Red Light Therapy For Skin Health

Skin rejuvenation is the most common application of red light therapy, which includes improving skin complexion, reducing signs of aging, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reducing skin roughness, and treating chronic skin problems. Red light has also been shown to help with sun damage, sun spots, smoothing overall skin tone[1], and is used as a treatment for many chronic skin conditions, including accelerated skin aging (wrinkles and sun damage), acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.[2]

Red light therapy is a term that includes both red and NIR wavelengths. It is the most popular and most widely studied form of light treatment, due to its broad range of effects.

Skin Health

Several studies confirm the potential for using red light therapy as a way to rejuvenate the skin by increasing collagen production in the skin which gives the skin its elasticity, increasing fibroblast production which helps produce collagen and other tissue fibers, increasing circulation between blood and tissue cells, protecting cells from damage, increasing mRNA in the cells which helps stimulate the cell, improving facial texture, reducing fine lines, and reducing wrinkle severity.

Anti-Aging and Skin Rejuvenation

Every year, billions of dollars are spent on anti-aging products. Unfortunately, many of these products and treatments do not work because most of the ingredients of anti-aging products cannot penetrate the skin’s outermost layer. Procedures such as dermal fillers, botox, and dermabrasion are more effective, but many have significant drawbacks, being invasive, painful, and expensive.

On the other hand, red light therapy is generally affordable, completely safe, painless, and—most importantly—effective. RLT works by delivering safe, concentrated wavelengths of natural light to your skin, with no chemicals, UV rays, or excess heat. These wavelengths of natural light stimulate the mitochondria in your cells, reducing oxidative stress and increasing circulation, so your body is able to make more ATP energy.[3]

Red light therapy improves skin health and appearance by helping your cells rejuvenate and heal. Studies have also found an increase in circulation after a session, which indicates that tissues are receiving more oxygen and other nutrients important for healing.[4] RLT also has a proven anti-inflammatory effect and can boost your own natural collagen levels.

Sun Damage

Excess sun exposure can damage skin and make us look older, with more wrinkles and fine lines. In one study of RLT’s effects on facial sunburn damage, researchers found that 91% of participants reported improved skin tone and 82% reported enhanced smoothness of their facial skin. Red light therapy was found to be especially effective for wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes.[5]

Red light therapy can also increase collagen in improving skin roughness and wrinkles, effectively treat melasma[6], and reduce hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin synthesis.[7]

Rosacea

Rather than eliminate the symptoms of rosacea by applying an external force to destroy certain skin structures, red light therapy works by increasing energy production within your cells to allow it to use its own natural defenses to reduce symptoms and prevent flare-ups.[8] Red light therapy also has well-documented anti-inflammatory effects, which can help with rosacea.

Acne

Red light therapy is a safe and natural way to treat acne by reducing inflammation that causes acne in the first place, boosting blood flow and circulation to promote faster healing of breakouts, speed up healing, prevent scarring post-acne, and boosting collagen production which is a necessary part of the healing process.[9]

Source: Sora Shimazaki

Wounds and Scars

Red light therapy can speed up wound healing by reducing inflammation in the cells, stimulating new blood vessels to form, which doctors call angiogenesis, increasing helpful fibroblasts in the skin, increasing collagen production in the skin.[10]

Wrinkles

Collagen and elastin are the proteins that give your skin the structure and elasticity when you’re younger. As we age, our body produces less collagen and elastin, which results in fine lines, wrinkles, and papery skin. Red light therapy combats this by increasing the functioning of the mitochondria to optimize ATP production and cellular energy which allows skin cells to protect existing collagen and elastin, and by increasing collagen production which helps reverse the effects of aging.[11]

Cellulite

The key to minimizing cellulite is to increase collagen production so that (1) the connective tissue that binds skin and muscle form a firmer latticework with fewer weak spots where fat can push through, and (2) the skin becomes thicker and more elastic, which camouflages the appearance of cellulite.[12]

Red light therapy can help reduce the appearance of cellulite by increasing cellular metabolism and energy, increasing collagen production and elastin, and improving the functioning of the lymphatic system which allows excess lymph to drain out of the fat cells more efficiently.[13]

How To Use Red Light Therapy To Treat Skin Issues

There is no hard and fast rule for the duration of sessions. For some, 5 minutes is enough, while others may need longer sessions. As a rule of thumb, 10 minutes per day is a good amount of time to treat skin issues.

Generally, the closer you are to the light source, the deeper the light penetrates. For skin and other surface issues like hair growth and eye health, it’s best to position yourself a little further from your device, ideally 12-18 inches away. For deeper issues, a distance of 6 inches will be more effective. 
Generally, the closer you are to the light source, the deeper the light penetrates. For skin and other surface issues like hair growth and eye health, it’s best to position yourself a little further from your device, ideally 12-18 inches away. For deeper issues, a distance of 6 inches will be more effective. 

As to the frequency, red light therapy is safe to use every day. In fact, many people like to incorporate it into their daily routine. For the best results, we recommend having 3 sessions per week.

The key to success is consistency and patience. It’s important to remember that red light therapy is an inside-out approach that treats the root cause of skin conditions. Skin cells take about a month to regenerate and they don’t all regenerate at once, so you can expect to see results after around 1-4 months of consistent use.

Ready to have your best skin ever? Shop our red light therapy devices today!


[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

[2] Hong, S. B. & Lee M. H. Topical aminolevulinic acid-photodynamic therapy for the treatment of acne vulgaris. 2005

[3] Sommer, A. Mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase is not the primary acceptor for near-infrared light—it is mitochondrial bound water: the principles of low-level light therapy. 2019

[4] De Aubrey Chaves, M. E., De Araújo, A. R., Piancastelli, A. C. C. & Pinotti, M. Effects of low-power light therapy on wound healing: LASER x LED. 2014

[5] Baez, F. & Reilly, L. R. The use of light-emitting diode therapy in the treatment of photoaged skin. 2007

[6] Mpofana, N. & Ramhurry, C. An Investigation into the Effectiveness of Light Emitting Diodes on Treating Melasma on Skin Type VI. 2014

[7] Kim, J. M., Kim, N. H., Tian, Y. S. & Lee, A. Y. Light-emitting Diodes at 830 and 850 nm Inhibit Melanin Synthesis In vitro. 2011

[8] Hamblin, M. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. 2017

[9] Podogrotzki, J. et. al. Impact of low-level laser therapy on skin blood flow. 2016

[10] Kim, M. S. et. al Effect of 660 nm Light-Emitting Diode on the Wound Healing in Fibroblast-Like Cell Lines. 2015

[11] Mota, L. R. et. al. Efficacy of phototherapy to treat facial aging when using a red versus an amber LED: a protocol for a randomized controlled trial. 2018

[12] Paolillo, F. R. et. al. New treatment of cellulite with infrared-LED illumination applied during high-intensity treadmill training. 2011

[13] Sasaki, G. H., Oberg, K., Tucker, B. & Gaston, M. The effectiveness and safety of topical PhotoActif phosphatidylcholine-based anti-cellulite gel and LED (red and near-infrared) light on Grade II-III thigh cellulite: a randomized, double-blinded study. 2007