What Is Red Light Therapy And Does It Really Work?
5 minutes read
Red light therapy (RLT) has become increasingly popular with its promising “fountain of youth” benefits. It is often referred to as the holy grail of all health treatments: from conquering muscle pain to treating skin issues. What’s there not to like? But is it all just hype?
Beauty Daily consults with UK’s two leading skincare experts about red light therapy and how you can make it work for you.
What is red light therapy and how does it work?
RLT is a non-invasive, painless therapeutic treatment that uses a specific natural wavelength of light to help to heal certain conditions and skin issues.
“RLT is a combination of light-emitting diode (LED) that emits infrared light and heat, but it doesn’t expose your skin to damaging UV rays. Instead, it can penetrate on the top layer of the skin and into the dermis, improving cellular function and promoting skin health and rejuvenation,” London-based Dr Pamela Benito, Aesthetic Medicine Specialist tells Beauty Daily.
Sana Khan, Aesthetician and Founder of Avicenna Wellbeing, adds: “RLT can also be used as a treatment or can be used as a treatment for other skin treatments such as post-laser to help reduce redness and help optimise the results. There are face masks and also body red light therapy.”
What are the benefits of red light therapy?
RLT has many benefits that may help accelerate healing and resolve skin conditions for the face and the body.
“RLT stimulates the production of collagen, elastin and fibroblasts and increases blood circulation leading to plumper and tighter skin. This may help with wrinkles and other signs of skin ageing and in the initial stages of hair loss,” Dr Benito explains.
Additional research is needed to prove RLT’s effectiveness. However, there is current evidence that shows RLT helps with improving a person’s overall complexion, and hyperpigmentation, such as age spots, acne scars, sun damage, wound healing and tissue repair, reducing psoriasis lesions, rheumatoid arthritis, improving skin complexion and building collagen, among others.
However, to claim that RLT is the cure for all health issues, experts from Healthline beg to disagree.
There is limited-to-no evidence showing that RLT is effective.
What are the side effects of red light therapy?
Khan says that RLT is generally super safe, non-invasive, and doesn’t have downtime.
“There is some evidence that it is completely fine to use. However, as a rule of thumb, I personally would not recommend to those who are pregnant or those clients who suffer from epilepsy or seizures as the bright light can be triggering.”
Who should try red light therapy?
Experts recommend RLT for people who want to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve overall skin health. However, results will vary from each individual depending on age, genetics, lifestyle factors and more.
In-Clinic vs. At-Home Red Light Therapy
RLT can be performed in a professional setting or with an at-home device. Both professional and home devices are very beneficial, although in-office therapy is stronger than customer’s versions. However, Dr Benito says it doesn’t mean they are all ineffective but usually require additional treatments to see results.
RLT clinic devices can be integrated into many ways to any treatment menu: as a targeted standalone, a bespoke combination protocol, pre-treatment skin preparation, post-treatment recovery and as part of an ongoing skin health programme.
“It can be safely combined with many procedures, including resurfacing, skin needling, mesotherapy, radiofrequency and injectable treatments to supercharge cell metabolism for superior treatment results, accelerate recovery and reduce downtime,” says Dr Benito.
Khan agrees and says in her London clinic she finds RLT as a great add-on treatment for clients who are doing laser treatments for skin rejuvenation, often incorporating RLT at the end of the session.
Pro Tip: Dr Benito says: “To ensure optimum cell activation during your LED treatment, there are key considerations but the main thing to look for is a wavelength between mid-600 to 900 nanometres.”
Experts like Dr Benito swear by RLT as a good at-home tool to add to your skincare regimen. But it is always best to check with your doctor or dermatologist before trying something new.
While adverse side effects have not been reported from the use of LED light therapy, using the wrong device could result in zero effects.
At-home devices have the benefit that you can use them anytime, at your convenience. Experts say LED masks are a safe and effective tool for all skin types. Make sure to invest in one that is safe and approved by health authorities to ensure its quality and safety.
“If you plan on using red light therapy at home, make sure you do your research while looking for devices, especially with so many on the market. I highly recommend Dermalux Flex which is a certified medical device and the most powerful portable LED system in the market,” Dr Benito recommends.
How to use your at-home RLT therapy device.
- Make sure you’ve cleansed and prepped your skin.
- Follow your usual skincare regimen. Use an anti-ageing cream or serum.
- Place the LED mask over your face. Push the button for three seconds and select the light colour you prefer. LED light colours vary and all of which have distinct functions.
Red reduces the signs of ageing. It stimulates the production of elastin and collagen and is effective for treating redness and scars.
Blue is used to kill the bacteria that cause acne.
Green has proven its ability to reduce melasma and other skin discolouration problems.
For the Dermalux Flex LED light colours vary from red, blue, and near-infrared. In this case, we use red.
4. Leave it on for up to 20 minutes a day. It turns off automatically so no need to set timers.
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