I see the light. Not the light at the end of the tunnel or the X-Files ones up in the sky. Not the same thing.
Light is actually energy, that can travel through space or through a material in the form of waves or particles. In terms of health, some are beneficial whilst others are harmful to living tissue. The most affected living tissue affected by light is the human skin. Visible light and longer wavelength light such as infrared and sunlight, to a certain extent, can be beneficial.
It is a well-known fact that sunlight triggers the body to produce Vitamin D in the human body. However, too much sunlight can also be detrimental to health. Both phenomenon can be attributed to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Not enough will result in Vit D deficiency but too much may cause skin cancer, commonly known as melanoma.
Interestingly, UV light can also be used to kill microbes in apple juice or cider and disinfect air, surfaces and water by destroying viruses, mould and bacteria using different spectrums of the invisible light.
Research utilising light in medicine and beauty has enabled breakthroughs in the development of technology to treat a variety of symptoms, amongst which is hair reduction and anti-ageing beauty treatments.
Today, there is a wide spectrum of laser and light technologies available for skin resurfacing, rejuvenation and hair removal.
In hair removal, which technically should be referred to as hair reduction treatments, laser utilises a single wavelength of light to disable hair growth. Intense pulsed light on the other hand uses a broad spectrum of light to do the same. A medical article comparing IPL to lasers found almost no difference in effectiveness and side effects. Hair reduction treatments were found to have reduced hair growth between 50% – 70% after a minimum of six treatment sessions. Some of the side effects include redness, itching and slight swelling as well as skin discolouration and pigmentation changes, which returned to normal within 6 months. The length of heating plus the temperature achieved by laser and IPL machines are key factors in attempting to destroy hair follicles.
Whilst people generally relate such beauty preferences to self-confidence and health, hence the prevalence of hair reduction and hair removal treatments all around the world, light does provide mental health benefits as well.
In what could possibly be the most under diagnosed condition known to man, people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are very often treated with light therapy or asked to increase their exposure (controlled) to sunlight. This mood disorder presents itself in a person by way of feelings of despondency, depression or sadness, giving rise to terminologies like winter blues or seasonal depression. SAD is recurrent with a seasonal pattern of depression.
So the next time you are feeling slightly down in the dumps, bring a little sunshine into your life.