Are you interested in the latest “Phantom of the Opera” craze? I’m talking about the DPL Light Mask that’s hitting treatment rooms as well as your clients’ at-home regimens for anti-aging and healing benefits. DPL stands for Deep Penetrating Light and there are a few things you should know. In this first part of our DPL series, we’ll cover the science of how LED therapy works.
Deep Penetrating Light therapy uses two different wavelengths of red light via LED transmission. First, we’ll cover the electromagnetic spectrum and then a look at the delivery method of DPL and how all of this works in our bodies.
How DPL Therapy Works
The electromagnetic spectrum is a continuum of vibrating energy. The vibrations move in waves and the waves are measured in nanometers. Nanometers are the distances from the crest of one wave of energy to the crest of the next wave of energy. Let’s quickly go over the types of energy on the spectrum:
To think about using energy from the electromagnetic spectrum you must take the horizontal diagram you see and turn it 90 degrees, with the shortest wavelengths at the top. Now imagine these wavelengths penetrating into the skin. Shorter wavelengths go distances more shallow in the skin, longer wavelengths go distances that are deeper in the skin. DPL light therapy uses red light in the 600-nanometer range of the visible light spectrum and infrared light in the 900-nanometer range.
LED & DPL Therapy
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. A semiconductor takes electrical energy and converts it to light energy. The tiny particles of light energy are called photons. Photons can also be used in high power devices like lasers or IPL devices. LED light was first introduced in the early 1900s as a source of healing but the advent of antibiotics pushed it out of the forefront as our culture embraced the use of chemistry over biology. As the real problem of antibiotic resistance has emerged, it’s interesting to see LED light therapy emerge again as a verified source of healing. Its real resurgence began in the 1990s when NASA began using LED light as a healing option for astronauts on space shuttle missions.
Light energy has four targets, called chromophores. The four chromophores are water, hemoglobin or oxyhemoglobin (hemoglobin is blood and oxyhemoglobin is oxygenated blood), pigment (like hair in a follicle or melanin in the skin) and a foreign body (like tattoo ink). Wavelengths are attracted to different chromophores. Incredibly, the photons, or light energy particles, in the LED light can be absorbed by chromophores at the cellular level of our bodies. ATP is the energy source in the mitochondria in our cells that stimulate the cell to function properly. The LED light causes the mitochondria to produce more ATP, so our cells are energized and function more efficiently.
The red light in the visible light spectrum, the 600-nanometer range can work in the dermis, which makes it a great option for anti-aging. As we age, our bodies’ ability to produce ATP weakens and our cells don’t function as optimally as they did when we were in our 20s. Red light in the 600-nanometer range stimulates the mitochondria to function and repair fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin texture and visibly reduce pore size.
The red light in the infrared spectrum, 900 nanometers, works to heal, deeper than the 600-nanometer range. This stimulates collagen production in the tissues, in the muscles. This creates a firmer, more youthful appearance to the skin.
LED light is low power, meaning it’s not going to work immediately and a series of consistent treatments is going to produce the best results. A treatment protocol of at least twice a week for twenty to thirty minutes per session should demonstrate visible improvements after an 8-week series. Then clients can return every few months for maintenance. The client needs to have clean skin. The light cannot penetrate through heavy creams or skin products. It should be placed as close to the skin as possible. And don’t forget eye protection! Your client should be wearing at least tanning goggles because of the brightness of the light. Cumulative vision damage could result.
This wraps up the how-to part of our DPL therapy series. In part two, we’ll discuss the process of DPL therapy and how it can be incorporated into your service menu.
Photos: Main Photo- Shutterstock | Nomad_Soul Charts- Shutterstock | Designua
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Mary Nielsen grew up in Minnesota but calls Portland, Oregon home for the past 30 years. She is the Executive Director of Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics Institute and serves on the board of Certified Advanced Estheticians for the state of Oregon. She is a happily married grandmother who has been thrilled to be working in the never dull field of advanced esthetics for over 17 years. She spends her free time outdoors or at her sewing machine.