Red Light Therapy Work?

red light therapy

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.

Anyone considering the treatment should also take other steps to promote skin health. Improper use of RLT may also cause some side effects.

Anyone who is uncertain about whether or not RLT is right for them should talk to their doctor.

How it works

RLT is a straightforward procedure involving exposing the body to low wavelength red light. Low-level laser light therapy is another name for the process, though RLT may be more common.

This red light is natural and can penetrate deep into the skin, where the cells can absorb and use it.

As a study in the journal Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery notes, mitochondria in the skin cells can absorb these light particles. This can help the cells produce more adenosine triphosphate, which is the energy source for all cells.

benefits of red light therapy

Many experts attribute the potential positive benefits of RLT to this function. With this extra energy, the cells may be able to respond better to damage and rejuvenate themselves.

Although there is early research surrounding RLT, there is still no conclusive evidence that it is a beneficial treatment. Many studies show that the treatment has promise, but more extensive clinical studies in humans will help determine the potential applications of RLT.

With that said, there are several potential benefits of RLT, which we will cover in the sections below.

Improving skin health

Most people show interest in RLT as a possible way to improve skin health.

The potential for using RLT as a way to rejuvenate the skin has led to a large number of studies. As the review in the journal Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery notes, RLT may help 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

  • reducing wrinkle severity

A clinical trial in the journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery explored light treatment for some basic skin issues in a small group of 136 people. The researchers found that these light therapies could:

  • rejuvenate the skin

  • improve the complexion

  • improve the feeling of the skin

It is important to remember that many of the results regarding RLT come from animal or test tube studies, which explore the function of RLT. Many of the human studies used very small sample sizes, as is evident in the clinical trial above.

These results show the potential for the therapy but are not conclusive evidence that it will work in every case.

red light therapy.jpg

Improving acne

RLT might be an effective treatment for acne vulgaris.

As the review in Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery also notes, forms of light therapy are potential alternatives for the treatment of acne vulgaris.

Sunlight can alter the way the sebaceous glands behave. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, which may clog the pores and cause acne. Sunlight may help calm overactive glands.

The issue that many people have with sunlight exposure is that it comes with exposure to ultraviolent (UV) A and UVB rays, which may cause other skin issues over time. These can be severe and may include developing skin cancer.

RLT, either alone or in combination with other treatments such as blue light therapy, is a potentially effective treatment for acne vulgaris. The light appears to penetrate deep into the skin and affect sebum production while also reducing inflammation and irritation in the area.

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