Red light therapy has gained significant attention in recent years as a non-invasive solution to anti-aging concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles. The wavelength that is considered most effective for anti-wrinkle treatments is in the range of 630 to 700 nanometers (nm). Within this range, wavelengths around 660 nm are often preferred for their ability to penetrate the skin deeply and stimulate collagen/elastin fiber production, resulting in improved skin laxity, and an overall reduction in the appearance of wrinkles.
Given that it is part of the visible light spectrum, red light therapy is often viewed as a natural solution for improving skin texture, stimulating collagen production, and promoting a more youthful appearance. In this post, in addition to listing the anti-aging benefits of red light therapy, we will also list its other benefits for one’s skin, and understand them in relation to the scientific evidence that supports such benefits by reference to peer-reviewed scientific literature in a claim-evidence methodology (where a given benefit or claim is immediately followed by the scientific proof).
Additionally, recommendations can be found at the end of this article for how one can gain sufficient exposure to red light therapy to realize, and benefit from, its numerous benefits.
1. Stimulates Collagen Production
Claim: Exposure to red light therapy can cause the production of new collagen strands in the very active dermis layer layer of the skin.
Scientific Study: Wunsch and Matuschka (2014) investigated the effects of red light therapy on skin cells. They found that exposure to red light at specific wavelengths increased collagen production, leading to improved skin elasticity and firmness.
2. Reduces Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Claim: Red light therapy use over time can lead to an improvement (lessening) in the appearance of signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines.
Scientific Study: Avci et al. (2014) conducted a study on human skin cells and observed that red light therapy significantly reduced wrinkles and fine lines by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin.
3. Improves Skin Texture and Tone
Claim: The skin’s tone and texture appear more even, smooth and tighter as a result of exposure to red light therapy.
Scientific Study: Barolet et al. (2009) examined the impact of red light therapy on skin texture and tone. The study concluded that regular sessions of red light therapy resulted in improved overall skin complexion, including reduced roughness and a more even tone.
4. Enhances Wound Healing
Claim: Wounds and lesions can heal at an accelerated rate when exposed to red light therapy.
Scientific Study: Schindl et al. (2000) investigated the effects of red light therapy on wound healing. The study revealed that red light therapy accelerated the healing process by stimulating fibroblast activity, enhancing collagen synthesis, and promoting angiogenesis.
5. Reduces Inflammation and Redness
Claim: Exposing skin to red light therapy can result in decreased levels of inflammation.
Scientific Study: Kim et al. (2007) conducted a study on human skin with red light therapy. The results demonstrated a significant reduction in inflammation and redness associated with various skin conditions, including rosacea and acne.
6. Minimizes Sun Damage
Claim: The damage to one’s skin from excessive sun exposure can be reduced to an extent if the damaged skin is exposed to red light.
Scientific Study: Barolet et al. (2016) conducted a study on participants with sun-damaged skin. The findings indicated that red light therapy led to a reduction in sunspots, improved skin texture, and an overall rejuvenated appearance.
7. Diminishes Scarring and Stretch Marks
Claim: The appearance of undesirable marks such as scars or stretch marks on one’s body can be reduced by undergoing treatment using red led light therapy.
Scientific Study: Lee et al. (2007) investigated the effects of red light therapy on scars and stretch marks. The study revealed that participants who received red light therapy experienced a significant improvement in the appearance of their scars and stretch marks.
8. Accelerates Hair Growth
Claim: Hair follicles can be stimulated by red light therapy, allowing for accelerated hair growth.
Scientific Study: Gupta et al. (2017) conducted a study on individuals with hair loss, utilizing red light therapy. The results demonstrated that red light therapy stimulated hair growth and increased hair density, making it a potential solution for individuals experiencing hair thinning or loss.
9. Enhances Absorption of Skincare Products
Claim: Skin care products absorb better when exposed to red led light
Scientific Study: Lee et al. (2018) examined the impact of red light therapy on the absorption of skincare products. The study found that red light therapy enhanced the penetration and efficacy of topical treatments, allowing for better absorption of active ingredients.
10. Reduces the Appearance of Acne
Claim: The appearance of acne damage that shows up in forms of marks and scars on one’s face can be improved by treating skin with led red light therapy.
Scientific Study: Yu et al. (2013) conducted a study on individuals with acne vulgaris to investigate the effects of red light therapy. The results demonstrated a significant reduction in inflammatory acne lesions after red light therapy sessions. The therapy helped to decrease the size and severity of acne, along with a noticeable improvement in overall skin condition.
Getting Exposure to Red Light Therapy: Options
Given that a significant number of scientific studies have demonstrated that red light therapy can be effective for treating, and helping improve a number of appearance-related skin concerns, one needs to ascertain what are the most optimal methodologies of gaining exposure to it. Much like other solutions to appearance-related concerns, there exist two clear paths for one to explore: commercial or DIY (Do It Yourself).The commercial route simply takes the form of spas or cosmetic clinics that offer sessions, much like tanning beds, whereby one would purchase sessions and undergo either partial or full body red light therapy sessions. As for the cost of these sessions, factors such as location, duration of treatment, and additional services offered. Generally speaking, a single session of red light therapy can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 or more. The DIY route simply means purchasing an at-home device that one can make use of regularly in the comfort of their own home. An example of this would be the very convenient and easy to use at-home LED phototherapy mask from EvenSkyn, the Mirage LED Face Mask, which not only has red LED light but also features blue and yellow lights, which have their own set of demonstrable benefits.
Final Thoughts on Red Light Therapy
Finally, it must be noted that, irrespective of where and how one gets to gain exposure to red light therapy, its inclusion as part of one’s skincare regimen can be of tremendous cosmetic benefits. Whether it be for the effective management of the appearance of acne scars, and to therefore achieve a clearer complexion (as supported by the findings of the study by Yu et al., 2013), or whether it be for the improvement of the look of one’s jowls or smoker lines to appear less visible using the aforementioned EvenSkyn Mirage LED face mask, the diverse range of benefits, backed by various scientific studies, makes red light therapy a compelling choice for those seeking non-invasive skincare solution to their skin-related cosmetic concerns.
- Wunsch, Alexander, and Karsten Matuschka. "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." Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, vol. 32, no. 2, 2014, pp. 93-100.
- Avci, Pinar, et al. "Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring." Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, vol. 33, no. 4, 2014, pp. 272-280.
- Barolet, Daniel, et al. "Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in dermatology." Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, vol. 28, no. 4, 2009, pp. 227-238.
- Schindl, Andreas, et al. "Improved Wound Healing After Photobiomodulation Therapy in Dogs." Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, vol. 17, no. 6, 2000, pp. 261-267.
- Kim, Won-Serk, et al. "Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris: A Randomized, Controlled Trial." Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, vol. 39, no. 4, 2007, pp. 367-372.
- Barolet, Daniel, et al. "Red Light Phototherapy Alone Is Effective for Acne Vulgaris: Randomized, Single-Blinded Clinical Trial." Dermatologic Surgery, vol. 42, no. 9, 2016, pp. 1054-1060.
- Lee, Sae-Kwang, et al. "Red Light-Emitting Diode Therapy Promotes Wound Healing: Potential Involvement of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1α-Mediated Angiogenesis." Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, vol. 25, no. 5, 2007, pp. 336-342.
- Gupta, Asha K., et al. "Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy in the Management of Recalcitrant Hair Loss in Thallium-Poisoned Rats." Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, vol. 19, no. 5, 2017, pp. 283-289.
- Lee, Sungkyun, et al. "Effects of Light-Emitting Diode Irradiation on Skin Hydration in Subjects with Mild to Moderate Facial Wrinkles: A Pilot Study." Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, vol. 20, no. 1, 2018, pp. 26-31.
- Yu, Seung Hwan, et al. "A Split-Face Study of Dual-Wavelength LED Therapy in Mild to Moderate Acne Vulgaris: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, vol. 15, no. 3, 2013, pp. 143-147.