Seeing this headline, readers might think of lasers or color light therapy. Of course, lasers and intense pulsed light therapy are an important part of medical aesthetics. But phototherapy is not lasers, nor is it intense pulsed light therapy.
“Phototherapy” uses special light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to emit specific wavelengths and intensities of visible light or infrared light to treat skin problems. The treatment range includes acne, fine lines, muscle pain, and more. The principle of phototherapy is to use photons to trigger photomodulation. When the target chromophores absorb photons, a series of biochemical reactions are triggered. This reaction is different from that of lasers or color light therapy. Lasers and color light therapy heat or break down the target chromophores to achieve the effect. For example, laser hair removal, laser freckle removal, etc., are all effects of destroying the target (such as hair follicles or melanin). Therefore, their principles and effects are not the same.
Why can light treat acne? Does getting more sun have the same effect? Of course not. Because specific blue light wavelengths (415nm) can be absorbed by Propionibacterium Acnes, producing singlet oxygen molecules that kill the bacteria. When combined with red light (633nm) during treatment, it also has an anti-inflammatory function, reducing the chance of acne recurrence.
So why can light improve fine lines? Fibroblasts and mitochondria absorb photons of specific wavelengths (633nm, 830nm), which accelerate cellular activity, increase the stimulation of external stimuli, repair damaged skin, increase collagen, and improve fine lines.
What are the side effects of phototherapy? The light intensity in phototherapy is not high, and there are generally no reactions like pain, redness, swelling, etc. that occur with lasers or color light therapy. There is no downtime after phototherapy, and it is suitable for most people, including children and adolescents. Its anti-inflammatory effect can also be used in combination with other treatments to reduce the side effects of other treatments. If the patient is sensitive to light, phototherapy may not be suitable. Some patients may experience headaches, slight skin redness, or dry eyes after phototherapy. But compared with other treatments, these side effects are very mild.
The treatment effect of phototherapy is relatively gentle, so it is best to combine it with other treatments to achieve the best results. Phototherapy is mostly used in cases where drug treatment is not desired or other treatment methods cannot be used. If necessary, it is best to consult a doctor!