Red light therapy is known for its capacity to heal skin, muscle, and other tissues. It works by exposing the patient to low levels of red light or near-infrared light. Whilst you can see red light, infrared wavelengths are invisible to the human eye.
Over the past few years, red light therapy (RLT) has become a popular treatment for a range of skin issues. Experts believe that exposing the skin to red light allows the cells to soak it up. The power generators of the cells, called mitochondria, use the heat from the light to create more energy than they normally would. As a consequence, they are more easily able to repair themselves.
Red light is beneficial to our cells at almost any wavelength, and no wavelength is detrimental. Depending on the individual device used for the treatment, light with a wavelength closer to 600 nm will look almost orange. Light closer to the low- to mid-800 nm range is nearing infrared wavelengths. Current literature suggests that the biggest benefits lie within this range.
How Often Can You Use RLT Safely?
Red light therapy is non-invasive and has no known side effects. Unlike other treatments, there are no obvious risks attached to it. It is so safe that it is recommended for pregnant women. This high level of safety explains why RLT is becoming so popular as an in-home treatment. There is simply no need for a trained professional to administer it.
However, if you have never tried red light treatments before, experts recommend starting slowly and checking your skin’s reaction. There is no single correct answer for everyone. What is right for you will depend on your skin’s sensitivity to light, your overall health, age, and how severe your skin condition is.
Anyone considering switching from dermatologist-based treatments to at-home light treatments needs to understand the difference in strength between the devices. Dermatologists have access to stronger devices, whereas the power of home treatments is limited. Your safety is the reason behind those differences.
Assuming you had skin treatments of 15 to 30 minutes three times per week at a dermatologist’s office, you may need to increase the duration and frequency noticeably. Depending on the device, this may be as much as 30 to 60 minutes administered twice a day for up to four to five weeks. Whilst this sounds like much more time, it is worth considering the time you are saving traveling to appointments. At-home treatments can easily be fitted around your schedule, even if the individual treatment does take longer.
During the transition, it is important to build up treatment length and intensity gradually. If you are not used to red light, start with one session of ten minutes every other day. Check your skin: it’s normal to feel a gentle warmth, but redness or tightness are signs that you are overdoing it. If your skin shows either, consider moving further away from your device or shortening the treatment time.
Whilst strong reactions to RLT are rare, it’s important to understand that more is not necessarily better. Consistency is key to successful red light treatments because the light is affecting the skin at a cellular level. It may take eight to 12 weeks for these changes to become visible. If you don’t think your RLT device is working for you, check how long you have been using it and whether you have treated your skin regularly. Skipping one day does not render the treatment inefficient, but if you are starting to miss sessions regularly, your results will suffer.
What Are The Benefits Of Red Light Therapy?
The benefits of red light therapy have been researched in several scientific studies. The findings have confirmed measurable improvements in skin rejuvenation and collagen production.
RLT has been proven to be beneficial as a cosmetic as well as a medical treatment. Regular use promotes wound healing and improves the appearance of scars. RLT’s healing abilities also have positive effects on slow-healing wounds like diabetic ulcers and can reduce psoriasis lesions.
The power of RLT is more than skin-deep. Light therapy improves joint health for those with osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, the treatment has been shown to relieve pain and inflammation in the Achilles tendons. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis may find relief from pain and morning stiffness.
Red light treatments may also benefit anyone suffering from androgenetic alopecia by stimulating hair growth. One study found that men and women using red light for 24 weeks grew thicker hair than the control group.
The cosmetic benefits of RLT include reduced wrinkles and other signs of aging. Red light has been shown to reduce the signs of sun damage on users’ skin. It is considered effective on acne scars as well as burn scars.
No Need For Downtime
Some of those benefits are also claimed by other light-based therapies, such as laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments. However, there is one major difference. Most other light-based treatments cause tiny injuries to the skin in order to stimulate its healing response.
Red light therapy skips this damaging step and directly stimulates the skin’s regenerative processes. Therefore, you don’t need to fear inflammation, pain, or any prolonged downtime whilst your skin heals.
Red light therapy is one of the safest skin treatments to try at home. The key to successful treatments and outstanding results is consistency.
As with any new treatment, it’s recommended to start slow and increase your exposure to the red light device gradually. Wavelength, treatment time, and the distance between your skin and the device all influence the result.Integrating red light treatments into your home life is easy and convenient such as sauna blankets, infrared saunas, or entire red light rooms can be set up to suit your needs. Contact us today to find out more about which option is best for you.