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How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Conditions like skin diseases can have adverse psychological impacts on your mental well-being and may lead to social isolation, more depressive symptoms and loneliness. Most times, the impacts of skin conditions are often underestimated than other fatal diseases like cancer. Additionally, skin disorders like acne, eczema and psoriasis[1] can significantly affect the quality of your life.

However, there are various treatment options available for you. One such option is red light therapy (RLT), thought to have more potential in treating skin disorders and aging signs. This article highlights how red-light therapy works, if this treatment method is effective and safe, and more.

So, what is Red Light Therapy?

Though Red Light Therapy is an emerging treatment and shows promise in treating redness, wrinkles, scars, acne, and other aging signs. This type of therapy uses Low Wavelength Red Light to improve your skin’s appearance and treat other medical conditions. It exposes your skin to near-infrared light or infrared light.

To date, researches, discussions and small study publications are still ongoing about the effectiveness of the Red Light Therapy to all health users. Some studies have shown massive potential in RLT through the full length of its benefits are yet to be determined. But if you are keen on using Red Light Therapy, consult with your doctor beforehand.

You can also refer to red light therapy as:

  • Low-level laser light therapy.
  • Low-power laser therapy.
  • Non-thermal LED light.
  • Soft laser therapy.
  • Cold laser therapy.
  • Biostimulation, photonic stimulation.
  • Photobiomodulation and phototherapy.

The Red-light Therapy Evolution

Originally, NASA began using Red Light Therapy to help treat astronaut wounds and plant growth in space. Like so many developments and innovations, researchers began investigating the potential of RLT in treating different health conditions.

Today, RLT is widely accepted for its use in photodynamic therapy[2]. In this type of therapy, Low-power Red Laser Light activates the photosensitizer drug, creating a chemical reaction that destroys cells. Photodynamic therapy treats skin conditions like warts, acne, psoriasis, cancer and other types of cancer.

How Red-Light Therapy Supposedly Works

Your body has numerous cells that have mitochondria – known as the “power plant.” Red Light Therapy acts on the mitochondria, increases their energy and enables other cells to work more efficiently to enhance skin rejuvenation and boost the growth of new cells.

Additionally, certain cells in your body absorb light wavelengths and gain more energy to work. RLT works in skin health to:

  • Increase the production of fibroblast, which creates collagen.
  • Stimulate collagen production: collagen gives the skin strength, structure and elasticity. This is because collagen is part of the connective tissues.
  • Reduce the inflammation in cells
  • Increase blood circulation to the tissues

Researchers are investing in other potential medical uses of RLT like:

  • Reducing side effects of cancer chemotherapy like oral mucositis.
  • Relieving inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, ankle tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and knee osteoarthritis.
  • Preventing the recurrence of cold sores from herpes simplex virus

Skin Conditions Researchers are Trying Red Light Therapy on

Researchers are promoting red light therapy to treat several common skin conditions. This includes to:

  • Improve acne
  • Reduce stretch marks
  • Enhance facial texture
  • Reduce wrinkles, and age spots.
  • Improve psoriasis, eczema and rosacea.
  • Enhance wound healing
  • Improve sun-damaged skin.
  • Improve scars
  • Improve hair growth in cases of androgenic alopecia.

Is Red Light Therapy Effective?

Most researchers are stating that they are not sure yet if Red Light Therapy is effective for all its acclaimed uses. Most of them say that the studies conducted so far are promising though more studies should be conducted. Red Light Therapy is an emerging treatment that has garnered much interest. However, there is not enough evidence supporting most uses.

This is because most studies involving RLT included only a small number of people, didn’t have a control group, were limited to cell tissue and were conducted in animals. So far, the results look promising though there is a need to try Red Light Therapy with a larger group of people.

Is Red Light Therapy Safe?

Users have not reported potential side effects caused by Red light therapy if used within a short time and as directed. RLT appears safe to use, not invasive, harsh or toxic like some other topical skin medications. RLT doesn’t use toxic wavelengths like cancer-causing ultraviolet light (UV)[3] from tanning booths or the sun.

However, there is always a chance of misusing Red Light Therapy either by ignoring instructions or using it too often. In these cases, you can develop skin or eye damage if you don’t wear protection. Furthermore, studies do not know if red light therapy devices are safe for long-term use.

Hence, consult with a trained and qualified cosmetics therapist or a dermatologist before using Red Light Therapy. Doing so ensures that you are well aware of your skin condition and discover the benefits of Red Light Therapy and available treatment options.

Are Red Light Therapy Devices Safe for At-home Use?

There are many stores online that sell red light therapy devices that are safe. However, they may have a low wavelength frequency or are less powerful than those used by trained skin professionals.

It is also crucial to understand that wrong use or misinterpreted instructions can lead to side effects. Ensure to shield your eyes and skin for protection, take good care of the RLT device and follow all instructions.

Additionally, salons, beauty spars, tanning salons, saunas, wellness centers and gyms may promote RLT devices for at-home and medical office-based use. However, be cautious where you get your supplies and receive treatment. It’s always safe to ask advice from medical professionals about your skin issues than just self-medicating.

The Bottom Line

Red Light Therapy might be an emerging treatment method, but it holds much promise. If you are interested in using Red-light therapy to treat your skin condition, first talk to your doctor or dermatologist. Your doctor will ensure that you understand your condition better and advise you on the available treatment methods.

Also, remember to use Red Light Therapy devices as instructed and wear protection.

Important Resources


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/psoriasis/index.htm

[2] https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/photodynamic-therapy

[3] https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/health-effects-uv-radiation

Samuel

Samuel

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At Redbeam Therapy, our mission is simple, we want to make people stronger, more balanced, happier, and ultimately healthier through harnessing the power of light and innovation. We’re built from the endless pursuit to heal the human body and optimize it to its fullest potential so life can be enjoyable.

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