Light-emitting Diodes in Dermatology: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Lasers Surg Med. 2018 Jan 22;50(6):613-628. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22791. Online ahead of print.


Objective: In dermatology, patient and physician adoption of light-emitting diode (LED) medical technology continues to grow as research indicates that LEDs may be used to treat skin conditions. The goal of this systematic review is to critically analyze published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and provide evidence-based recommendations on the therapeutic uses of LEDs in dermatology based on published efficacy and safety data.

Methods: A systematic review of the published literature on the use of LED treatments for skin conditions was performed on September 13th 2017.

Results: Thirty-one original RCTs were suitable for review.

Conclusions: LEDs represent an emerging modality to alter skin biology and change the paradigm of managing skin conditions. Acne vulgaris, herpes simplex and zoster, and acute wound healing received grade of recommendation B. Other skin conditions received grade of recommendation C or D. Limitations of some studies include small patient sample sizes (n < 20), absent blinding, no sham placebo, and varied treatment parameters. Due to few incidences of adverse events, affordability, and encouraging clinical results, we recommend that physicians use LEDs in clinical practice and researchers continue to explore the use of LEDs to treat skin conditions. Lasers Surg. Med. 9999:1-16, 2018. © 2018 The Authors. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: light-emitting diode; photobiomodulation; phototherapy; skin therapy.