In my last installment I left off mentioning the brick our Supreme Court gave to Britain’s Supreme Court as a gift. I intimated that, perhaps, it was not the most thoughtful gift to give an ally nation. Since then, I finished reading a book about Patsy Jefferson, President Jefferson’s oldest daughter. Patsy grew up during the Revolutionary War and had to escape the British and live on the run for several months. She also witnessed the War of 1812, and boy, the British were rude during that period! Maybe all they deserved was a brick…..

In this installment I want to discuss LLLT or low-level light/laser therapy. Phototherapy, the use of light to treat disease, is and evolving science. We know that lights stimulates; think photosynthesis. In the animal model, light can stimulate the healing of wounds, decrease inflammation, and decrease pain. We also know that too much light can be detrimental. High doses of light can be used to burn or destroy tissue, lasers cutting tissue via a photothermal reaction, for example. Limited exposure to sunlight can help acne and vitamin D production; conversely, staying out in the sun can cause burns and skin cancer. So, why is a little good and a lot is bad??

When light is used as medicine is has a “bi-phasic” response. At low doses, light is beneficial. Beyond the nebulous point, light has the opposite effect, and it can cause damage and destruction. I like to think of it like caffeine, up to a certain point (3 cups of coffee in my case) caffeine is helpful, stimulating brain and muscles alike. After that fourth cup, things go down hill; jitters and mania set in. That tipping point varies for each person. Everyone reacts differently to different forms of medication at different dilutions and at different times. We do know the parameters of sage, therapeutic dosages of visible as well as infrared (not visible to the human eye) light for humans. As long as we stay within these parameters, we can reap the beneficial effects of light without worrying about overdosing. On the other hand, if we want, we can harness the destructive power of light and use it to treat skin cancers or other things that we want eliminated. In London, LLLT can be especially helpful for acne as well as anti-aging. Blue wavelengths of light are phototoxic to the bacterial that cause most acne, yet it doesn’t bother our normal skin cells at all. Combine this with the red light, which has been demonstrated to decrease sebum production from the oil glands and decrease inflammation, and we have a winning combination! the cherry on top….the addition of infrared light has been shown to increase collagen production. This will help shrink pores and scars from previous breakouts. Overall, most studies demonstrate that 2-3 treatments a week will give optimum results.

We have performed acne laser treatments for years here at St. Louis Skin Solutions. They worked well but all too often they are painful and can cause significant downtime with redness and peeling. LLLT treatment grabbed my attention because of the minimal downtime and efficacy similar to laser treatments. So…I bought a LLLT mask! We are currently offering this treatment as a series. We have designed a protocol, modeled after several research studies. The protocol begins with a SilkPeel Dermalinfusion (regularly $150) and a 30 minute session under the mask (regularly $50). The patient then returns twice weekly for 4 weeks. During each appointment, the patient will have their skin cleansed with Image SKincare’s O2 Lift (a gentle exfoliating treatment) and a 30 minute session under the mask. We are offering this as a Back to School Special during August and September for only $399 (a $550 value)!

Be on the lookout for episode 3….