Red Light Skin Therapy – Benefits, Side Effects and Uses

January 31, 2024

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With so many red light skin therapy products on the market, it can be confusing to know if the benefits are legitimate and what devices are best.

You may have seen various face masks, panels, or even handheld devices that emit red light.

Red light therapy is not new to dermatology. In fact, in 1903 a Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Niels Finsen for pioneering therapeutic uses of light.

Modern studies continue to solidify the benefits of red light for skin.

Key Takeaways

  • Red light therapy benefits acne, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and skin texture.
  • Red light is well-studied to be effective, safe, and noninvasive.
  • Specific considerations should be noted to get the most out of your red light including the wavelengths of the device and the duration you use the device.

According to a 2019 study from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, human tissue responds to red light by increasing collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in as little as three days.  

More collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid means more supple and firm skin.  

Additionally, according to a 2023 randomized control trial of 137 women, 4 weeks of red light therapy reduced crow feet and fine lines around the eyes by 30% using skin analysis technology and patient questionnaires.  

Aesthetic Applications of Red Light

Not only is red light beneficial for firm and wrinkle-free skin, but also has applications for hyperpigmentation, acne, and hair loss.  

small study found red light therapy can reduce acne breakouts by almost 40%. The red light in this study was also combined with blue light, which has antibacterial effects.  

Fading of hyperpigmentation is thought to occur due to how red light stimulates skin cells to repair themselves.  

The evidence behind red light for encouraging hair growth on the scalp is robust. Red light encourages microcirculation, which helps deliver crucial oxygen and growth factors to the hair follicles.  

Special Considerations for Effective Red Light Therapy

There are several logistics to understand to get the most out of red light skin therapy.  

The first is ensuring you are using red light for the appropriate amount of time to get results. Between 10-30 minutes is within most guidelines.  

When considering buying a red light device, you want to make sure the device can achieve the desired wavelengths for effective therapy. 660 nm is most common, however anything from 630 nm-700 nm will be effective.  

You will want to read the manufacturer’s guidelines for how far to position your skin from the device. Since different red light devices have different strengths, be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendation.  

Have you ever tried red light therapy or know a friend/family member who has? Please comment below! 

FAQ 

Question: Are there any people who should not use red lights?

Answer: Pregnancy, hyperthyroidism, eye disease, epilepsy, or recent burns to the skin are several reasons to avoid red light therapy and consult your physician

Question: Is it possible to overdo red light therapy?

Answer: Yes, overdoing red light therapy may lead to skin irritation or sensitivity. Cells can only absorb so much light until the benefits plateau.

Question: I have heard that you must wear protective goggles when applying red light to the face. Is this necessary?

Answer: Yes. Red light is very bright, which can be uncomfortable even with the eyes closed. Not enough research is out to confirm red light is safe without goggles.

Conclusion

Red light therapy is a treatment that is not new to dermatology but has exploded in popularity in recent years.

There are many types of red light devices and you will want to ensure any device you are considering can reach the appropriate wavelengths.

Red light for skin therapy has a few contraindications but is generally very safe. Consider adding this effective and noninvasive therapy to your anti-aging routine!

Ready to experience the transformative power of Red Light Therapy? Explore our exclusive offerings and elevate your well-being – visit us now to embark on your journey to radiant health!

Author

Dr. Laurel

Laurel Ash, ND, MS is an Oregon and Washington board-certified Naturopathic Physician and medical director of a medical spa in Vancouver, WA. Dr. Ash graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine in 2019 and proceeded to work in a primary care for 2 years with a focus on women’s health. Aesthetic medicine became a focus of her clinical practice as she realized beauty is a reflection of inner vitality and health. Dr. Ash’s clinical focuses include optimal aging, hormone replacement therapy, and aesthetic medicine for women.

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