The skin care market has become oversaturated with an abundance of products and treatments meant to address every skin condition. Numerous expensive creams, serums, moisturizers, massages, facelifts, and wrinkle patches are advertised as the solution for that perfect skin feeling we're all chasing.
However, as of late, red light therapy has emerged as a natural, chemical-free, safe, and effective way to help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots, stimulate collagen production, achieve skin rejuvenation, and decrease oxidative stress.
What Is Red LED Light Therapy?
Photobiomodulation (more commonly known as light therapy) is a term used to refer to various forms of therapy that use light particles to help treat numerous health issues, from wound healing to hormone health, anxiety, and depression.
Miscellaneous types of photobiomodulation utilize different sources and wavelengths to achieve their health benefits.
Red light therapy is known by many names, including red LED therapy, low-level laser therapy, and red and near-infrared light therapy. It's a type of low-level light therapy that uses light-emitting diodes to emit a range of wavelengths that mimic natural sunlight at sunset and dawn.
How Red Light Therapy Works
Red light is visible, and its wavelengths typically range between 630 and 700 nanometers, making it particularly useful on the skin's surface.
On the other hand, near-infrared light is invisible, and its wavelengths typically range between 700 and 2,500 nanometers, meaning that it goes beyond the outer layer of the skin to penetrate deeper into the issues, supporting the health of your bones, muscles, and organs.
A low-level laser red light therapy device featuring light-emitting diodes of these specific wavelengths is used to conduct an LED treatment, and this combination of red and near-infrared light has been found to provide the best results for your overall physical and mental well-being.
What Causes Wrinkles (And How Can Red Light Therapy Help)?
As we try to avoid folds, ridges, and creases on our skin, wrinkles are a natural part of aging. As your body loses collagen, a protein found throughout the body, your skin loses elasticity and support.
Wrinkles can appear anywhere, but most commonly, they appear on your face, neck, and arms. They are particularly exacerbated by exposure to the sun and UV light, smoking, repetitive movements, poor sleep patterns, and a lack of a healthy diet and exercise.
A clinical trial has determined that a combination of red and near-infrared light treatment stimulated collagen and elastin production, thus creating an anti-aging secret weapon. Because of this, it's also recommended as a treatment for sun-caused damage.
Not only can red light help improve skin elasticity and fill out fine lines and wrinkles, but it can also help with other skin concerns. In particular, a combination of red and blue light therapy (typically wavelengths from 380 to 525 nanometers) was found to be an effective, safe, and non-painful treatment of acne-causing bacteria.
Using Red Light Therapy for Skin Rejuvenation
Low-wavelength red light stimulates skin cells and new growth, causing it to undergo a rejuvenation process, as it provides significant benefits to skin tone and skin complexion.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an all-important organic compound that provides energy to support various processes in living cells. Red light therapy can lead to cell proliferation, supplying more energy to the entire body and speeding up skin tissue repair.
NASA scientists were the first to discover the beneficial effects of red light technology when a plant-growth experiment led to an unexpected speeding up of wound healing in the mid-90s. Other studies have shown that low-level laser therapy contributed to an increase in inflammatory cells and collagen production.
A controlled trial found that the use of light therapies can provide major healing benefits in skin health, including treating wrinkles, fine lines, and skin roughness, while also providing an intradermal collagen density increase. Moreover, it also received high patient satisfaction rates for its anti-aging effects.
Using Red Light Therapy to Reduce Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress can be defined as an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (also known as free radicals) and antioxidant defenses in your body.
Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules that are unstable and highly reactive with other molecules. They are created by our bodies when converting food to energy in the natural metabolic process, but they can damage cells in a process called apoptosis, ultimately leading to illnesses and diseases.
On the other hand, antioxidants are molecules that interact with free radicals and prevent them from attacking good cells, thus neutralizing them. They are also produced in our bodies and can be found in meat and fish, berries, coffee, green tea, and dark chocolate.
Red light can help protect this balance between free radicals and antioxidants, thus reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Because of this, it represents an effective approach to treating various skin disorders.
In addition, red light therapy can also improve blood circulation by triggering the release of nitric oxide, a free radical that consists of one nitrogen and one oxygen atom. Nitric oxide expands blood vessels, thus improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
Is Red Light Safe?
Red light therapy has proven to be an emerging treatment in skin care, helping to produce numerous skin benefits. Not only is it effective, but it's also completely safe and has no known side effects.
Since red light treatments emit very little heat and do not include UV rays, there is no risk of burns or other thermal injuries. Red light devices are non-invasive, they do not cause tissue damage or increase the risk of skin cancer.
However, out of an abundance of caution, it's recommended that those who are pregnant, are undergoing chemotherapy, have an active malignant disease, or have highly photosensitive skin or heart conditions first consult their doctor before using this type of treatment.
Make sure to closely follow the instructions of your portable therapy device to ensure proper use, monitor your skin's reaction, and adjust your treatments if necessary. The time it takes for the first results to show may depend on each individual, but generally, there should be visible benefits after about a month of regular use.