Researchers in Germany are reporting about a potential alternative to Botox to minimize facial wrinkles.

The study, scheduled to appear in the November 5 issue of ACS’ Crystal Growth & Design, a bi-monthly journal, reports that light emitting diodes (LEDs) applied daily for several weeks resulted in rejuvenated skin and reduced wrinkles.

In the study, Andrei P. Sommer and Dan Zhu state that high-intensity visible light has been used in medicine for more than 40 years to speed healing of wounds. The light penetrates into the skin, causing changes in the sub-surface tissue. Until now, scientists have not known the physicochemical nature of those changes.

The authors write that the visible light works by changing the molecular structure of a glue-like layer of water on elastin, the protein that provides elasticity in the skin, the blood vessels, the heart, and other body structures. Figuratively speaking, the light strips away those water molecules that are involved in the immobilization of elastin, gradually restoring its elastic function and thus reducing facial wrinkles.

"We are justified in believing that our approach can be easily converted to deep body rejuvenation programs," the researchers conclude.

[Medical News Today, October 21, 2008]