A simple bite of a lettuce was the gesture that showed that the powers of the LED light (Light Emitting Diode) not only served to save on the electricity bill. The VegOne project, launched by NASA on the International Space Station (ISS), achieved in 2015 to produce the first vegetable grown entirely in orbit .
American astronaut Scott Kelly and his team were able to create the necessary environmental conditions so that a common roman lettuce could carry out photosynthesis and grow as it would on Earth by irradiating it with red, blue and green LEDs . The resulting salad tasted by space navigators was a milestone as it proved that chromatic photobioestimulation with this technology was capable of provoking cellular activity. Or what is the same, to help the generation and regeneration of tissues.
And the light began to heal
Light therapies have centuries of history. Hippocrates prescribed his patients sunbaths to improve skin pathologies and Egyptians and Hindus practiced chromotherapy (the healing power of colors based on the different wavelengths they emit), without any scientific basis. The appearance of electricity made science interested in it.
And, although the first LED was developed in the USA, in 1962, by the engineer Nick Holonyak, it was not until 1988 when the physicists T. Ohshiro and GR Calderhead, – laser experts and pioneers in describing the LLLT technique – mentioned their possible effects on the cells. The potential of integrated LED light within the LLLT as a medical and aesthetic tool was already glimpsed , however, during the 1990s. Then, phototherapy was dominated by conventional lasers, since the researchers were not able to generate LED light of a specific wavelength (of a certain color) to achieve specific clinical objectives.
In 1998, NASA took a big step to develop stable, powerful LED sources of various colors. The first practical application was that of red and near infrared, which managed to mitigate pain and contribute to the faster healing of wounds and burns. And the astronauts were pioneers in using in orbit a technology that today has multiple applications for the health and beauty of the skin.
Mossum K. Sawhney, of the General Hospital of Massachusetts, and Michael R. Hamblin, of the Harvard Medical School -who have carried out an exhaustive follow-up of the therapies with LLLT in aesthetic dermatology-, explain that “the sources of light non-thermal, coherent (lasers) or non-coherent, filtered lamps or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are used in the therapeutic applications of LLLT, mainly to reduce pain and inflammation, accelerate tissue repair , regenerate teguments [ external organs that protect the body] and nerves and prevent tissue damage “. And in recent years, they continue, it has been shown to be “a promising therapeutic modality for a wide range of dermatological and cosmetic applications”.
Wrinkles, flabbiness, acne, cellulite, stretch marks, spots, even alopecia, have a new tool “easy to use, friendly -not invasive-, with mild side effects”, they add, and with a lot of future since it works well by itself and along with other technologies such as high density focused ultrasound (HIFU), radiofrequency in all its versions, vacumotherapy, microcurrents or avant-garde cosmetic active principles. “With the increasing acceptance and continuous research in the field of photomedicine, it can be concluded that LLLT, among other phototherapeutic modalities, will continue to grow and emerge as a versatile tool in dermatology,” the specialists conclude.
And to erase wrinkles (and more)
It is very common that aesthetics and cosmetics drink from the sources of medicine to offer increasingly effective treatments. The LLLT landed first in the medical centers and beauty salons, where they were applied with a device that was not accessible to the general public. Alone or as a complement to other technologies. Today, the newest in consultation is materialized in an apparatus with the name of Russian dancer -Kleresca SKR-, based on the mechanism of photosynthesis of plants.
It is explained by Mayte Truchuelo, clinical dermatologist of the Pedro Jaén Dermatology Group and of the Vithas Nuestra Señora de América Hospital and member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV): “It interacts with a photoconverter gel that acts as a chromophore that converts light into fluorescent energy capable of triggering a series of reactions in tissues , including the formation of new collagen. ”
By stimulating the skin with light at a specific wavelength (each length corresponds to a color), the cells are reacted in a certain way”, Berta López (educational manager of the beauty equipment firm Foreo)
The novelty, in addition to the use of fluorescence, is in the high percentage of collagen production achieved , up to 400%, an efficiency approved by the FDA, the US body responsible for ensuring the safety of food, medicines, cosmetics and products for human use.
In the last three years, homemade gadgets have appeared that replicate this technology, with shapes and names that take us to a world of science fiction movies. Avant-garde design gadgets that emit LED light, in one or several colors, and that promise to reduce crow’s feet, reshape the facial oval, minimize blemishes, mitigate acne, alleviate hair loss or dissipate cellulite . Everything, in the comfort of your sofa. Many celebrities say they have become unconditional of its virtues for its ease of use and results. Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian or Kate Hudson will champion this luminous crusade
What dermatologists say about home appliances
Is it worth having them in a drawer? Do they really do something? “In general, they can be taken into account in order to continue with the treatments carried out in consultation , seeking to increase the duration of the effect, but in no case should miraculous results be expected,” says Truchuelo. “The devices for home use have lower power and are less effective, and do not allow the biophotonic reaction, responsible for the great stimulation of collagen, as confirmed in studies.”
This is the case of the one published by the market research company Nielsen, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Molise (Campobasso, Italy), which concludes that the skin stimulation is significantly greater in the treatment of photobiomodulation (with fluorescence) than the treatment with conventional LED . The dermatologist Truchuelo believes that it would be necessary to conduct scientific studies in large sectors of the population “to determine exactly the qualitative effectiveness of these gadgets .”
Any contraindication? ” Phototherapy with LEDs in the cabin is absolutely safe and free of discomfort for most people of any age, sex or skin color,” says Carmen Navarro, a precursor beautician in the use of photoluminal therapies in the cabin. For home treatments, Navarro advises “to use glasses, such as those used in laser sessions, as a precaution.”
Although this therapy is practically harmless, specialists such as Truchuelo do not prescribe its use in patients with cancer, diabetes or who are going to undergo surgery, without previously consulting the surgeon ; during pregnancy and lactation; when there is any infection, wound or varicose vessels in the area; if the skin is extremely fragile; if you have a pacemaker or if medicines that produce photosensitivity are used. In addition, it is not indicated in people with photosensitive diseases such as porphyria (a metabolic disease).
THE COLORS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS
The software of these devices will mark their different uses since each wavelength (color) reaches a different depth and acts differently . Seven are chosen for their aesthetic virtues. Carmen Navarro explains the utilities of each one:
– The red light (630-730 nanometers) activates the cell regeneration and metabolism of fibroblasts, generating collagen and elastin, which helps reduce wrinkles, closes pores and prevents aging.
– Blue (440 nm) is the ideal to combat acne, since it initiates a radical of oxygen capable of destroying the bacteria that this pathology generates; in addition, it reduces the size of the pores, the grains produced by stress or hormonal changes; inflammation and redness and has a calming effect on hypersensitive skin.
– Green (525 nm) is very effective in combating hyperpigmentation because it acts on melanocytes – cells that secrete melanin, the pigment in the skin – inhibiting excessive production, helping to soften spots, eliminate melasma and improve vitiligo and dark scars.
– Turquoise (480 nm) activates the intercellular energy flow and has a relaxing and soothing effect on fatigued skins.
– Yellow or amber (585-590 nm) stimulates lymphatic circulation, improves oxygenation and elevates the immune system; It is perfect for regulating sensitive skin, providing luminosity and softness, as well as having firming properties and acting on the nervous system.
– The violet (405-420 nm), a combination of red and blue, favors the elimination of toxins, reduces inflammation, improves healing and is highly recommended after a medical-aesthetic treatment such as Botox, fillers or laser for its anti-inflammatory action.
– The white one (800-830 nm), able to penetrate in the deepest layers, is a great regenerator of the cells very indicated to combine it with treatments of intense rejuvenation.
Application times range from 10 to 30 minutes and safer devices carry a sensor that automatically measures the duration of the treatment