In super exciting Clear Skin news, Asha recently sat down with expert skin savant and LED light therapy leader, Jennifer Brodeur to talk all things acne, MAX+ and the questionable safety of home devices.
Jennifer is incredibly well-respected within the skin industry. Not only is she Michelle Obama’s AND Oprah’s go-to skin strategist, but she’s an acclaimed teacher, product developer and holistic medicine advocate.
Jennifer has travelled around the world learning more about, and adding to, the skin analysis, cosmetic chemistry, oncology aesthetics, nutritional medicine and organic skincare conversations. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame is that she designed and developed the MAX+, a highly sought-after, medical-grade light therapy device. And yes, it’s the very same one we use with our skin needling treatments!
LED therapy has become increasingly popular in 2020 given that clinics all over the world have had to close their doors. This means that many brands are releasing LED home devices. But the big question is – are they safe and do we really know what they’re doing to the skin?
Jen, you are an incredible voice within the industry with over 25 years experience and a list of red carpet clientele. What is your experience with LED technology?
LED has always been my secret weapon. Where products, and or my hands, couldn’t help with a specific skin condition – MAX+ could. I believe in a ‘less is more’ skincare approach.
Why are you so passionate about LED? And why is it so amazing for acne in particular?
I truly believe that this is a kinder, gentler way to work with the skin. The skin responds, it has a voice, we just need to take a moment and listen to it. MAX+ 415mm helps stop the proliferation of the PP9 (acne bacteria), while keeping skin in a healthy state. We also use other wavelengths to help stimulate the healing process. Remember, skin homeostasis is key!
Can you explain why safety and wavelengths are so important?
Back in 2003, I could proudly say LED was safe. It’s not the same kind of safe in 2020 because not all LEDs are now created equal… LEDs have a dominant wavelength and can go from one point to another, for example – you can have a 415mm + or – 2 and go from 413-415-417mm. This means the wavelength is pretty precise and ‘tight’.
Some other units can be 415mm or 420 + or – 5 or even 100. When that’s the case, the wavelength goes into the UV range. This is what scares me. Imagine all the microdermabrasions, peels and LASER before safe LED… only time will tell, but I’m already seeing the damages.
What are your views on home LED masks and devices? Could they be damaging the skin by entering the UV spectrum?
I’m very on the fence with this one. With the close proximity of the LEDs to the skin, the occlusion, the one thing you don’t want is to create heat. LEDs themselves don’t emit heat, however if the space is tight, heat will be generated. This heat can then trigger the cascading effect of melanocytes (which can cause or exacerbate pigmentation). If there is a safe, effective home device on the market I personally have not tested it.
What are the key differences between MAX+ and a home device?
MAX+ was created for skin experts to be used after a thorough skin analysis. Therefore it’s more complicated than turning on a home device and letting the LEDs do their work. MAX+ was also created to work in tandem with a skincare treatment. His LEDS are binned for wavelength accuracy and the optical lens emits the correct dosage of light to the skin cells to ensure optimal results. As for the treatments within the device, they were created with synergy. As the skin changes, the treatments chosen can as well.
The home devices LEDs are very close to the skin whereas in-clinic we use MAX+ about 30cm away from the face. Is this home device proximity a concern? Is it damaging for the eyes?
The eyes should never directly be looking at any light source. It’s always best to be overly careful. I do worry about the home devices for the eyes, I also worry about them in regards to the skincare protocol prior to their use.
We’ve seen an increased demand during COVID for home treatments, are there any home devices you recommend?
We all love little handheld home devices, especially now have some extra time on our hands. I have always loved jade rollers and have always had them in my tool bag. They are nothing new but when used properly they can be beneficial.
What are your top skin tips for life during lockdown?
Stay hydrated, move your body and make sure you are sleeping. There is a direct correlation between stress, inflammation and the aging process. Chronic stress harms the integrity of the collagen. When you miss sleep your cortisol levels increase. Cortisol triggers inflammation. Inflammation breaks down the proteins in the skin that keep the skin radiant and smooth.
When you are tired the blood in your body is not flowing efficiently which normally results in a lack of oxygen in the blood. This lack of oxygen causes your skin to appear ashy, pigmented, or blotchy. If you miss out on sleep it can also affect the moisture levels in your skin and lower your complexion, leading it to be drier.
The best thing is to consult with the skin expert for advice on how to keep your skin looking great during lockdown. Do stay away from anything that promises instant results… it’s just not possible.