Futuristic red light therapy treatments at Skintopia
Using light alone to alleviate everything from stretch marks to muscle pain may seem like a far-fetched, futuristic fantasy, but the science behind the Red Light Therapy treatments at Skintopia is real—in fact, it was developed by NASA many decades ago.
“The astronauts were using red lights to help grow the plants in space,” explains Roy Thomas Conder, Managing Director of Skintopia. “Then they noticed that working around them so much they were getting a reaction as well. That’s when NASA started researching red light therapy.”
Red light exists at the far end of the visible light spectrum, closer to infrared light and far removed from UV light. As a beauty treatment it’s great for hair, and it has a rejuvenating and firming effect on skin; reducing wrinkles, blemishes, large pores, and other signs of ageing. The light penetrates about 15 ml. into the skin—creams only go down 2 or 3 ml. by comparison—and each individual session lasts a mere quarter of an hour.
“Because of the way collagen works you only need 15 minutes, so it can be part of people’s daily routine, or they can do it two or three times a week,” Roy goes on to say, noting that the effects are more noticeable over time with multiple treatments.
Red light therapy naturally stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the body, and increases circulation by forming new capillaries, which speeds up the healing process in damaged skin. Increased collagen—the most abundant protein in the body—has a long list of health benefits, including eradicating rosacea, repairing sun damage, and making bones and joints stronger, as well as improving digestion, sleep patterns, natural hormone balance, and moisture levels in the skin overall. And while many people use red light therapy to look younger and more beautiful, athletes also use it to build muscles, optimize performance, and treat sports injuries.
“The Premier League in the UK have just started using it,” Roy points out. “When a player pulls a muscle they can be off for 6 to 8 weeks. Using this red light therapy, along with regular physio, they can be back on the pitch two or three weeks quicker.”
The first Skintopia in Thailand was opened in Lad Krabang (out by the airport), but relocating in September of 2017 to the 3rd floor of the busy Times Square Mall, just outside the Asoke BTS station, has proven to be a wise move. The current location offers a choice of three red light machines—each housed in its own private room—and a single treatment is priced at B2,500. However, purchasing a multiple treatment package lessens the overall cost (for instance, buying a 24-session package works out to just B1,350 per visit).
So what’s it like to undergo such high-tech healing? My initial visit begins with a brief explanation of the procedure, after which I choose my treatment room of preference. Two of the available machines are upright, like a cylindrical shower stall, while the third is more like a conventional lie-down tanning bed. I choose the bed, and once in the room am instructed to disrobe—underwear or au natural is your choice—and apply certain creams; one for under my eyes and one for the rest of my face. I’m also instructed to apply a special micro mist spray over the rest of my body before starting the procedure. These skin products are specially designed to work with red light, enhancing its penetration into the body.
Alone in the room you have about five minutes to prep, after which the procedure begins. I’ve never used a tanning bed before, so to describe this type of device I’d say it looks a bit like a human-sized sandwich grill. The lower half, where you lie down, has a concave sheet of thick glass, behind which are rows of what look like long fluorescent tubes. The upper half is much the same, and after settling in you pull the lid down over you (a small gap remains so you don’t feel trapped or anything).
When the red lights come on they are blindingly bright so keep your eyes closed, and if you have sensitive eyes request to use the goggles or eyelid protectors. The colour of the light itself is more pinkish than red, and while the tubes do give off heat, each machine has a cooling fan to regulate the temperature during your treatment. To pass the time you can listen to music from your smartphone, or just indulge in some quiet meditation.
The 15 minutes pass swiftly, and the lights shut off automatically when the time is up. After rising from the machine you apply a third cream all over your body, and then get dressed and return to the reception area while the glass surfaces of the bed is disinfected with an alcohol spray before the next client arrives.
Out of curiosity ask Roy if there is a difference between the lie-down machine and the upright booths?
“They’re essentially the same,” he says. “But some of the girls, the ones that go to the gym a lot, they like to stand up, put the music on full blast, and just dance away while they’re in there.”
After just one visit it’s unlikely that you’ll notice a profound difference, which is why multiple treatments are recommended. However, I do have to admit that the next day I happily slept in late (a rarity), and later that same evening I was telling someone about how I’ve recently been trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and they actually said, “Well, your skin looks great!”
By Bruce Scott
3F, Unit 314, Times Square Bldg.
246 Sukhumvit Rd (Asoke BTS)
Tel: 092 256 0230