Unlike potentially dangerous light exposure from tanning beds, properly administered light therapy can actually be good for your health. Tanning lamps may give you a bronzed look, but they also cause premature aging, wrinkles, brown spots, and tough, leathery skin. Phototherapy (light therapy) and photo rejuvenation (light-based anti-aging) help with a broad range of problems, including acne, wrinkles, and depression. Whether it’s a desktop lamp to lift your mood in the depths of winter or a hand-held wand at the dermatologist’s office, it may be time for you to “see the light”!
Numerous skincare benefits
I’ve administered light treatments on dehydrated, aging skin, and instantly witnessed amazing improvements. How does it work? Similar to laser treatments, the procedure involves bright bursts of light pulsated onto the face. This process is fast, pain-free, and effective. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments are available at media-spas as well in some dermatology practices.
Beyond beauty, phototherapy is effective in treating eczema, according to the National Eczema Association. It also reduces redness, itching, increases vitamin D production, and fights bacteria. Got tired, puffy, aggravated skin? Light therapy has an anti-inflammatory effect and after just a few sessions, skin looks radiant, plump, and rejuvenated.
Light therapy reduces redness, and shrinks acne and swelling from picking at breakouts. Studies have shown IPL to be effective at evening out pigmentation, pore reduction, and reducing the appearance of broken blood vessels. When it comes to acne, light therapy reduces the bacteria found in your oil glands. The heat from these treatments also causes oil glands to shrink, which lowers your oil production. Less oily, smoother skin is attainable after 4-6 treatments. As with any procedure, ask around and read up on whoever is administering light therapy before you try it out.
Lifts your spirits
I lived in New England for several years and the long, grey, cold months finally got to me. While I routinely got away for a few days of sunshine and warmer climates every winter, I needed some help with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I invested in a desktop lightbox after consulting with my Western doctor, and it helped my symptoms a great deal.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression caused by a lack of daylight exposure, starting in the Fall and continuing through the winter months. People that are otherwise healthy are affected by SAD and may not even know it; it sometimes just feels like you’re in a bad mood, tired, or feeling stuck. Symptoms include increased sadness, higher irritability, increased anxiety, and appetite modifications. For example, you may crave more carbs, sweets, and comfort foods when experiencing SAD. This leads to weight gain and more depression; it’s a vicious cycle, but some light therapy can help.
Light therapy for mood improvement involves sitting in front of a box that emits bright light similar to natural daylight. Studies have shown that light therapy works in 80% of all SAD. cases when used for just thirty minutes a day.
The lightbox I used also had an ionic option that made the air smell as a thunderstorm had just passed. I always felt calm, refreshed, and more energetic after sitting with my SAD light. They’re available online starting at around $30 and are portable, making them easy to use at work and home.
What else is light therapy used for?
In addition to treating skin disorders and SAD, light therapy is used to combat general depression, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorders, PMS, ADHA, and even jet lag. It’s also used as a safe alternative to antidepressants during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
While there’s no substitute for fresh air, exposure to natural daylight, exercise, and a healthy, well-balanced diet, light therapy does come in handy. If you’re feeling down in the dumps or your skin is acting up, consider adding light therapy to your daily routine.