Can Photobiomodulation Make You Look Better?

Image: The photobiomodulation bed at Peak Recovery & Health Center.

Colin Cook

Your skin begins to show your age in your late 20s to early 30s. It may wrinkle, become discolored, or lose elasticity. Spider veins are also a sign of aging skin. Unlike most health conditions I write about in this blog, aging skin is one that affects everybody. If you live long enough, you can’t escape it, and most people don’t like seeing their skin age. So it’s no surprise that the cosmetics industry is so large and robust.

Cosmetics aren’t the only answer, however. Dermatology has created an array of treatments for aging skin, including acid baths, dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and facelift surgery. Except for the last one, all of these treatments are based on the systematic destruction of the skin so it can heal itself. All are invasive and involve significant downtime as well as discomfort. That’s why dermatologists in general are so excited about photobiomodulation (PBM).

How can PBM help aging skin? Researchers have known for some time that PBM improves the speed and quality of wound healing. A 2014 metastudy explained the mechanism by describing the role of “photoacceptor” molecules (or chromophores) within cells, which absorb light energy. When the energy is absorbed, it has two effects: 1) it stimulates production of a chemical known as ATP, which is the source of a cell’s energy, and 2) it increases cell membrane permeability, which increases intercellular interaction.

Increasing the energy of skin cells while at the same time increasing their interaction translates into more rapid healing of wounds. While that particular research paper was only concerned with diabetic wound healing and did not go into PBM’s effect on healthy skin, it is clear that light energy, at prescribed wavelengths, has the same effect on skin that isn’t in the process of recovery from the damage of a wound. Increased intercellular interaction and increased production of ATP means more flexible and vibrant skin. PBM, in other words, stimulates, heals, and restores skin, whether it is injured or merely aging.

Dermatologists have been publishing research to show PBM can

    • reduce acne
    • treat psoriasis
    • heal burns
    • produce depigmentation (i.e., lighten dark spots)
    • stimulate repigmentation (i.e., darken light spots).

Most of the dermatological studies were performed with devices that direct the PBM to the area of concern, which is fine if you want to reduce a particular blemish or flaw. But if you want to improve your skin, why not improve all of it? Use a PBM bed, like the one at Peak Recovery & Health Center. Here’s how it works.

You enter the PBM room and one of our staff members helps you get set up and shows you which button to push. The staff member leaves, you lock the room door, and you disrobe. You can wear your underpants if you want, but if you take them off, you’ll be able to make sure all of your skin gets the benefit. You put on light-blocking goggles (after all, it’s pretty bright in the bed). You press the “Start” button and that gives you one minute to lie down, pull the hinged top down over you, and get comfortable. The machine then bathes you in specific wavelengths of light for 12 minutes. You feel some warmth, but it’s not uncomfortable, and if it is, there’s a fan that can blow on you if you want it. After 12 minutes, the PBM bed shuts off, you push the lid open, and climb out — ever so slightly less wrinkled and saggy.

Book a session today and see for yourself.