Light Emitting Diode-Based Therapy

William Abramovits, MD; Peter Arrazola, BA; Aditya K. Gupta, MD, PhD, FRCP(C)

In This Article


Several lamps that generate visible light, many of them using light-emitting diodes (LEDs), have recently found their way to the dermatologic armamentarium. Claims of their value in the treatment of a variety of conditions ranging from cosmetic (antiwrinkle) to acne, rosacea, and skin cancer are made to market them. The literature promoting these claims is limited and often questionable, however, dermatologists who own these units often report demand for their use, high customer satisfaction, and a sense that they deliver on their promises, despite a lack of clinical evidence from properly controlled studies. This article reviews promotional as well as relevant scientific literature (indexed on Medline) regarding LED-based devices and other units that deliver visible light at sub-intense fluences. Both types of literature were evaluated for their scientific validity of content. Photodynamic therapy used with exogenous photosensitizers such as aminolevulinic acid is beyond the scope of this review.