In vivo and in vitro analysis of low level light therapy: a useful therapeutic approach for sensitive skin

Lasers Med Sci. 2013 Nov;28(6):1573-9. doi: 10.1007/s10103-013-1281-x. Epub 2013 Feb 10.


Sensitive skin is a relatively common dermatologic condition and no optimal treatments have been established so far. Low-level laser/light therapy (LLLT) has been used for its biostimulative effect in various clinical settings. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether low-level laser/light therapy can improve sensitive skin clinically and to evaluate the effects of LLLT on skin in vitro. Twenty-eight patients complaining of sensitive skin were treated with low-level polarized light, and clinical results were evaluated using subjective and objective method. To investigate possible working mechanism of LLLT on skin, cultured human keratinocytes pretreated with nontoxic concentration of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) were used. Cytokines released from irritated keratinocytes after LLLT were analyzed. All patients showed subjective and objective improvement after treatment. No adverse effects were reported. The average number of LLLT sessions required to achieve clinical improvement was 9.9, and cumulative dose of LLLT was 71.3 J/cm(2) on the average. Erythema index decreased significantly after LLLT treatment (p = 0.017). In vitro assay showed that LLLT significantly reduced the release of VEGF from SLS-pretreated keratinocytes (p = 0.021). Our results suggest that LLLT could be a useful and safe treatment modality for sensitive skin, and modification of inflammatory cytokines released from irritated keratinocytes may be considered as one of plausible mechanisms in sensitive skin treated with LLLT.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Acne Vulgaris / radiotherapy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / radiotherapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1alpha / metabolism
  • Irritants / pharmacokinetics
  • Irritants / toxicity
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rosacea / metabolism
  • Rosacea / radiotherapy
  • Rosacea / therapy
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Interleukin-1alpha
  • Irritants
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A