By  on January 14, 2005

NEW YORK — In an extreme example of counter-intuitive beauty marketing, a Costa Mesa-based skin care concern is recommending clients bake under an ultrahigh-beam light box aimed directly at their faces. And here’s the even wackier part: The 20-minute procedure, dubbed Lumière and marketed through tanning salons, is meant to remove wrinkles — not create them.

Based on the concept of “photodynamic therapy,” the Lumière treatment was created in conjunction with companion ranges of skin care and nutritional supplements. When partnered with proprietary “photoceuticals” and “nutraceuticals,” the Lumière device, which delivers red light rays of 633 nanometers, is said to restore damaged skin cells to their more energized, youthful, original state.

According to Raymond Mead, chief executive officer of RAI Inc., which markets Lumière, the premise of the new procedure borrows heavily from mid-Nineties light-wave data gleaned from the U.K.’s Paterson Institute for Cancer Research. Through its work in photodynamic therapy, the research facility has successfully deployed red light to treat nonmelanomic skin lesions.

“Paterson understood that different wavelengths of light — in this case, 633 nanometers — stimulated cells and helped in the delivery of topical ingredients,” said Mead. “They were exploring photosensitizers intended to kill cancer cells, so they were applying topicals and then exposing the lesions to 633 nanometers of light.”

Evidently, the Paterson team stumbled upon a few unintended side effects. “What they noticed throughout the course of treatment was that, not only was it effective for treating the cancer, the skin was rejuvenating itself,” said Mead. “Deep wrinkles were starting to soften, dark patches were subsiding and the complexion was evening out.”

Although there are other light-based beauty therapies currently offered through day spas and dermatologists, services such as Intense Pulsed Light and Thermage differ in what Mead refers to as their “mechanism of action.”

“IPL, cold laser, Thermage — they all produce results through purposely inflicting controlled damage on the skin, which in turn stimulates the production of collagen,” said Mead. “Lumière is different in that there’s absolutely no damage, so there’s no downtime. We just use the light to energize the cell. And by applying the topicals first, we’re able to feed the skin what it needs to produce collagen and elastin.”

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