cushing is a consultant educator for a couple of companies educating in injectables, skin resurfacing and chemical peel, microneedling, and LED. She thrives on being able to educate, motivate, and encourage others to grow and develop professionally. She is passionate about skin and the benefits of aesthetics in improving the confidence and quality of lives. Cushing believes our key role is to educate the client on appropriate treatment modalities with the focus on maintaining skin health.