LED Therapy vs. IPL for Acne Treatment on Dark Skin

Hi. I've been looking into treatments for acne and came across light therapies through a clinic but want to get expert opinion first. The clinic advertises these true light theraoy wavelengths for skin treatment - Blue light 410nm, Red Light 630nm, Yellow light 590nm, Infrared light 850nm, Green light. Are these wavelengths the same as/similar to IPL and are these wavelengths suitable for dark skin such as Fitzpatrick skin type V? Is there any risk of Hypo/Hyper Pigmentation. Many Thanks

Doctor Answers 1

LED therapy alone should be safe for darker skin types.

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LED therapy by itself with no chemical/medication components added to the treatment should be fine for darker skin types.  Sometimes we add certain photosensitizers to the treatment to make it more effective (i.e. Levulan or Metvix).  This photochemical reaction can cause postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, or dark areas after the treatment that will fade, but may take time.

As for your question about IPL.  IPL does have a much greater risk for causing hyperipgmentation in darker skin types because of the power of the device.  It is not a laser, and it is not a LED.  It is a flashlamp that emits high powered light using many wavelengths at once.  While there are many LED wavelengths, the research shows that the wavelengths associated best with LED photorejuvenation are the red 630nm and infrared light.

I hope this helps and best of luck.

Naples Dermatologic Surgeon

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