06:04pm Friday 24 January 2020

Treating wrinkles with photomodulation is ineffective



“Our study could not objectively reproduce the findings of other studies demonstrating efficacy of LED photomodulation as a skin rejuvenation procedure. Such treatment is a placebo,” says lead author Patrick Boulos, a professor at the Université de Montréal Department of Ophthalmology and researcher at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, who conducted the investigation as part of a Harvard University fellowship.

Photomodulation lamp treatments are marketed as having the power to reduce the signs of aging. “Marketers claim that photomodulation lamp treatments produce collagen, an essential protein for scaring, as well as elastin, a protein responsible for skin elasticity,” says Dr. Boulos, cautioning that photomodulation marketers don’t report what studies evaluated their products and whether control groups were used.

That’s why Dr. Boulos and six other researchers recruited 36 test subjects for photomodulation lamp treatments. Each participant received 40-second treatments over eight weeks, as recommended by the makers of the lamps. After each session, test subjects were asked to evaluate their skin based on the following criteria: texture, tone, wrinkles, redness, freckles and pore size.

All subjects reported a 70 to 80 percent improvement for all aspects of their skin. “These are incredible and significant rates,” says Dr. Boulos. “In addition, 58 percent of test subjects said they felt better after the treatment.”

Yet an independent team of skin experts who evaluated before and after photos of subjects found no obvious improvements. “Patients genuinely believed that several of their facial features had improved, even though there was no detectable objective change,” says Dr. Boulos.

About the study:
The article, “In the Eye of the Beholder: Skin Rejuvenation Using a Light-Emitting Diode Photomodulation Device,” published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery, was authored by Patrick R. Boulos (Université de Montréal), John M. Kelley (Harvard Medical School), Marcele F. Falca (Université de Sherbrooke), Jean-François Tremblay (Université de Montréal), Roger B. Davis (Harvard Medical School), Mark P. Hatton (Harvard Medical School) and Peter A. D. Rubin (University of Tennessee Health Science Center).

Partners in research:
This study was funded by a grant from the U.S.-based Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc.

On the Web:


For more information, please contact:
Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
International press attaché
Université de Montréal
Telephone: 514-343-7593

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