Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) is a fast-growing technology used to treat a multitude of conditions that require stimulation of healing, relief of pain and inflammation, and restoration of function. Although the skin is the organ that is naturally exposed to light more than any other organ, it still responds well to red and near-infrared wavelengths. The photons are absorbed by mitochondrial chromophores in skin cells. Consequently electron transport, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) nitric oxide release, blood flow, reactive oxygen species increase and diverse signaling pathways get activated. Stem cells can be activated allowing increased tissue repair and healing. In dermatology, LLLT has beneficial effects on wrinkles, acne scars, hypertrophic scars, and healing of burns. LLLT can reduce UV damage both as a treatment and as a prophylaxis. In pigmentary disorders such as vitiligo, LLLT can increase pigmentation by stimulating melanocyte proliferation and reduce depigmentation by inhibiting autoimmunity. Inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and acne can also benefit. The non-invasive nature and almost complete absence of side-effects encourages further testing in dermatology.Keywords: Acne, Dermatology, Herpes, Laser, LLLT, Low level laser therapy, Phototherapy, Skin disease, Skin Rejuvenation, Pigmentation, Vitiligo.
LLLT appears to have a wide range of applications of use in dermatology, especially in indications where stimulation of healing, reduction of inflammation, reduction of cell death and skin rejuvenation are required. The application of LLLT to disorders of pigmentation may work both ways by producing both repigmentation of vitiligo, and depigmentation of hyperpigmented lesions depending on the dosimetric parameters. The introduction of LED array-based devices has simplified the application to large areas of skin. There is no agreement as yet on several important parameters particularly whether red, NIR, or a combination of both wavelengths is optimal for any particular application. There is a credibility gap that needs to be overcome before LLLT is routinely applied in every dermatologist’s office.