Recently published in BMJ Open, researchers in Brazil plan to investigate which light wavelengths provide optimal wrinkle reduction.
Skin, the body’s largest organ, is comprised of three, thin layers of protective tissue. The outmost layer, the epidermis, acts as a barrier to water and protects against environmental injury from microbes, harsh chemicals, and the sun’s rays. The middle layer, the dermis, contains blood vessels to keep the skin cells alive. The innermost layer, the subcutis, is a layer of fat that cushions the muscles and bones from bumps and falls.
As people age, the skin loses elastin and collagen causing cause the skin to become looser, thinner, dryer, and more pigmented. As a result, the skin looks increasingly wrinkled and freckled. Although this is a natural process, some personal habits such as sun tanning, alcohol consumption, diet, hydration, and smoking can hasten skin aging.
Fighting Wrinkles and Age Spots
There are a wide variety of over-the-counter and prescription creams containing retinol or peptides, which aim to boost collagen production while protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Three common—but more invasive—skin rejuvenation treatments include microdermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing, and chemical peels, which slough off cells from the top layer of the skin and encourage new skin growth. Additionally, Botox and filler injections can smooth out the appearance of lines and wrinkles without requiring surgery.
Since the skin reacts to light, phototherapy using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with different wavelengths can treat various skin conditions. For example, blue light is often used to treat acne, red light is often used to reduce inflammation (rosacea) and build collagen, and amber light has been shown to be effective at reducing redness.
LED light is non-invasive and non-thermal. It can be used safely, even at home, with no chance of pain or burning. Since LED light does not contain UV light, it will not cause further damage to the skin. Other benefits of LED phototherapy are that they are relatively inexpensive and require no recovery time after treatment.
Comparing red and amber phototherapy for crow’s feet
Although phototherapy is common, there is not much research evaluating which LED light is most effective at reducing wrinkles. A recent research proposal published in BMJ Open explains how researchers from Brazil plan to compare the effects of both red and amber LED light on the volume of periocular wrinkles (crow’s feet).
They plan to conduct a controlled, double-blind, cross-over study will provide participants with 10 phototherapy sessions over a six-month period. Wrinkle and melanin (dark) spots will be measured using VisioFace RD and each participant will fill out a questionnaire to gather data on factors such as sun exposure, smoking and drinking frequency, sleep quality, dietary habits, water intake, and homecare cosmetics use. The results of this clinical trial may confirm the efficaciousness of phototherapy in reducing periocular wrinkles and help to determine optimal wavelength protocols for anti-wrinkle treatments.
Written by Debra A. Kellen, PhD
(1) Mota, L. R., Motta, L. J., da Silva Duarte, I., Horliana, A. C. R. T., da Silva, D. D. F. T., & Pavani, C. (2018). Efficacy of phototherapy to treat facial ageing when using a red versus an amber LED: a protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMJ open, 8(5), e021419. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021419