Can you really rejuvenate your skin, at home, with nothing more than light? I have been trying out the Dermalux Flex, the most powerful home-use LED device available, that uses clinic-standard LED light technology, since April 2020. The company lent it to me at the start of the first UK lockdown, so I had plenty of time to try it out and see what it could do for me. It has made massive, measurable improvements in my skin (you can read about this here), it has taken down pigmentation/sun damage, taken down the redness a lot, reduced the wrinkling and even improved the appearance of my pores.Many of you have sent in questions about this so I called in Louise Taylor, one of the co-founders of Aesthetic Technology, which makes the Dermalux in the UK, to answer all these questions for you. We did an Instagram Live, which you can watch below, or read through the answers here.
When was Dermalux invented?
Alice Hart-Davis: Hi Louise, thank you for joining me. You are one of the directors at Aesthetic Technology and one of the co-founders of the company so do you want to tell us a little bit about how you came to do this and what Aesthetic Technology does and then we’ll get into all the detailed questions?
Louise Taylor: First of all, thank you very much for inviting me to speak about this. Dermalux is a brand we started in 2012. Pre that myself and my co-founder Huw Anthony were involved in our own clinic. I’ve always been a fan of light therapy and we saw a gap for a non-invasive, results-driven treatment. LED wasn’t around in the same way that it is today, there wasn’t the choice of devices or options and I don’t think there was the education in the same way, so we saw all the potential benefits in our own clinic and that’s sort of kick-started it.
We saw this opportunity to develop a device that could really be integrated into clinical treatments and obviously, on the back of that, be used in a home environment as well.
Why has Dermalux won five tweakment-industry ‘Oscars’?
AHD: The Aesthetics Awards are like the Oscars of the tweakments world, and your Dermalux technology has won that award for Best Treatment five times.
LT: Yes five years in a row we have won Best Treatment and we are very proud of that, but of course that just shows hopefully the investment. We’re a British brand, we manufacture in the UK, we’ve developed our own technology, so it’s propriety technology, nobody in the world has our technology, it’s like our own recipe, so we’ve really invested into that part of the business to make sure that we’re delivering results. We’re also a medical device manufacturer, which means that we’re governed by medical regulations, so we have to comply to very strict governance. From a consumer point of view that gives real assurance of the quality and safety of our devices as well.
What are the benefits of LED light therapy?
AHD: Can we start at the beginning. What are the benefits of light therapy? In the Flex, the one I borrowed and was using, you’ve got red light, you’ve got blue light, you’ve got near infrared light, and they’re all very specific wavelengths, they all do different things, so could you talk a bit about each of those?
LT: Yes, so the results or what we can treat with light therapy is really determined by the wavelengths that the device that you’re using is going to deliver, but they all work on the same principle. Light is an energy and the principle of light therapy is that we’re delivering very specific light energy or wavelengths or colours of light into the skin. Each different wavelength is absorbed by a very specific target and it all comes back again to things like the specification, so the results are going to be determined by delivering a very precise specification and also a power.
The three lights that we use, or three wavelengths that we use in Dermalex, independently and internationally have the most clinical data to support them, so, right from the very beginning, we’ve always used these wavelengths and they’re used across all of the devices in our portfolio. The idea is that we’re using this energy, it’s absorbed by a specific target in the skin and then it’s triggering a very specific cellular response. For example, red light is absorbed right into the dermis, into the heart of the cell and really kick-starts the energy of the cells so we’re triggering things like collagen and elastin and helping the cell turn over, whereas, the near-infrared is absorbed much deeper, we call it the “wound healing wavelength”, so it’s very good for your sensitised skins and for rejuvenation, but really helping with deeper targets. Our blue light is more superficial and really helps with our acne treatments.
AHD: Brilliant, thank you. Obviously I used the near-infrared and the red together because that had the energising effect, which is good for promoting collagen growth and elastin and hydration and then near infrared is really good for bringing down the inflammation. One of the things I always noticed, was that the kind of clarity of your skin, it just takes a redness down, even in half an hour, you think your skin’s looking very red but when you get up from having had the light on your face you think “wow, okay, that’s different, clearly different.”
Does LED light therapy really work?
AHD: I’ve got this list of questions here, one of the biggest list that I’ve ever had sent in and, “does it really work?” is it is a frequent question, and I think the answer is, “absolutely”. But do you want to talk about how it’s a medical device and why that means it really does work and what makes it better from non-medical devices?
LT: So, does it really work, yes of course, but again it’s like anything, it’s like skincare products, it’s all down to the quality of the ingredients or the specification of the device. You know there’s thousands of clinical papers, independent clinical papers, about phototherapy. In fact, quite interestingly, there’s more independent studies on LED photo therapy than there are on laser.
Why is it important that the Dermalux is a medical device?
AHD: Can you also talk about how it’s a medical device and why that means it really does work and what makes it better from non-medical devices?
LT: In terms of it being a medical device, there’s different regulations. We’re a medical device manufacturer, but what that means our products go through a high level of testing, not only for the efficacy of the device, but also for the safety of the device and it really governs what claims we can make as well.
Being a medical device means that we can treat medical indications, such as acne, wound healing, psoriasis, and offer pain relief, whereas cosmetic indications are things like rejuvenation, pigmentation, more sensitised skins, so it just means that we can treat a wide range of conditions and they’re clinically proven so they’re supported by our own evidence but also by independent clinical data. That’s the work that we have to do in the background but not that many LED devices on the market are medically certified and go through the testing that we’ve had to go through to get there.
What will the new medical device regulations mean for LED light devices
AHD: That’s going to become more crucial isn’t it because there’s been new set of regulations around light therapy that means that anybody who’s going to be selling a light therapy device is going to have to get medical accreditation or they won’t be allowed to sell it. Is that right?
LT: Yes, so it’s called the Medical Device Regulation MDR, which is which is coming in, it should have come in in 2020 but, because of Covid, it got delayed. So light therapy or phototherapy falls underneath the new regulation and it just governs what we can use it for and the claims that we can make. But, particularly if we’re treating our acnes or more problematic conditions, then it has to be classified as a medical device.
When we’re looking at choosing a device and what makes a medical device better, it all goes back to that stamp of quality and efficacy and the testing and all that regulation that the devices have to go through to be stamped as having that medical seal of approval.
AHD: A lot of the home-use masks that are much cheaper that are on the market at the moment all claim, perfectly accurately, that they’re using a well-proven technology. The thing is, it’s a well-proven technology but what may be in their mask may not be so well proven and that’s what I feel will get sorted out by May 2021 won’t it, if the device can’t prove it’s up to delivering what it needs to do.
LT: Of course it’s a minefield now there are so many different devices on the market – it’s canopies, it’s masks, there’s handheld devices and it is a real challenge I think, as a consumer. We stand by our own results, we’re not here to say negative things about other people’s devices. I think it depends on what people want, what results people want, how quickly they want them and how they’re going to use them. We’ve looked at not only the results but at the design and the application of the device as well which I think is important.
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