Are anti-aging lights really effective?

Do you want to get old? No one wants to get old and wrinkly for sure. No one wants to look in the mirror and see white hair, liver spots and crow’s feet on them. This is why people try to find ways to have eternal youth. Even Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer tried to search for the Fountain of Youth.

Ponce de Leon might not have succeeded in looking for the Fountain of Youth but people still continue to look for the mythical solution to our aging problems. Now, instead of finding the “real” Fountain of Youth, people invest in lotions, creams, pills and other anti-aging products. The hunger to become young once more will forever be a huge business. In fact, by 2015, the sale of anti-aging products is predicted to hit about $290 billion.

One of the topmost remedy against anti-aging is light therapy. It is a treatment that will make you look younger after getting exposed to beams of light. How does it exactly work? As our skin gets exposed to sun and pollution plus the aging process, our collagen, a protein that maintains our healthy and young-looking skin, gets destroyed. Light therapy basically uses concentrated beams of light to tunnel through the skin. The light stimulates natural collagen production.

There are two main types of anti-aging light therapy. One is photo-dynamic therapy. It is administered by a physician. The other one is the hand-held anti-aging lights therapy. Consumers can just readily buy the lights. Still, the question remains: Do any of these types actually work or are they just advertised by smooth-talking sales representatives?

Going for the Photo-dynamic and Laser Therapy

For many years, physicians have used photo-dynamic light therapy to cure different illnesses including brain cancer. Photo-dynamic light therapy uses light-sensitive drugs. The drugs produce disease-killing oxygen molecules after getting activated by a very high-intensity light source. Dermatologists also used photo-dynamic light therapy for skin cancer, acne and rosacea.

At the present day, doctors use photo-dynamic light therapy to turn on oxygen molecules in aging skin. This ultimately aids the skin revitalize itself. Twenty-five people who had sun-damaged skin were treated with photo-dynamic light therapy by the researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. Dr. Jeffrey S. Orringer along with his other co-researchers applied a photo-sensitive medication called 5-ALA to the damaged skin. Before the damaged skin was treated with a laser, the medication was left on the skin for 3 hours. After six months, the researchers got tissue samples of the patients’ skin. It was discovered that there was an appearance of high levels of a protein that plays a significant role in new skin cells’ growth and development. It was also noted that the skin’s outer layer became thicker. The patients even had increased levels of enzymes and other collagen production associated compounds. Physicians said that the utilization of the photosensitive medication with the laser created more benefits for the skin than laser therapy alone.

A registered nurse in Tennessee underwent Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing, a type of light therapy. The treatment uses a carbon dioxide laser. This delivers thousands of beams of light to bore through the skin’s outer layer. The light destroyed the aged skin cells, while stimulating the body to produce collagen. The result left the nurse with fresher and younger-looking skin.

Why do you need to go to the doctor and spend a lot just to look and feel younger when you can do it at home? Actually, many companies advertise hand-held Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights as an inexpensive and natural way to look younger without having to undergo surgery.

With do-it-yourself anti-aging lights, the infrared light lamps actually stimulate cell activity, thus your skin looks younger than ever.

Light therapy can definitely nurture, revitalize and repair damaged skin. Dr. Harry Whelan, from the Medical College of Wisconsin, says LED lights were first invented by NASA scientists who studied ways to grow plants in space. Researchers then found out that LED lights stimulated cell growth if used in healing wounds and treating brain tumors. If cells are stressed, they can repair much faster when LED lights are applied. If used as anti-aging lights, those lights direct infrared light at the skin to even out wrinkles and enhance texture. The devices are expensive reaching up to $400. Still, there is not much evidence that hand-held LED lights bought at local big box stores can make you appear younger.

Good Housekeeping Research Institute conducted a study in 2009 that discussed how these scaled-down versions of what dermatologists originally used have insignificant effects on wrinkles. Good Housekeeping researched on five of the top brands. Within six weeks, volunteers used the devices according to the manufacturers’ instruction. The study discovered that with some exceptions, fine lines and wrinkles were still noticeable. Only two out of the five enhanced skin slightly. Although consumers may get some benefits from hand-held LED devices, the devices are costly and time consuming to employ. It would even be better to just use a cheap face cream.

And so, we continue to look for the Fountain of Youth.