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Green- it's the new red

green LED light
June 30, 2011 Reviewed by Marta 13 Comments

When I first tried out a green LED light, I frankly suspected that this would turn out to be one of those nice to have things that aren’t really necessary to life and end up at the back of the bathroom cabinet – the personal care equivalent of a waffle maker. I quickly realized that green LED – for controlling hyperpigmentation – is definitely a goer. But more surprising is that, as the summer progresses, I am going green with a vengeance. A friend emailed me with a similar observation and we realized that different colored LED lights seem to favor seasonal use. Here's how:

Summer goes green

Green LED light helps with skin discoloration. So as summer gives me more exposure to sunlight, I have found that I reach for the green light when I get out my Sirius Aurora ($149). The backs of my hands are in particular need of it as, despite the use of sunscreen, they are looking a distinct shade darker than the skin on the rest of my face and body. I haven’t seen much independent research behind green LED (as opposed to the well-documented red light), but I am seeing results on my skin in terms of a slight fading of dark spots and more even tone in general. Theoretically, green light targets melanocytes, melanin-producing cells located in the bottom layer of the skin's epidermis. According to Sirius, it inhibits the production of excess melanin, prevents it from traveling to the skin’s surface, and breaks up melanin clusters to diminish existing discoloration.

LED lights (of all colors) can be enhanced by the use of a topical cream or serum that performs a complimentary function. I find that green LED and Lumixyl’s Topical Brightening Crème work really well together.

See red in fall and spring

Red LED is for plumping the skin. Even NASA has recognized that it is therapeutic for the skin and can help heal wounds. Of course, it’s a must year-round, but seems even more necessary in fall and spring when we want to help retain or jump-start collagen production. stimulating the body’s tissues to convert the light energy into cellular energy. Most researchers agree that light therapy increases production of ATP (the energy engine of cells) and the modulation of reactive oxygen. It may also work by targeting water layers on elastin, reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles.

I always use an antioxidant serum with red light. Although the long-term effects of LED are detrimental to radical scavengers, in the short-term it can stimulate them. Researchers have shown the short-term effect can be counteracted with antioxidants such as green tea. I use Your Best Face Antioxidants Concentrate.

Winter blues

I am much more prone to breakouts in winter when my skin is dry and sensitive. This is when blue LED light can come into its own. Blue light wavelengths pass to the skin and produce singlet oxygen that can destroy acne-causing bacteria. These targeted bacteria that produce the inflammation associated with acne are known as propionibacterium acne’s, or “P. acne’s”. P. acne’s releases porphyrins, which are naturally occurring molecules in the body. When porphyrins are exposed to certain wavelengths of light, free radical damage is produced, which destroys the bacteria.

Think about pairing blue LED with Tilvee’s Cranberry Balancing Lotion or Your Best Face Defend.

I am not suggesting that all you should only use your LED colors seasonally. But hopefully, this will inspire you to play around and use light therapy as it suits your needs.

  • September 2, 2018

    by m

    Medscape sent me an article yesterday. It doesn't talk about green light but does talk about red, blue, yellow and infra, as acne treatments. LED therapy is being taken seriously by the science community. I've used red light for my rosacea and fine lines, often with nothing else, and have had very good results. I am now trying green light to get rid of discolored scars. One is so much better, I am going forward with others.

  • December 18, 2017

    by Jill

    Green light for hyperpigmentation? That's great to hear! I have a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) cap with lights called 'FeelBrightLight' which illuminates my forehead, the area where I have hyperpigmentation. I wear it 30 minutes a day in Autumn/Winter. I haven't noticed any difference yet (couple months use) but it could work, it peaks around 525 nm, the exact same wavelength!

    This could also be a reason to use the Sirius in the winter too! Always in the morning or afternoon though, otherwise you might not sleep well. I wouldn't use the blue light around the eyes, blue light is very harmful for the eyes.

  • August 14, 2016

    by Marta

    Hi Spirit, I am afraid that there isn't any compelling research to back up green LED's effects. The anecdotal evidence is patchy. I've tried it and didn't find that it made a huge difference, but I know of others who have seen results that please them.

  • August 12, 2016

    by Spirit Demerson

    I can't find much info on green light other than this article. Any citation? I know you say you haven't seen much independent reseRch but what is the source of the green theory originally? I'd be excited to use it since HP is my biggest skin concern.

  • September 29, 2013

    by Marta

    Both red and green light will be helpful for broken veins, Linda.

  • September 29, 2013

    by Linda

    Hi , Just wondering if any of the led on my ultrarenew are good for spider veins ?

  • October 28, 2012

    by Michelle

    So using red wavelengths of light can induce free radical damage? I used red light on my sun damaged skin and I look older and worse now ... Wondering if that's why. Thanks! Just trying to understand all of this among the madness. Only want to restore my skin's ability to produce collagen, elastin and hyaluornic acid... To moisturize itself as opposed to me having to lather oil on it at night and lotion on it all day. I need to kind of resurface the skin under my eyes cuz it got fried when I got a sunburn and didn't treat it. Now I'm confused about light therapy... Thank you.

  • October 10, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Maria, its the long term effects are positive. It's the short-term effects that are of concern. That is why it is advisable to apply an antioxidant serum while using the device - to counteract the short-term pro-oxidative effects

  • October 9, 2012

    by maria

    So does one have to worry about the longterm effects of the red light?
    per your comment "Although the long-term effects of LED are detrimental to radical scavengers, in the short-term it can stimulate them." thanks

  • July 6, 2011

    by Jen

    I have been using the Sirius on occasion for the last few months(just the red light), and had a very interesting experience recently when I tried the Blue light.

    A few days ago I developed a deep, cystic pimple on my cheek. I never get acne, so this was unusual. I decided to squeeze and in general traumatize the area in an attempt to get rid of it. The result was a big, red, angry thing-- it was so bad my parents (both in the medical field) thought I should go to a doctor the next day (today) for antibiotics.

    Since I hate antibiotics, I decided to switch out the color on my Sirius and try the Blue light for 5/6 minutes on the area, followed by the red light (for the inflammation) for 5/6minutes. The results were amazing. I looked in the mirror immediately afterwards and the redness has diminished and in general the area just looked better! Today, it is well on its way to healing, without any antibiotics. I am shocked at how well that blue light worked! Just thought I would share :)

  • June 30, 2011

    by Mark

    Like Emily, I have been using my Sirius blue light much more lately as my skin becomes more oily and thus more congested and prone to breakouts in the warmer months, and I find it does make a positive difference.

  • June 30, 2011

    by Susan

    This post, more than any others, is pushing me toward a Sirius. Whenever the use of a tool is easily categorized for me so I don't have to do the brain work (by the end of the day, my brain is overworked and exhausted already), it becomes much more attractive to me.
    Thanks, Marta!

  • June 30, 2011

    by Emily

    Marta, I loved this post and agree completely about green for summer: I'm reaching for it all the time, too. BUT: my experience is different in terms of the "blues." Summer -- sweat, NYC dirt, sunscreen on my face -- is when I'm far more prone to breakouts and I've been using the blue light (which I hadn't used until this month) each time they threaten. I'm very pleased with the effects!

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