Herworld (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Can flash­ing, coloured lights re­ally help your skin?

Skin­care now comes with bat­ter­ies and USB cords in the form of nifty light ther­apy de­vices for at-home use. We look at whether they work and how. Red, blue or yel­low flash­ing lights? Th­ese de­vices, which use tiny LED (light emit­ting diode) bulbs, are quite lit­er­ally lit. Each colour is said to help the skin in a dif­fer­ent way.

What I know about light on skin: UV light, for ex­am­ple, is all-round bad – dark spots, pre­ma­ture skin age­ing, skin can­cer. Blue light, too, is in­sid­i­ous be­cause we are ex­posed to it round the clock.

So light ther­apy to give you bet­ter skin strikes me as ironic. Is it even based on sci­ence? Dr Den­nis Gross, a skin re­searcher and founder of his epony­mous skin­care brand, says it is.

Dif­fer­ent lights have dif­fer­ent wave­lengths, so they dif­fer in how deeply they can pen­e­trate the skin. The wave­length also tells you how much en­ergy the light has.

Take blue light. It has a very short wave­length, and thus has high en­ergy. It pen­e­trates the hy­po­der­mis, the layer be­fore the blood­stream, and that’s what makes it so harm­ful.

In a light ther­apy de­vice, the wave­length is pre­de­ter­mined. Blue light from an LED de­vice has much less en­ergy. It goes only as far as the epi­der­mis, the top­most layer of skin. At such a wave­length, it can ac­tu­ally help the skin.

Says Dr Paul Chia, a spe­cial­ist in der­ma­tol­ogy and con­sul­tant at Raf­fles Skin & Aes­thet­ics Cen­tre: “It’s proven ef­fec­tive in treat­ing mild to mod­er­ate acne. It kills in­flam­ma­tion-caus­ing bac­te­ria, to calm acne flare­ups.” It is an al­ter­na­tive if you’re sen­si­tive to top­i­cal prod­ucts and oral med­i­ca­tion.

How does it work? The light is ab­sorbed by chro­mophores in skin cells. Sab­rina Tan, founder of lo­cal skin­care brand Skin Inc, says: “Once the chro­mophores are ac­ti­vated, spe­cific skin con­cerns can be ad­dressed.”

So there’s blue for acne, and yel­low to calm sen­si­tive, red skin. Red is said to in­duce col­la­gen growth and re-en­er­gise skin to tackle signs of age­ing. While more re­search needs to be done, Dr Chia says red pen­e­trates the der­mis, where the col­la­gen fi­bres are. Other colours like pur­ple, or­ange and green are com­bi­na­tions of what the pri­mary colours can of­fer.

For a week, I put three LED skin­care gad­gets to the test. I used the blue and yel­low lights of the Skin Inc Op­ti­mizer Voy­age Tri-light++ for my hor­monal acne and red­dened skin. Af­ter five days, my acne looked tamed and my skin less dull.

The Dr Den­nis Gross Spec­tralite Eye­care Pro uses red light to com­bat signs of age­ing around the eyes. Af­ter a week, I no­ticed a re­duc­tion in un­der-eye puffi­ness.

The Foreo UFO Smart Mask Treat­ment is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. The red, green and blue lights work to­gether, tak­ing turns to flash dur­ing the ses­sion, to am­plify the ben­e­fits of the brand’s sheet masks along­side sonic pul­sa­tions, heat and cy­rother­apy. My skin felt hy­drated and it glowed, but whether it was the lights or the masks that worked is a ques­tion mark.

1 Dr Den­nis Gross Spec­tralite Eye­care Pro, $300 Com­bines am­ber, red, deep red and in­frared to emit a solid red light.2 Skin Inc Op­ti­mizer Voy­age TriLight++, $398 Has five lights to choose from: red, 3 blue, yel­low, or­ange and pur­ple.3 Foreo UFO Smart Mask Treat­ment, $408 The red, green and blue work in tan­dem with a mask in ev­ery ses­sion. Go to our dig­i­tal edi­tion to find out how to use each LED gad­get.



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