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Red Light Therapy: The Pros and Cons, Revealed by a Skincare Specialist

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Red Light Therapy: The Pros and Cons, Revealed by a Skincare Specialist

Red Light Therapy

A new treatment method for redness shows promise. acne, scars, wrinkles, and other indications of ageing is red light therapy (RLT). Several researchers believe additional clinical trials are necessary to prove its efficacy as a treatment. To determine if red light therapy is possible for your skin problem, consult your doctor.

“Red Light Therapy” Means What?

Red light therapy (RLT), a procedure that employs low-wavelength red light, purportedly aims to reduce the appearance of skin imperfections like wrinkles, scars, redness, and acne. It is also said to treat other medical disorders.

So far, the efficacy of red light therapy for various health purposes has been the subject of extensive online discourse, small-scale study publications, and ongoing research. Although some trials have shown encouraging results, the complete efficacy of red light treatment is still unknown.

Red light therapy goes by more names than just that:

  • Low-level laser light therapy.
  • Low-power laser treatment.
  • LED light that doesn’t generate heat.
  • A gentle laser treatment.
  • I use cold laser therapy.
  • Biostimulation, photonic stimulation.
  • Photobiomodulation and phototherapy.

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What Changed to Pique People’s Interest in Red Light Therapy?

Space plant growth and astronaut wound healing were the initial subjects of red light treatment experiments conducted by NASA. Additional possible applications started to be explored, as is typical with many advancements.

Red light treatment in photodynamic therapy has already gained widespread medical acceptance. This therapy activates a photosensitizer medication using low-power red laser light. 

Cells are killed off by a chemical reaction set off by the encounter. Some skin disorders, including psoriasis, acne, warts, and several forms of cancer, can be treated with it.

Several medical issues are now being studied or treated with RLT. More clarity and controversy arise regarding the treatment’s efficacy for the stated goals.

According to Popular Belief, Red Light Therapy…

The mitochondria, sometimes called the “power plant” of your cells, are the target of red light treatment. Other cells, such as those responsible for skin repair, new cell formation, and skin rejuvenation, can accomplish their jobs better with greater energy. Specifically, light stimulates the activity of some cells by absorbing specific wavelengths of light.

Regarding Skin Health, Red Light Therapy has the potential to:

  • The structure, strength, and suppleness of skin are provided by collagen, so it’s important to stimulate its creation.
  • Fibroblasts should increase collagen production in the skin tissue.
  • Boost the tissue’s blood flow.
  • Minimize cellular inflammation.

Which Skin Diseases Are Being Treated With Red Light Therapy?

Red Light Therapy

Some common skin conditions that red light therapy is marketed for include:

  1. Help wounds heal faster.
  2. Lessen the appearance of stretch marks
  3. Skin becomes less wrinkled, fine, and aged.
  4. Elevate the texture of the face.
  5. Eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis can all be improved.
  6. Make scars better.
  7. Help skin that has been sunburned.
  8. Encourage new hair development in androgenic alopecia patients.
  9. Clear up acne.

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Is The Red Light Treatment Working?

When asked whether RLT is effective for all its stated uses, most experts said they have yet to learn. They agree that additional research is necessary but that the published studies suggest some promise for specific illnesses. 

Interest in red light therapy is rising since it is a relatively new treatment option. However, the evidence for most usage currently needs to be improved.

When determining whether a product works, a randomized, placebo-controlled study is the way to go. This means that for the same medical problem, a predetermined number of individuals who are similar to one another in terms of age, weight, race, gender, etc., will get either the active treatment under investigation or a placebo, sometimes known as a “sham” treatment. 

A comparison to another widely used treatment is also included in some studies. The next step is to compare the results of the emerging treatment to those of a “current standard” treatment or a control group that receives no treatment (the placebo group).

Several published RLT studies lacked a control group, used animals instead of humans, used very small sample sizes, or focused solely on cell tissue. Most researchers agree that preliminary results are encouraging, but higher-quality trials including larger samples are necessary.

Might I Safely Use Red Light Therapy?

Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy seems safe and has no negative effects when used as instructed for a short period. Compared to other topical skin treatments, this is milder, less intrusive, and less harmful. Unlike the sun’s or tanning salons’ carcinogenic ultraviolet (UV) radiation, RLT doesn’t use this light.

However, skin or eyes (if not protected) could be hurt if products are used improperly, such as too frequently or not as directed. It is still unknown whether devices that use red light therapy are safe to use over the long term.

Your best bet is to consult a dermatologist or a cosmetic therapist with the proper training and experience. 

By seeing a dermatologist, you can confirm that the skin problem you’re experiencing is real and learn more about the benefits of red light therapy and other treatments.

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Is it a Safe and Reasonable Alternative to Buy Equipment for Use at Home?

If you look around online, you might discover a lot of goods that use red light therapy. Compared to devices used by dermatologists and other qualified skin specialists, these goods may employ a lower wavelength frequency, rendering them less effective, but they are typically safe to use. As a result, you could not achieve your desired outcomes.

Before buying a red light therapy device, protect your eyes by wearing eyewear, read and carefully follow all instructions, and keep the gadget in pristine condition.

Spas, salons, saunas, tanning salons, fitness facilities, and wellness centres may advertise RLT in addition to medical offices and at-home devices.

 Watch out for the people providing you with supplies and the clinics you visit. When you have a skin problem, it’s wise to consult a doctor about the best course of treatment.

Is Red Light Treatment Being Advocated for Any Other Medical Issues Besides These?

Also being considered for possible medical applications are the following:

  • To lessen the likelihood of oral mucositis and other adverse effects of cancer treatment.
  • Acute tendinitis of the ankle, inflammatory arthritis of the knee, carpal tunnel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis can all benefit from this.
  • The goal is to stop the herpes simplex virus from causing cold sores again.
  • The internet is promoting a plethora of additional uses. Red light treatment has not been proven to be effective in treating cancer, cellulite, weight reduction, or mental health issues.

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Before Deciding on Red Light Therapy, Many Factors Must be Considered:

Red Light Therapy

Does my health insurance cover RLT? Insurance companies usually don’t cover red light therapy. It is a good idea to call your health insurance provider before you go to the doctor.

  • How many sessions do I anticipate requiring? Ongoing therapy may be necessary for you. For the majority of skin issues, this is not a temporary fix. You should expect to see a doctor once, twice, or thrice weekly for weeks- 
  • If not months. Would more touch-up treatments be necessary, too? It can end up costing a lot of money and taking a long time.
  • Am I going to get the results I want? Results may vary because everyone’s skin is unique. There is a spectrum of red light sources with varying wavelengths. How far light travels through your skin is dependent on its wavelength. The difference between a red light device used in a medical facility and one used at home may be in the wavelength, which could impact the outcome you’re hoping for.
  • Can you trust the red light therapist’s years of experience? 
  • For instance, would you feel more at ease getting this therapy at a tanning salon, or would you prefer to see a doctor first?
  • Would red light therapy be helpful for my skin problem? Would my skin condition be better served by alternative methods that have been more thoroughly tested by science? 

Make an appointment with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and talk about your treatment choices.


  • In most cases, RLT is extremely safe and will not cause discomfort. However, experts remain unsure whether RLT is beneficial for cancer treatment.
  • Research suggests that RLT may help manage the unpleasant side effects of cancer treatments, according to most researchers.
  • Using RLT devices has been associated with blistering, burns, and lesions. Burns occurred in a few individuals:
  • Due to corrosion or broken wires, the gadget should be removed from the bed after 30 minutes.
  • Additionally, harm to the eyes could occur. While red light therapy (RLT) with LEDs is less harmful to the eyes than with conventional lasers, it is still important to wear protective eyewear.

What is the Price?

Red Light Therapy

  • Insurance does not cover LED light treatment. Therefore, to make an informed budget, you must inquire about all expenses in advance.
  • A session can cost $25 to $85.according to user-reported prices on RealSelf.com; the exact amount will vary by region and whether or not you’re combining treatments.
  • When comparing the prices of various aestheticians, remember that many recommend a course of up to 10 sessions.
  • Price ranges for home gadgets can be as high as $250. Since you may keep the LED device and use it for other treatments, this could be less expensive than the other alternative.
  •  The outcomes, though, are less striking.
  • The key to LED light therapy is its non-invasiveness. If you take time off from work, you won’t lose any money.

The Mechanism

The application of LED light therapy to the skin is well-established. In the 1990s, it was used by U.S. Navy SEALs to aid in the rapid healing of wounds and the regeneration of injured muscles.

Aesthetic applications of the treatment have been the subject of research ever since. A major benefit is the enhancement of collagen and other tissues. The following are some of how these things might help your skin look healthier and less damaged:

Wrinkles, Acne, Ageing Spots

When treating with LED light, there are a variety of frequencies, or wavelengths, to choose from. The skin is very permeable to red and blue light wavelengths, which do not include UV radiation.

Warning Flashing Red

outer layer of skin is treated with red or infrared radiation. The skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis, absorbs light and uses it to activate collagen production.

It stands to reason that increased collagen production would lead to fuller, smoother skin, which in turn would diminish the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines. It is believed that red LED light can improve circulation and decrease inflammation, all of which contribute to a healthier glow.

Luminous Blue Therapy

  • Conversely, the sebaceous glands—also known as oil glands—are the focus of blue LED light treatment. You can find them under your hair follicles.
  • Sebaceous glands are essential for preventing dry skin and hair. However, excessive activity of these glands can cause acne and greasy skin.
  • The prevailing belief is that the oil glands can be selectively inhibited by using blue LED light treatment. Less acne may appear as a result. In addition to alleviating mild to severe acne, blue light has the added benefit of killing the germs that cause cysts and nodules that lie just under the skin’s surface.

Combining blue and red LED lights is a common practice for many reasons, including:

  • for the treatment of acne
  • soothe inflammation and lessen the appearance of scars
  • A 2018 study using animals indicated that third-degree skin burns healed more quickly when treated with blue LEDs.

Application of Light-Emitting Diode Therapy

Red Light Therapy

According to EstheticianEDU, the average duration of an LED light therapy session is twenty minutes. You need ten sessions for your desired outcome.

Depending on your provider, you may be asked to lie down under the lights or given a wand that is infused with LEDs to rub against your skin. The treatment area and the office are two factors that commonly influence the choice.

Performing at Home

You can still attempt LED light treatment in the comfort of your home if you cannot travel to a healthcare provider’s office. At-home devices typically take the shape of face masks or wands that may be used for extended periods. Pay close attention to the directions provided by the manufacturer.

Specific Locations

The face is the most common area for LED light treatment, although it can be used on any body area in theory. The skin on your face is more likely to get damaged than other parts of your body due to the time you spend outdoors.

Additional places that often display indications of ageing that can be treated with LED therapy include the neck and chest.

Anticipated Outcomes Following Therapy

Red Light Therapy

LED light treatment is noninvasive, so there is no downtime associated with it. After your treatment, you should be fine with carrying on with your regular routine.

Up to ten sessions, spaced approximately one week apart, may be necessary for in-office LED light treatment. 

After the first session, you might notice some small improvements. Once all of your treatments are complete, you should expect much more dramatic and apparent results.

Your outcomes will be temporary, even after you have completed the prescribed amount of sessions.

Collagen loss and the return of other indications of ageing may occur as your skin’s cells undergo cell turnover. 

You might also notice that you’re breaking out in acne. This is why your provider may advise you to return for maintenance treatments at regular intervals.

Due to the lower light frequencies, home LED light therapy treatments do not have the same dramatic results. The directions provided by the manufacturer should be followed.

Brief Summaries

Light-emitting diode (LED) therapy, which encompasses both red and blue light, is a method for improving the skin’s appearance.

NASA created it for plant growth research aboard space shuttles, but they eventually realized it could also be useful for treating wounds. Many aestheticians are turning to LED light treatment to combat skin ageing and treat acne.

Your dermatologist may recommend a red or blue light treatment for your skin condition. Red is more commonly associated with anti-ageing products, whereas blue is more commonly used to cure acne.

The absence of UV radiation in LEDs makes them a safe alternative to traditional light therapy methods. Hence, they are risk-free for everyday usage.


Let me explain what red light therapy is.

Psoriasis is one of several skin disorders that can benefit from red light therapy, which employs low-level red light wavelengths. Research on red light therapy has shown encouraging outcomes. This could happen:

  • bolster the process of wound healing and tissue repair
  • alleviate chronic pain, inflammation, psoriasis, and burn scars
  • brighten the skin tone
  • alleviate the negative consequences of certain cancer therapies

However, further clinical trials are required to determine its complete efficacy.

Is red light therapy effective?

It is recommended that you see a medical professional regarding your individual treatment needs before beginning RLT.

RLT is becoming more popular due to its purported advantages, which include a decrease in inflammation and the appearance of ageing indications. However, the scientific community is divided.

There is conflicting evidence on the impact of RLT on cancer treatment. One study from 2018 (suggests that it may alleviate painful side effects, while another study from 2019 adds that it may actually increase aggressive cancer cells and tumour recurrences.

Additionally, many clinical experiments have used rats as test subjects instead of human beings.

Does red light therapy not apply to certain people?

Avoiding red light therapy is an option for some people with cancer or a family history of the disease. According to a 2019 study, red light therapy can increase the aggressiveness of cancer cells. There may be advantages, but further study is required to determine them.

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Are there any drawbacks to red light therapy?

Red light therapy can potentially cause burns or blisters if used for more than 30 minutes or if the device or any of its components are damaged. Also, insurance usually won’t pay for red light therapy, so you might have to pay cash.

Concerns over red light therapy’s potential side effects and effectiveness in treating cancer have prevented researchers from reaching an agreement.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If you enjoyed it, please consider following me on Medium and LinkedIn and subscribing to my website newsletter for more stories in various categories. Have a great day!

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