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What Is LED?

The Difference Between LED and IPL Photo Facials

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LED is a painless, even relaxing skin-care treatment that plumps up aging skin by boosting collagen production and treats mild to moderate acne. LED treatments are sometimes also called LED light therapy, LED red light, LED blue light, or by the name of the manufacturer, such as Dermawave or Revitalight.

LED stands for light-emitting-diodes. First developed by NASA, LED works by sending energy-producing packets of light into the deeper layers of the skin. Red light LED stimulates the fibroblasts that produce collagen, which gives young skin its plump look. Professional LED machines can also minimize fine lines and wrinkles, treat sun-damage and stretch marks, and reduce redness after more aggressive IPL or laser treatments. The results won’t be as dramatic as plastic surgery, IPL or laser, but it’s a gentler, more natural, less expensive way to go.

Blue light LED works by killing the bacteria deep in the skin that is responsible for acne.

Professional LED treatments are given at select day spas, usually those with a serious focus on skin care. LED light therapy can be a stand-alone treatment or part of a facial. They are given by an esthetician and usually cost somewhere between $75 to $125 a treatment.

The recommended professional LED protocol is six treatments a week or two apart, followed by a maintenance treatment every month or two. I've done red light LED and it works, giving you plumper, firmer skin and a more youthful look. Professional LED treatments also help boost my mood during long, dark winters.

LED treatments are painless, cool and relaxing, and unlike IPL or laser treatments, carry no risk of burning. An IPL treatment delivers a bright blast of light at very high energy levels through a hand-held device, and can be uncomfortable, even painful.

Depending on the type of LED machine the spa has, it can take anywhere from five minutes to thirty minutes. Some machines have a small head (about three inches wide) that has to be held in place on the skin for a few minutes before moving on to the next spot. These treatments take longer. Other machine have a seven-inch square that the therapist holds over your face in three sections, so the treatment is done much faster.

Unlike IPL, LED treatments don't generate any heat. They're even relaxing. Your eyes can't be hurt by LED so don't have to be covered.

LED treatments are a good choice for people who want to boost collagen or treat acne. If you want to treat brown spots, broken capillaries, spider veins, and diffused facial redness, you are better off getting IPL treatment.

Both LED and IPL work best in conjunction with a regular skin care routine that you develop with your esthetician.

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