Red Light Therapy for Wrinkles…Sounds Too Good to Be True
If you’ve been reading all the marketing info manufacturers put out about red light therapy, you’ve probably noticed how unrealistic some of the claims are. I mean, if all of this were true, why isn’t red light therapyfor wrinklesmore well-known?
I could launch into a opinionated tangentabout how a mixture of intellectual property laws and FDA regulations make it unprofitable (and in some cases, impossible) for businesses to sell affordable red light therapy bulbs and devices, but I’ll contain myself. Suffice it to say that without patent protection, there is often insufficient profit incentive for businesses to shell out for the FDA’s costlyapplication and registration fees. And red light therapy itself is not patent-able, as it was discovered by NASA and has been around for decades.
Now, what really matters when it comes to red light therapy for skin is: is there scientific evidence showing it works? The answer is yes.
A lot of the red light therapy products available make outrageous claims. They say they can erase wrinkles and fine lines, make your skin glow, bring back firmness and elasticity. But do they deliver? Indeed, if a bulb or device is properly designed, it can do all of these things and more. The key is finding a product with the right attributes. And like many things of this nature, results seem to vary from person to person. I’ve received emails from people raving about how much of a difference they could see after one use. I’ve also received messages saying it didn’t do anything for them. Fortunately, out of thousands of sales, I can still count the latter on one hand. Anyway, my point is that in general, red light therapy works for skin rejuvenation, wrinkles, fine lines, thinning skin, sagging skin, enlarged pores, and many other signs of aging.
How Red Light Therapy for WrinklesWorks
Red light therapy has more than one mechanism of action. Here are some of the effects it has, which are believed to be the reasons that red light therapy works for wrinkles and other anti-aging objectives.
#1: Red Light Therapy Increases Blood Flow
It increases circulation to the area, bringing oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the skin, which is often a last priority to the body as we age. It encourages the formation of new capillaries. In the short run, this will give you a healthful glow. In the long run, your skin can use this to rebuild and repair itself. Most of us have been told that older skin doesn’t repair…this is nonsense. It just isn’t as efficient and doesn’t have as good of blood flow to power the process. The good thing is that rarely can you go wrong by encouraging good circulation. The one exception that comes to mind is encouraging blood flow to a swollen, recently injured area. Don’t do that without a doctor’s direct supervision.
#2: Red Light Therapy Increases Lymph Drainage and Circulation
Good lymph circulation is not only good for your health. It’s good for your skin. It reduces swelling and puffiness. If you have Lyme disease/Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophicans, this is a particularly helpful benefit.
#3: Red Light Therapy Promotes Collagen and Fibroblast Production
There it is…the holy grail of anti-aging products: collagen production. It is reduced the older we get and it can be pretty darned difficult to get it back. Collagen is the foundation of theskin, making it firm, full and elastic. Solid collagen structure is associated with having less (or no) cellulite and with having smooth skin in general. It may take some time- think about 2 to 3 months of consistent red light therapy treatments- but your collagen and fibroblasts can be revived!
#4: Red Light Therapy Causes ATP Release
Remember back in biology class when they said that ATP is the basic unit of energy for a cell? That’s the ATP we’re talking about here. And it matters because ATP is usually the rate-limiting factor in most cellular processes. Without it, skin cells cannot carry out their rebuilding and repair functions. As we age, skin cells get less and less energy.
One hugely important effect of red light therapy is that is provides this energy for the cell. Cells then utilize it to spruce things up and get rid of waste…and it shows in your skin.
Anti-Aging Benefits ofRed Light Therapy
As far as anti-aging efforts go, red light therapy can accomplish quite a bit. Here are some of the effects it can have:
- Gives the skin a healthy glow
- Makes skin smoother
- Reduces the number and/or severity of wrinkles and fine lines
- Fades crow’s feet
- Improves under-eye circles that were a result of thinning skin
- Reduces marionette and laugh lines
- Speeds up the healing of skin wounds, like those from acne or cystic acne
- Improves redness, inflammation, pimples and pustules from rosacea
- Reverses sun damage
- Heals and improves the appearance of broken capillaries and telangiectasias
- Improves the appearance and smoothness of scars
- Reduces the severity of stretch marks
- Encourages well-nourished, moisture-rich skin
- Stimulates hair growth
Honestly, the list of potential uses is much longer. That makes sense when you think about how red light therapy works. It gives your cells free energy. Think of all the processes cells carry out. No wonder red light therapy has so many benefits and uses.
Trying Red Light Therapy for Anti-Aging
One of the ways you can test how does red light therapy workis through a professional, such as a dermatologist or aesthetician. Some places to look include doctor’s offices, med-spas, day spas and salons. Some gyms and tanning salons are also now offering red light therapy (I believe I’ve heard that Planet Fitness offers full-body red light therapy).
There are a few advantages to having a pro do your treatments:
- It can be a relaxing, revitalizing spa experience.
- You can choose someone knowledgeable and skilled at doing or overseeing the treatments. This is helpful if you are new to red light therapy or have a lot of questions.
- You don’t have to commit. You can try the treatments without buying a product outright.
Yes, of course I am biased. I prefer doing my own red light therapy treatments at home. This is a good thing, since I do light therapy of one variety or another every day. I use it to regulate my circadian rhythm, for near-infrared sauna and of course, to improve how my skin looks and feels. In my opinion, these are some of the benefits of doing at-home red light therapy:
- Your bulb or device can be yours alone. If you’re concerned about bacteria, you have direct control over how your product is cleaned and cared for, and whether you allow anyone else to use it.
- It’s convenient. Personally, I am usually too busy and too cheap to go somewhere and pay someone to lay around for 15-30 minutes and stare at their walls. I’m far happier grabbing my bulb when it’s convenient.
- It’s cheaper. A lot of pros will try to tell you that their devices are the only ones that work, that their devices are more powerful or that you need a professional to administer red light therapy. I don’t necessarily agree with those statements across the board. What’s more likely is the device’s marketing department has to cook up these sorts of explanations as justifications for the device’s high price tag. Don’t be fooled- look at the facts and numbers yourself to determine if their device really is better than what you could buy for at-home use.
- Way more treatments. Unless you buy a product with limited uses, such as Illumask, you can get far more treatments if you buy your own bulb or device for at-home use.
The FDA’s Take on Red Light Therapy
Let’s skip my personal (overall negative) opinion on the FDA. For the purposes of this section, let’s pretend they are a valid, reliable guardian of public safety that makes sure the best treatments are available to US consumers.
The FDA has approved many red light therapy devices for reducing and eliminating wrinkles. It has also approved/cleared it for many other uses.
Types of Red Light Therapy Bulbs and Devices
One of the most common options are relatively small, hand-held devices. These travel well and are usually good for spot-treatment. Compared to larger machines, they can be more affordable. The downsides are that you have to hold them on your skin and you might have to move them around constantly (depending on the device). You can only treat one small area at a time and at that rate, doing your whole face can take a while. Forget about doing your neck or hands or décolleté.
A similar option- which is my own personal favorite- is the red light therapy bulb. With these, you have the benefits of hand-held devices, but you can avoid most of the downsides. For instance, they are usually pretty affordable. They travel well. You are free to choose your own lamp type, so you could avoid having to hold it on your skin with your hand. You can choose larger sizes to cover a bigger treatment area at one time. Most of them do not require constant motion.
The third most popular option are red light therapy panels. These are often meant for hands-free use and are usually big enough to do your entire face at once. The cons are that they are kind of pricey, take up a lot of space and you can’t travel with them.
What Red Light Therapy is Like
Red light therapy for collagen and wrinkles is different depending on the product (or professional treatment) you use. In general, this is what most red light therapy treatments are like:
- First you’ll need to wash your skin.
- The light will be on your skin anywhere from a minute to 20 minutes. It may touch the skin or it may be a few inches away. (In the case of near-infrared light therapy, you’ll be further away from the bulb or device.)
- It’s bright. You should wear eye protection to shield your eyes from the brightness.
- Most people report that it feels very calming and soothing.
- No pain is involved. At no time should you feel uncomfortable.
- You may be able to accelerate your results by using compatible treatments, such as microneedling or topical application of green tea extract, which has been shown to amplify results of red light therapy treatment.
- Basically, you just sit there and let the light do its job.
What to Expect
I’m sure you’ve been checking out before and after red light therapy photos. But results vary from person to person, so you may be wondering what you should expect from trying red light therapy.
Expect results to take time. While some people do see immediate results, most need to do red light therapy treatments for at least several weeks- if not several months.
Expect to be looking so hard you miss it. Since results are gradual and happen over time, you might not notice some of the changes in your skin. Be prepared for this and take photos before you start. If you’d like to share your before and after red light therapy photos on RedLightTherapy.US, contact me.
Can you use red light therapy around eyes? ›
Red and Infrared Laser Therapy and LED light therapy have proven effective at eliminating puffiness around the eyes. Red 660nm monochromatic light from a laser triggers the body to produce new skin cells and collagen causing the skin around the eye to become noticeably smoother.Does red light therapy get rid of wrinkles? ›
Red light therapy—often combined with infrared light—is a “non-invasive method of decreasing fine lines and wrinkles as well as increasing skin firmness, elasticity and texture,” Dr. Glassman explains. The light therapy works by helping your body produce more of the proteins that give your skin its bounce and firmness.How often should you do red light therapy on your face? ›
You may need a treatment each week for about a month. Then you might need maintenance treatments every month or every few months. Some at-home devices may also require a substantial time commitment. You might need to use your device twice a day for 30 to 60 minutes for four to five weeks.What color light therapy is best for wrinkles? ›
BLUE LIGHT THERAPY
Blue light activates chemicals inside these bacteria, which ruptures their outer walls– destroying the cell and their ability to form acne and other imperfections. Rosacea, psoriasis, wrinkles and sun damage are all ideal candidates for Blue Light Therapy treatments.
Red light therapy is a safe, natural way to protect your vision and heal your eyes from damage and strain, as shown in numerous peer-reviewed clinical studies.Do you have to wear goggles during red light therapy? ›
A: It is not required that you wear eye protection, nevertheless the lights are very bright and may be uncomfortable for some individuals with sensitivities to light. Q: Is Red Light Therapy similar to tanning? A: No not at all. You will not get a tan from Red Light Therapy, nor does it expose you to damaging UV rays.Is there any downside to red light therapy? ›
Red light therapy is considered safe and painless. However, there have been reports of burns and blistering from using RLT units. A few people developed burns after falling asleep with the unit in place, while others experienced burns due to broken wires or device corrosion.How long does red light therapy take to reduce wrinkles? ›
It may not be instant but after each day, you and other people will notice the difference in your skin. In clinical studies, it takes at least 4-6 weeks to see visible results. Be patient. Your body is doing its work to reverse the hands of time.Is red light therapy a gimmick? ›
There's no scientific evidence to support red light therapy use in weight loss, cancer, cellulite removal or mental health concerns like depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).Should I put anything on my skin before red light therapy? ›
Guide to Preparing Your Skin for Red Light Therapy
Treat your skin nicely—avoid irritating your skin with aggressive exfoliant products or sun exposure. Clean your skin with a gentle, non-drying cleanser before treatment to remove any mineral-based sunscreen or makeup containing zinc.
What time of day is best to use red light therapy? ›
In the morning: Using red light therapy in the morning, similar to the sunrise, suppresses melatonin (the sleep hormone) and gives you the energy to start the day. In the evening: Using red light therapy in the evening at least 60 minutes before bed (1-2 hours before seems to be optimal).Does red light therapy help cellulite? ›
Clinical Research Shows Red Light Therapy Reduces Fat and Helps with Weight ManagementRed light therapy's positive effects on fat and cellulite loss, obesity control, and cosmetic body enhancement have been seen in numerous clinical trials in recent years.Which LED light is best for anti-aging? ›
Red LED light stimulates collagen and elastin which can help with anti-aging,” explains esthetician, makeup, and beauty expert Tiara Willis, whose work is centered around treating skin of color.Can you do red light therapy twice a day? ›
Can you use light therapy twice a day? While it is possible to do RED Light Therapy twice a day, it is recommended once per day.Can you do red light therapy at home? ›
Infrared Light Therapy at home is just as effective as going to a salon or spa which has a Red Light Therapy Panel. The beauty of LED Light Therapy is that it is a non-invasive skin procedure. This means the treatment is painless and super easy to do at home.What does red light do to your brain? ›
The theory is that red light wavelengths stimulate the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps you sleep. Your brain releases more melatonin as darkness falls and tends to release less when you're exposed to light.How can I protect my eyes from red light therapy? ›
When it comes to goggles, “the best possible type of eye protection is a blackout goggle which basically does not allow any light through. These glasses or goggles can be more of an oversized shield fit to cover the orbital region and block any and all potentially harmful or degenerative rays from the eyes,” she says.Can red light therapy damage your skin? ›
Red light therapy uses very low levels of heat and doesn't hurt or burn the skin. It's not the same type of light used in tanning booths, and it doesn't expose your skin to damaging UV rays.Should I shower before or after red light therapy? ›
It's really best if customers shower right before their sessions and remove all traces of moisturizers, using a mild cleanser. By removing the extra layer of lotion on the surface of the skin, the red light can penetrate more evenly and efficiently.Does red light therapy help weight loss? ›
The bottom line. Red light therapy is also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT). It's a type of body sculpting that may help you get rid of stubborn fat. Most research shows that red light therapy removes some fat from your waist and arms, but results are modest at best.
What does red light therapy do for your face? ›
Red light therapy (RLT) aims to solve skin issues by using low wavelength red light. Many experts believe that it can help with issues such as skin conditions, scarring, and signs of aging — including wrinkles and age spots. There is some evidence to back up many of these claims, but RLT is no miracle cure.What is the difference between red light therapy and infrared? ›
Infrared penetrates deeply while red light works on the surface of the skin. Red Light LED produces its effects by stimulating collagen production because 700nm wavelength of Red light therapy is optimal for Collagen I production. While penetrating the skin, Red light LED: Reduces wrinkles.Is red light therapy FDA approved? ›
“Red Light Therapy is a clinically studied, FDA-approved treatment that can improve the appearance of skin if you have acne, scars, wrinkles, and other visible signs of aging,” says Shane Miller, a licensed esthetician and the owner of the popular Instagram account @howtohydrate.How long do the effects of red light therapy last? ›
Chronic skin disorders
The treatment can also reduce the appearance of skin wounds, stretch marks, and mild scars. Sessions should last 10 to 20 minutes, occur three to five times a week, and continue for one to four months.
“An at-home device can cost anywhere from $165 to $60,000 (such as a LightStim bed panel),” says Aguilar.Do LED lights work wrinkles? ›
Red LED light may improve scarring and signs of aging, such as wrinkles. It may do this by acting on fibroblasts, which are skin cells that are responsible for collagen production.Is it bad to have red lights on at night? ›
Red light has no effect on the circadian clock, so you can use a dim red light at night. Yellow and orange light have little effect on the clock so you can use a very dim yellow or orange light at night.Is it OK to do red light therapy everyday? ›
Can you do red light therapy everyday? The answer is yes. As long as you are following the manufacturers instructions, you can use red light therapy everyday. If you have chronic pain, it's recommended to start a daily routine with using red light therapy.Do you wear clothes in red light therapy? ›
Red light can only be absorbed by your skin when fully exposed. You can wear clothes during your treatment, or you can be nude. Be sure any clothing does not cover the area of the body you're treating.Should you wash your face after light therapy? ›
Washing your face the evening of your treatment is recommended as long as a gentle cleanser is used along with warm water. You can do this gently twice a day, ensuring to pat your skin dry afterward with a clean towel.
How long does it take for light therapy to work? ›
Start light therapy in the early morning, as soon as possible after awakening (between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.). Response usually starts in a few days, and by two weeks the symptoms should be definitely improving.Is red light good for hair growth? ›
Previous studies have indicated that 650-nm red light is the most effective and practical way for stimulating hair growth via LLLT treatment.Can you use retinol with red light therapy? ›
Vlog: RETINOL & LED LIGHT THERAPY?| Dr Dray - YouTubeDoes infrared break down fat? ›
Infrared energy and heat can penetrate the skin 1.5 inches and can accelerate the fat burning process. Fat breaks down and becomes water soluble at approximately 100.5 degrees fahrenheit. At that temperature fat breaks into particles.Does red light therapy thicken skin? ›
A German study found that, after 30 sessions over 15 weeks, RLT patients saw improved skin rejuvenation, smoothness and collagen density; while a smaller US study of RLT on sun-damaged skin, administered 9 times over 5 weeks, revealed thicker collagen fibers resulting in a softer, smoother and firmer appearance.How often should you do red light therapy at Planet Fitness? ›
However, there are clear instructions about the time of use. The manufacturer recommends using Beauty Angel 2-3 times a week for 12 minutes for 90 days and leaving a gap of 24 hours between sessions. According to those who have already tried the unit, the best results are achieved in the period from 8 to 12 weeks.Which red light is best? ›
Generally speaking, red light wavelengths penetrate the skin and promote collagen production as well as wound healing. Near-infrared light, on the other hand, can go deeper, which enables it to target deeper wounds, joint, or muscle pain.Which light therapy is best for face? ›
“Red light therapy has a longer wavelength that penetrates deeper into the skin and helps reduce inflammation and redness,” says Dr. Anetta Rezsko, a New York City-based dermatologist. “It has also been shown to increase collagen and elastin synthesis and therefore reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”Does LED light stimulate collagen? ›
Red LED light stimulates collagen, which is important for healing wounds. People who have had surgery for skin resurfacing have also had red LED light therapy after the procedure. Studies have found that this form of light therapy lowers redness, swelling, and bruising, and speeds up the healing process.How much red light is too much? ›
Very Important Warning. There is a sweet spot for treatment with red light. The maximum amount of time you should expose your body to this concentrated red light is 15-20 minutes a day. MORE IS NOT BETTER!
Is all red light the same? ›
The only difference between them is the size of their wavelengths; the longer the wavelength, the deeper it penetrates the skin. These wavelengths are measured in nanometers (nm), with red light ranging from 630nm to 660nm, and NIR ranging from 810nm to 850nm.How often should you do red light therapy on your face? ›
You may need a treatment each week for about a month. Then you might need maintenance treatments every month or every few months. Some at-home devices may also require a substantial time commitment. You might need to use your device twice a day for 30 to 60 minutes for four to five weeks.How long does red light therapy take to see results? ›
How long does it take to see results when doing red light therapy? Every individual may respond differently to specific treatments and results will also depend on the goal you want to achieve. However, with daily use, you should be able to see improvements in 4 to 6 weeks.Can you put red light directly on skin? ›
All in all, red light therapy can be used on all skin types, including the most sensitive, and the science behind it is promising.Does red light help with dark circles? ›
Red light revives the youthful appearance of skin, yellow works on dullness and dark circles, while orange is a power combination of both.Is near infrared light safe for eyes? ›
NIR light is safe but effective. Within near-infrared wavelengths, light can penetrate eyes at maximal level, but absorption of light by cornea and lens is at minimal level (approximately 10%) 95. The neurons from retina require high energy, or mitochondrial ATP to satisfy tissue requirements 96-98.What should I put on my face before red light therapy? ›
Red light therapy helps your skin absorb creams and serums, making post-PBMT the right time to apply anti-aging products, moisturizers, and other cosmetic products. Before applying heavier moisturizers, start with serums and eye creams, which are lightweight and often contain concentrated doses of active ingredients.What kind of red light is good for your eyes? ›
"We demonstrate that one single exposure to long-wave deep red light in the morning can significantly improve declining vision, which is a major health and well-being issue, affecting millions of people globally," Jeffery, a professor at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, said in a university news release.How can I protect my eyes from red light therapy? ›
When it comes to goggles, “the best possible type of eye protection is a blackout goggle which basically does not allow any light through. These glasses or goggles can be more of an oversized shield fit to cover the orbital region and block any and all potentially harmful or degenerative rays from the eyes,” she says.Which LED light is best for skin tightening? ›
7 White light penetrates the deepest and works to tighten skin and reduce inflammation, while amber stimulates collagen and elastin.
What are the benefits of red light therapy? ›
- Improve wound healing.
- Reduce stretch marks.
- Reduce wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
- Improve facial texture.
- Improve psoriasis, rosacea and eczema.
- Improve scars.
- Improve sun-damaged skin.
Red light therapy is generally considered safe, even though researchers aren't exactly sure how and why it works. And there are no set rules on how much light to use. Too much light may damage skin tissue, but too little might not work as well.What is the difference between red light therapy and infrared light therapy? ›
Red light is visible and is most effective for use on the surface of the skin. Red light occupies the “long end” of the visible spectrum with wavelengths of 630nm-700nm. Infrared light is invisible and is effective for use on the surface of the skin as well as penetration of about 1.5 inches into the body.What is the difference between red and infrared light? ›
Red light is visible and is most effective for use on the surface of the skin. Red light occupies the “long end” of the visible spectrum with wavelengths of 630nm-700nm. Infrared light is invisible and is effective for use on the surface of the skin and penetration of about 1.5 inches into the body.How long does it take to see results with red light therapy? ›
How long does it take to see results when doing red light therapy? Every individual may respond differently to specific treatments and results will also depend on the goal you want to achieve. However, with daily use, you should be able to see improvements in 4 to 6 weeks.Is it OK to do red light therapy everyday? ›
Can you do red light therapy everyday? The answer is yes. As long as you are following the manufacturers instructions, you can use red light therapy everyday. If you have chronic pain, it's recommended to start a daily routine with using red light therapy.Should I moisturize before or after red light therapy? ›
The use of normal day cream/body lotion after a red light treatment is not necessary, but will not have any negative effect on the results.Can you do red light therapy at home? ›
Infrared Light Therapy at home is just as effective as going to a salon or spa which has a Red Light Therapy Panel. The beauty of LED Light Therapy is that it is a non-invasive skin procedure. This means the treatment is painless and super easy to do at home.Is it bad to have red lights on at night? ›
Red light has no effect on the circadian clock, so you can use a dim red light at night. Yellow and orange light have little effect on the clock so you can use a very dim yellow or orange light at night.Is red light therapy good in the morning? ›
Just three minutes of exposure to deep red light once a week, when delivered in the morning, can significantly improve declining eyesight, finds a pioneering new study by UCL researchers.