The Wrinkle Report
A handheld device delivers pulses of light to the skin to treat hyperpigmentation and redness caused by broken blood vessels and to improve skin texture and tone.
How it works: The light pulses are absorbed by the hyperpigmentation and blood vessels, causing the melanin deposits to break apart and visible blood vessels to be reabsorbed by the body. As with a laser, a mild wound response also promotes cell turnover and some collagen production. Four to six treatments, three weeks apart, are needed. Skin may be slightly pink for about a day.
On the horizon: Photomodulation uses pulses of low-energy light (less than what's emitted from a 25-watt bulb) to deliver signals, like a remote control, to skin cells. During the treatment, you sit in front of the device, called GentleWaves, which resembles a computer screen. When the machine is set at a certain parameter (much as a remote control is programmed with a TV-specific code), the light painlessly, and without side effects, "turns on" the cells responsible for collagen production and "turns off" production of the enzyme that breaks down collagen, says Roy Geronemus, MD. It can also increase cell production and turnover; doctors believe that the light energy is somehow converted into cell energy within the skin, similar to photosynthesis in plants, says Jeffrey Dover. Studies show a mild to moderate improvement in wrinkles and skin texture and tone after eight to ten treatments, says Geronemus. Clinical studies have been submitted to the FDA for approval of the company's claims.