Home LED devices: What NOT to do!

Hi Dr Irwin, What is your opinion of home LED devices with regards to skin rejuvenation? I am particularly interested in uneven skin tone correction as I have melasma and poikiloderma. I know that there is no magic bullet, but it would be great if this noninvasive modality could help manage these conditions. Thanks, Lori

I’m definately seeing some questions regarding these each month which tells me the companies are marketing LED devices fairly heavily.  🙂

While these devices seem like an inexpensive way to achieve results, most of the time this hasn’t proven to be true. The biggest problem that we have seen with our patients is a very understandable one: No one is motivated to keep using something every day when they don’t see results. The LED devices are such low energy that they take many months or even years to produce results. It’s hard for patients to stay motivated.

Some thoughts on various uses for LED devices:

  • Melasma. Don’t use these devices. They are all light based and light always has a risk of making melasma worse!
  • Poikiloderma. This is the red and brown blotchy discoloration usually on the neck and chest. You can try and LED marketed for red, and if you don’t see results in 3-6 months, you’ll probably need a series of IPL treatments for this.
  • Small veins and flushing. Same as above. If no effect, then an IPL or pulsed dye laser.
  • Hair removal. Home devices can be a good solution if very few hairs and you are patient.
  • Anti-aging/repair. Not worth the money, in my opinion. Too low energy to produce visible results unless your problem is really minimal.
  • Aging prevention. Some reasonable early data on this, but need to be used over many months and years and way to evaluate if working, until years have gone by.
  • Wrinkles. Fine wrinkles could respond. See just above. Deeper wrinkles will need lasers, fillers, peels, etc.

Still, these are inexpensive compared to lasers, but NOT inexpensive if they waste your time and money. It’s a good idea to optimize your skincare products for at least 3 months before moving to lasers or LEDs.

Hope this helps, Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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