LED Light therapies reduce inflammation and bacteria, speeding up healing processes and clearing severe acne break-outs.

Light therapies can greatly enhance the appearance of skin and are often used to help control acne, speed up healing processes, and to treat fine lines and wrinkles. Different light wavelengths must be used to accomplish each of these treatment goals, so Reflections has invested in several different systems, offering the best blue, yellow, and red light therapies.

What are the Different Types of Light Therapy? What Does Each Type Do Best?

As mentioned above, Reflections has invested in several types of light therapies, to ensure we are able to offer patients the best treatment options. Each device has its own strengths and weaknesses, but having this collection of treatment options available allows us to pick the right device for each patient.

  • Blu-U Blue Light works best in combination with Levulan as PhotoDynamic Therapy, the preferred treatment for pre-cancerous Actinic Keratosis and treatment-resistant acne
  • CureLight iClearXL 100 Near Infrared offers two distinct light wavelengths for killing p. acnes bacteria, rejuvenating the skin, and speeding up recovery from surgery and wound healing times
  • GentleWaves LED Photomodulation works to induce collagen production within the skin, for natural rejuvenation of the skin from the inside out.

Blu-U Blue Light PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT)

Blu-U clears even the most severe acne.

Blue light therapy was one of the first light-based therapies for acne treatment. Blue light, with a wavelength 405-420nm, works by killing the acne-causing bacteria, P. acnes, and is used to treat inflammatory acne vulgaris that has not responded to other acne therapies.

Levulan® Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) uses a topical agent called Levulan Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) in combination with specialized lasers and light sources in the treatment of moderate to severe acne, including cystic acne. PDT treatments inactivate the bacteria that trigger acne, exfoliate the skin to unclog pores, and decrease the activity of overactive sebaceous glands in the skin. These three mechanisms of action provide long-lasting effects in the majority of acne patients. It is an excellent alternative to the drug Accutane, as PDT does not cause any systemic effects.

Blu-U PDT results for acneThe results of Blue Light therapy alone are further enhanced with the addition of Levulan (Aminolevulinic acid) to the treatment. Levulan Photodynamic therapy (PDT) or ALA PDT provides more long-term acne reduction and is the preferred treatment modality for patients with severe, cystic acne. PhotoDynamic Therapy with the Blu-U system has been cleared by the FDA as a safe and effective procedure. This particular wavelength of blue light does not penetrate very deeply into the skin (slightly over 2mm depth), so that the treatment offers effective and complete treatment of the top layers of the skin, without disrupting deeper layers of the skin which don’t require treatment for acne or actinic keratosis.

A recent study comparing Blu-U PDT with topical 1% clindamycin (an antibacterial cream often prescribed to acne patients), showed that Blu-U PDT was more effective at reducing inflammatory acne vulgaris lesions3 than this very popular topical prescription medication.

Our experience with PDT for acne treatment has been one of amazing results. Many patients who have tried several prescription acne medications, including spironolactone and Accutane, have found quick and long-lasting clearance of their acne with blue light PDT.

Before & After Photos

PDT is also used to reverse signs of sun damage and aging, such as fine lines, facial veins, and redness, sunspots, and irregular skin texture. Chronic skin conditions such as rosacea and sebaceous hyperplasia can also be treated with PDT as it reduces both facial redness and pore size. The FDA has approved this procedure for the treatment of pre-cancerous lesions named actinic keratoses.

Patients typically have a series of three treatments spaced two to four weeks apart.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Levulan?

It is a 20 percent solution of Aminolevulinic acid(ALA), a natural substance found throughout the human body. It is a precursor for hemoglobin synthesis. In the body, ALA is quickly synthesized into protoporphyrin IX, a photo-sensitizer that increases the skin’s reaction to the light therapy 4.

What is treatment like?

Skin should be free of all makeup, sunscreen, and moisturizers. Antiviral prophylaxis is initiated in patients with a history of recurrent cold sores. An acetone scrub or microdermabrasion is done. The Levulan, which is a clear painless solution, is applied to the skin and left on for 30 to 60 minutes. It is absorbed by active cells, like sebaceous glands. It is washed off with soap and water.

Next, skin is exposed to a specific wavelength of light with either the Blu-U, iClearXL, Vbeam laser, IPL, or GentleWaves. This takes about eight to 15 minutes. At times, multiple lasers or light sources are sequentially used to activate the Levulan, which has been absorbed under the skin by the sebaceous glands. This combined interaction of the Levulan solution and the laser or light is what gives rise to the term “photodynamic therapy.”

Sunblock is applied and a hat is worn out of the office. Sun exposure needs to be avoided for 48 hours after treatment. If possible, patients should remain indoors for the first 24 hours after treatment. A minimum of SPF 40 sunblock should be worn for one week.

Skin may become red with mild swelling and peeling for three to seven days. Three to five treatments are recommended at two to four week intervals.

What will I look like afterwards and is downtime required?

Following PDT, the face can appear red, followed by some flaking and peeling for several days. Rarely, some patients have a noticeable response to PDT, such as redness of their skin, or even temporary swelling of the lips and around your eyes for a few days after the treatment. Darker, pigmented patches or sunspots can temporarily darken, and then peel off over a week or so, leaving normal skin.

CureLight iClearXL 100 Near Infrared (NIR)

iClearXL is an advanced aesthetic device capable of delivering two groups of wavelengths, one for the treatment of mild inflammatory acne (405-420 nm) and the other for skin rejuvenation and wound healing (Near Infrared (NIR)850-900nm). Both treatments are safe, painless and require no downtime.

How Does iClearXL Rejuvenate the Skin?

The iClearXL dual wavelength device is commonly used during the recovery period from Portrait PSR or Erbium laser treatments, such as the Fraxel Re:Pair Dual Laser to reduce downtime and recovery. However, iClearXL can also be combined with a series of Sapphire Photo Abrasion treatments to enhance results.

This treatment uses the Near Infrared (NIR) 850-900nm wavelengths to stimulate collagen and 405-420nm wavelength reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines, creating a larger collagen repair response within the skin. These wavelengths of light enhance blood circulation leading to better cellular oxygenation, improved wound healing, and faster recovery after laser treatments.

How Does iClearXL Clear Acne Break-Outs?

Blue light therapy is wonderful for teens, adolescents, and college students who come in regularly for these short, painless, no downtime treatments.

Many teenagers and college students struggle to follow the strict regimen that prescription medications for acne require to work properly. LED light therapy offers an easy solution that doesn’t require daily commitment to see results. iClearXL offers high-intensity plasma pure blue voilet light for the fast, effective, and safe treatment of inflammatory acne. This UV free treatment covers the entire face, for fast treatment times. As the first-ever FDA-Cleared technology to treat inflammatory acne vulgaris, the iClearXL was awarded the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award.

What is Treatment with iClearXL Like?

iClearXL treatments are easy and gentle. Patients shouldn’t expect to feel anything during their treatment. This light therapy has a calming effect on skin, so patients should expect no downtime, and most patients feel their skin looks less red and inflamed immediately after treatment than before.
Your eyes will be protected from the blue light with shields during the treatment session, making this the perfect time to listen to music or catch up on podcasts.

How many iClearXL Treatments Will I Need for Acne?

Each session with iClearXL for acne lasts 30 minutes. This treatment uses the 405-420nm pure plasma blue violet wavelengths to kill acne bacteria.
A treatment series lasting 4 to 8 weeks is typically recommended, with 2 sessions per week. Once your acne is well-controlled with iClearXL, we typically recommend you maintain your results with once-a-month treatments.

How Many iClearXL Treatments Will I Need for Skin Rejuvenation?

Each session with iClearXL for skin rejuvenation lasts 15 minutes. A treatment series lasting 4 weeks is typically recommended, with 1-3 sessions per week.

What Treatment Protocol is Used for Speeding Up Recovery Times with iClearXL?

Six daily treatments with iClearXL can reduce the erythema (redness and swelling) following an intense laser skin resurfacing treatment from 21 days to 8-10 days, when treatment with iClearXL is started 2 days post-laser. Most of our lasers don’t have a 21-day downtime, so fewer iClearXL treatments are needed, and the recovery time is generally cut down to 3-4 days by adding in this light therapy.
iClearXL can also be beneficial post-surgery, especially when blood supply is vital to healing. In that case, a treatment protocol of 3-5 sessions per week for 2 weeks following surgery is most beneficial.

GentleWaves LED Photomodulation

Quick and totally painless, the GentleWaves LED system stimulates collagen production and improves the tone and texture of the skin. The device uses specially coded light emitting diodes to modulate the activity of cells in the skin. GentleWaves is great for reducing fine lines and wrinkles and for improving skin elasticity. It is often combined with other laser treatments for maximum effectiveness. It is a great treatment for fine lines and wrinkles, textural abnormalities including roughness, reducing post treatment redness from other laser treatments, anti-aging, and preventative care.

Benefits

  • Remarkably safe and effective for all skin types
  • Noninvasive, non-ablative, and non-thermal so there’s no injury to the skin surface
  • Fast and convenient: Takes less than 5 minutes
  • Treats large areas such as the entire face or chest
  • Compatible with other skin rejuvenation techniques

How does GentleWaves LED Photomodulation work?

GentleWaves is the first device to break the code of LED Photomodulation technology. The key to the science behind GentleWaves lies in using gentle light energy at specifically selected proprietary codes for optimum effectiveness. The modulated light is then delivered to target treatment areas by sophisticated pulsed technology. GentleWaves is not only able to stimulate the body to produce collagen but can reduce the level of the enzyme in the body that breaks collagen down.

What is the treatment like and is downtime required?

The GentleWaves treatment is completely painless, can be performed in minutes and you can return to your normal activities immediately afterwards. There will be no redness or peeling. A series of once weekly treatments for eight weeks is advised, followed by maintenance.

Call our office 732.356.1666 to schedule your complimentary skin consultation with one of our dedicated Cosmetic Physicians. Be on your way to clear, glowing skin today!

Sources:

1. C. A. Mortona*, R. D. Scholefieldb, C. Whitehurstc & J. Birchc; An open study to determine the efficacy of blue light in the treatment of mild to moderate acne; Journal of Dermatological Treatment; Volume 16, Issue 4, 2005
2. Daniel R. Opel, MD,a Erika Hagstrom, MD, MA,b Aaron K. Pace, MD,a Krisanne Sisto, MD,a Stefanie A. Hirano-Ali, MD,c Shraddha Desai, MD,a and James Swan, MDa; Light-emitting Diodes: A Brief Review and Clinical Experience; J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015 Jun; 8(6): 36–44.
3. Gold MH, Rao J, Goldman MP, Bridges TM, Bradshaw VL, Boring MM, Guider AN,Journal of Drugs in Dermatology; 2005 Jan-Feb; 4(1):64-70.
4. Levulan Kerastick FDA Clearance