Bring on the Light, Baby

Today is Father’s Day in many countries and I made my annual journey to visit my Dad. I told him that as a Mother of three, I understand… I understand that he wasn’t a perfect father. There were times when bad days would overwhelm the good. But, I know that he did the very best he could with the emotional tools available to him. I know that he loved us. I thanked him for being there. I never felt fatherless.  I thanked him for giving up some of his dreams, so that ours could come true. Then, I placed a flower on his stone and wished that I had had the wisdom and maturity to tell him while he was still alive. I Love you, Dad. Here’s a link to a great Father’s Day song Thanks to all the Dads reading this. Your kids really do appreciate all you do.
So we continue with my thoughts on treating on sun damage. This week. we’ll chat a bit about low level light or laser treatments (LLL) This is fairly new science that is showing great potential. Unfortunately we’re just not there yet in proving it’s effectiveness. The difference between these light/ laser treatments and those traditionally used, is that the intensity of light energy is low. Results rely on a chemical reaction in the body, much like photosynthesis in a plant, rather than a heat / tissue reaction required in most medical lasers. The upside is that there are no side effects. If the office or spa were you are being treated is using a medical LLL device, there will be no burning, scarring, time off work and darkening of the skin. The downside is that the treatment needs to have a certain dose in order to be effective. The wavelength of light needs to be correct. It needs to be strong enough and left on the skin long enough in order to achieve the desired effect. Just like a medication taken by mouth. The other downside is that not all devices have gone through approval in the countries in which they treat patients. This means some devices are excellent with some scientific backing. Others are little more than a lightbulb in a pretty fixture.
Let’s continue with the assumption that you’ve found a spa or medical office with a good LLL device. Your treatment will need to be as frequent as daily, but at least once per week for a period of several weeks. Again, this is because the LLL therapy is a chemical reaction. You simply sit in a chair while a booth or frame of lights are positioned over your face, hands or chest. The technician will flip on the lights and voila. After 6 – 12 weeks, you should see even skin tone. Remember, this is not a magic wand that will cause everything to disappear, the studies just don’t back it up. But, even if scientists remain skeptical, there are plenty of testimonials to say that these devices work well. Many clients are thrilled with the results and find the treatments easy and relaxing. If you chose this route, look for higher quality devices. On occasion you may see LED advertised. This is basically useless in telling you anything more than the fact that the device emits light. Ask for more information. There is little regulation, so you are your own on this as far as the government is concerned.
There are two companies that seem to have the testimonials on their side. Gentlewaves has been approved by FDA (United States) as safe for treatment of aged skin. Remember safe and effective are two different things. The FDA is simply saying that in the right hands, this machine is safe for use.  Another company that is developing LLL devices for not only sun damaged skin but, also, for surgical wound healing and acne treatments is Photo Therapeutics Ltd. The device they have developed is called OmniluxThose who have used both of these devices seem to be positive about the results. 

So, no harm, no foul. If this option appeals to you, continue wearing sunscreen and give it a try. Because this is newer science, I will let you know what the studies say as they come in. Next week, I’ll talk about the big guns; Broad Band Light devices and Lasers.

Until then…

Due to the question of effectiveness,
I give LLL devices a rating of: Milk Chocolate