7 Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Your Skin

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There are many known red light therapy applications, but its highest recognition stems from being one of the most effective treatments in promoting full-body skin health. Red light therapy for skin is one of the most sought after benefits of this type of light therapy and this article will help us understand why.

We need to care for our skin the best way we can because aside from being the largest organ in our body, it’s also the first line of defense against microorganisms that might bring us harm.

Our skin functions include the following: 

  • A protective barrier to increasing our immunity
  • Storage for hormone production
  • A control center in promoting thermoregulation 
  • A transport system in promoting proper blood circulation

Let’s learn more about red light therapy and its impact in making our skin more invigorated and revitalized.

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy as a whole is a safe, non-invasive, and painless regimen used to treat different kinds of medical and skin conditions. It started gaining its popularity when clinical studies have proven its effectiveness in treating skin problems. Red light therapy for skin is another interesting concept to discuss.

Red light therapy delivers wavelengths of light into our skin that is outside the range of UV light. It works by stimulating our mitochondria to boost cellular function. As a result, different bodily functions are improved. Red light therapy is recommended for full-body skin health because it promotes homeostasis in our cells. 

When the cells in our body are balanced, there will be less oxidative stress, more efficient energy production, and less inflammation. When all of these results are combined, your skin will look younger and more revitalized.

There are even clinical studies supporting red light therapy’s potential to replace other skin treatment modalities in the future [1]. 

Red light skin therapy has been recognized for a lot of important reasons. These benefits are backed by clinical studies and first-hand experiences of red light therapy users. See the list of benefits below.

1. Improves Acne

Acne is a prevalent skin condition that affects people around the world. Despite the availability of conventional antibiotic treatments to improve the appearance of acne, some people still hesitate to take them because of their adverse effects. 

Meanwhile, red light therapy is excellent in treating acne. For instance, a study showed that red light therapy reduces inflammatory acne lesions by stimulating cytokine release, releasing growth factors, and boosting collagen production [2].

Gone are the days when dermatologists only rely on pharmaceutical interventions to treat stubborn acne. Red light therapy seems to be the answer to an acne’s stubborn behavior. How does it work? 

Red light therapy improves acne’s appearance by penetrating deep into your skin to target sebaceous glands and exert anti-inflammatory properties for cytokine release [3].

Some dermatologists advise their patients to combine red light therapy with other pharmaceutical interventions to experience the best results. However, for people who are hesitant about such pharmaceutical interventions’ adverse effects, a 10-minute uninterrupted red light therapy session shall suffice.

2. Reduces Inflammation

Red light therapy is also useful in reducing inflammation. Since inflammation is one of the body’s responses to an injury, trauma, or infection, it’s crucial to understand how red light therapy regulates the inflammatory process.
One study revealed that red light therapy reduces inflammation by increasing blood flow to the affected area of your body while hastening the healing time [4].

3. Reduces Wrinkles 

Maintaining your look as you grow older might be challenging to achieve, knowing that our body’s collagen production starts to deteriorate as we age. However, red light therapy has proven that even with all the conventional medical treatments available, this regimen is still the one with the least possible side effects.

It works by boosting collagen production and regulating fibroblast activities. Fibroblasts are responsible for collagen production in dermatological remodeling [1]. Red light therapy for wrinkles is indeed a proven benefit of this regimen. 

Red light therapy contributes to anti-aging by:

  • Boosting blood circulation
  • Boosting Fibroblasts production
  • Stimulating the development of new capillaries

As a result, red light therapy can reduce your fine lines and wrinkles, make your skin smoother, improve the appearance of acne, reduce discolorations and impurities, minimize pores, and improve skin complexion. The cellular homeostasis promoted by red light therapy is ideal for the regimen’s anti-aging benefits [5].

4. Minimizes Cellulite

Does red light therapy for cellulite work? Well, several studies say so. As much as people love to lose weight, they’re also obsessed with the idea of getting rid of all the cellulite that comes with weight gain. 

Cellulite is fat, and it doesn’t look pleasant. It looks lumpy, saggy, and sometimes darker than your skin tone. However, cellulite isn’t entirely a medical issue. People love the thought of getting rid of it for cosmetic or aesthetic purposes.

Here’s the science behind the work of red light therapy in minimizing the appearance of cellulite:

  • Red light therapy increases cellular metabolism and energy. 
  • Red light therapy stimulates collagen production in the body to help the skin restore its elasticity and push any subcutaneous fat outward.
  • Red light therapy boosts fibroblasts’ production, responsible for elastic fibers to make your skin look thicker and more invigorated. 

One study confirmed that combining red light therapy (660 nm) with near-infrared (950 nm) light and anti-cellulite gel could reduce cellulite. This study involved nine healthy females with grade II-III thigh cellulite as respondents and showed promising results [6].

In another study, twenty women aged 25-55 years participated in infrared light therapy (850 nm) and combined the regimen with treadmill training. The study showed positive effects on the reduction of cellulite and improvement of body aesthetics [7].
A study also revealed how red light therapy could reduce fat and BMI [8]. Thus, red light therapy for cellulite isn’t just a myth, but a fact supported by different clinical studies.

5. Heals Scars 

Scars are marks left after burns, wounds, injuries, and stubborn teenage acne. They remain on the skin after they’re healed. But, scars can stay permanent if left unmanaged. While some may fade over time, others never really disappear. Scars are a serious skin condition because they affect a person medically and aesthetically. 

Fortunately, red light therapy for skin also includes healing scars and improving their appearance. One study revealed that red light therapy could minimize scar formation after surgeries. By decreasing dermal fibroblast activity and stimulating normal skin growth, the results were promising [9].

6. Improves Skin Complexion

A clinical trial for red light therapy was also conducted in a small group of 136 people. The researchers revealed that red light therapy could improve skin complexion and skin texture [1].

7. Prevents baldness

Another benefit of red light therapy is preventing baldness. One study revealed that red light therapy could treat people with androgenic alopecia. Alopecia is the medical term to describe hair loss. The same study showed the improved hair counts in male respondents after a wavelength of 655 nm was applied to their scalp [10].
Another study showed how the use of red light therapy has entered the common practice of dermatologists while treating several skin inflammatory conditions and disorders linked to hair growth [11].

Summary

Red light therapy or infrared light therapy treatment is ideal for treating different skin conditions and promoting overall skin health. 

This regimen works by stimulating proper cellular function, increased collagen and fibroblast production, lowering inflammation, and promoting good blood circulation. These benefits are almost similar to near-infrared light benefits and infrared light therapy benefits. 

Nowadays, the recognition received by red light therapy for skin is overflowing, especially that this regimen can already be experienced and enjoyed at home. Red light therapy devices are safe as long as they’re handled appropriately. 

What about infrared light therapy for the face? Is infrared face treatment as reliable as red light therapy? The answer is yes. These devices will still give you the same results, and do you know what’s great about them? They’re more affordable or cost-efficient than going to aesthetic clinics and salons.


References:

  1. Wunsch A, Matuschka K. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. 2014 February 1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/
  2. Lee SY, You CE, Park MY. Blue and Red Light Combination LED Phototherapy for Acne Vulgaris in Patients with Skin Phototype IV. 2007 – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/lsm.20412
  3. Pei S et al. Light-Based Therapies in Acne Treatment. 2015 May – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4439741/
  4. Kezler A et al. Ascorbate Attenuates Red Light Mediated Vasodilation: Potential Role of S-nitrosothiols. 2019 January – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231718307092
  5. Barolet D et al. Regulation of Skin Collagen Metabolism in Vitro Using a Pulsed 660 nm LED Light Source: A Clinical Correlation with a Single-Blinded Study. 2009 December – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19587693/
  6. Sasaki GH et al. The Effectiveness and Safety of Topical PhotoActive Phosphatidylcholine-Based Anti-Cellulite Gel and LED (Red and Near-Infrared) Light on Grade II-III Thigh Cellulite: A Randomized, Double-Blinded Study. 2007 June – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17558758/
  7. Paolillo FR et al. New Treatment of Cellulite with Infrared-LED Illumination Applied During High-Intensity Treadmill Training. 2011 August – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21740089/
  8. Croghan I et al. Low-Level Laser Therapy for Weight Reduction: A Randomized Pilot Study. 2019 August 31 – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10103-019-02867-5
  9. Nguyen JK et al. A Dose-Ranging, Parallel Group, Split-Face, Single-Blind Phase II Study of Light Emitting Diode – Red Light Therapy (LED-RL) for Skin Scarring Prevention: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial. 2019 July 15 – https://ucdavis.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/a-dose-ranging-parallel-group-split-face-single-blind-phase-ii-st
  10. Lanzafame RJ et al. The Growth of Human Hair Mediated by Visible Red Light Laser and LED Sources in Males. 2013 October – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24078483/
  11. Sorbellini E, Rucco M, Rinaldi F. Photodynamic and Photobiological Effects of Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Therapy in Dermatological Disease: An Update. 2018 July 14 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6133043/

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