LED Light Therapy vs Laser Skin Treatments: What’s the Difference?

A woman receives laser skin resurfacing treatment.

If you’re looking for treatments to help improve the appearance of your skin, sifting through the various procedures and technologies available may be a bit daunting. Are all lasers skin treatments the same? What’s the difference between light therapy and intense pulsed light? What’s the best way to make my skin look younger? Nashville, TN, laser skin rejuvenation specialist Dr. Michael Boggess has the answers to these and all your other questions.

Each of the procedures can address specific skin conditions, but laser skin resurfacing produces the most dramatic results for patients looking to restore firm, youthful-looking skin. In this post, we’ll look at the different treatment types and describe how they work on the skin.

How Do Laser Skin Treatments Work?

Within the category of laser skin treatments are multiple options that use different technologies. What all laser treatments have in common is that they target the treatment area with beams of specific laser wavelengths. Laser skin resurfacing works by triggering the body’s natural healing process by heating the different layers of the skin, depending on the type of laser used.

We primarily use a fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser for skin resurfacing. The introduction of fractional lasers was a game-changing innovation because it significantly reduced the downtime needed after treatment. Ablative, non-fractional, lasers are much more aggressive, removing the skin’s top layer to produce the desired results. But patients need up to 2 weeks of recovery after treatment. A fractional laser creates pinpoint channels in the skin while leaving the surrounding tissue undamaged.

What Is an IPL Treatment?

Even though many people think of IPL procedures as laser treatments, the technology is distinct. IPL, or intense pulsed light, uses broad-spectrum light waves to create controlled thermal injuries. Instead of targeting the skin with the precision of laser wavelengths, pulses of scattered light penetrate the skin without damaging the surface. IPL procedures are best for minimizing rosacea and removing age spots, sun damage, freckles, birthmarks, and spider veins.

What Is LED Light Therapy?

Unlike laser skin resurfacing and IPL procedures, which rely on creating thermal injuries to stimulate the skin’s healing process, light therapy doesn’t produce heat. LED (light-emitting diodes) therapy is a non-invasive treatment designed to accelerate the body’s healing process and reduce inflammation. Even though LED lights have been around for decades, their use for skin enhancement is a relatively recent development.

LED therapy includes blue and red light therapy. Both wavelengths penetrate the skin at different depths and have different therapeutic uses. Blue light therapy is often used to treat acne, based on the belief of skincare experts that it reduces activity in the sebaceous glands, which are small oil-producing glands in the skin.

LED therapy using red light wavelengths can improve scarring and signs of aging, such as wrinkles. Experts believe that red LED light acts on cells in the skin known as fibroblasts, which play a role in the production of collagen.

Even though the use of LED light therapy has shown some promising results, the evidence of its effectiveness is not yet conclusive.

Women and men who want to reverse signs of aging through cosmetic treatments in Nashville come to Youthful Reflections for laser skin treatments with Dr. Boggess. You can contact us using the online form, or call us at (615) 942-8016 to schedule an appointment.

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