If ever there was a fountain of youth, I believe that red light therapy may very well be it. The benefits of using red light in health and wellness have been known for centuries, but only in the last couple of decades or so has the concept gone mainstream.
More than just a cosmetic tool, red light therapy has also been shown to improve skin healing and scarring, among other things. Here’s a brief overview of red light therapy and what science says about its efficacy in health and wellness.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy (RLT) isn’t just the stuff of beauty bloggers and magazines. It’s actually a verified tool used by wellness facilities and health spas. Simply put, red light therapy is the use of concentrated wavelengths of red light to penetrate specific areas of your skin. The light can go as deep as 10 millimeters, where it becomes absorbed by your cells.
Once absorbed, the red light stimulates a whole range of regenerative effects. Collagen, fibroblast, and elastin production increases. Blood circulation improves and takes more nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and cells. What’s more, the red light doesn’t pose the same skin-damaging effects as UV rays, so there’s no risk of “overdoing it.”
The Science Behind How Red Light Therapy Works
Unlike a lot of other popular beauty trends and fads, red light therapy actually has numerous scientific studies to back up its claims.
For example, this controlled trial looked into red light therapy’s effects on reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and skin roughness, along with increasing collagen density. The trial identified that light sources that use wavelengths of 590 nm, 633 nm, 830 nm provided noticeable effects on skin quality in a safe manner, with the latter two being the most effective. The 633 to 650 nm is absorbed by the skin faster than other wavelengths, which makes it a common go-to option for home devices and beauty treatments. The 850 nm wavelength is more commonly used in healthcare settings, as its deeper penetration helps with muscle recovery, inflammation, and joint health.
Another study noted that red light therapy and light emitting diode devices are among the safest and most effective tools for a variety of skin conditions. Specifically, the study calls out skin inflammatory conditions, acne, aging, and disorders linked to hair loss.
One additional study illustrates the effects of red light therapy penetration depth compared to other colors of light. In the study, red light penetrated significantly deeper than UV, violet to deep blue, blue-green, yellow to orange, and NIR. Because of this depth, red light stands to be the most effective when targeting deep tissue conditions, which is why it’s a powerful tool in prompting wound healing, collagen production, and anti-aging.
Other studies have shown similar outcomes to support red light therapy as more than a passing fad. In fact, the technology has also been leveraged by scientists to grow plants in outer space. The wavelengths of the red light showed to promote plant cell growth and photosynthesis. The effects on human cells have been found to be similar, which is why it’s a promising treatment for certain conditions.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy can be a powerful solution for a variety of skin conditions. Let’s look at some of its benefits in more detail:
Athletes who train hard often use red light therapy for pre- and post-workout recovery. It helps to ease muscle soreness, and one study on red light therapy’s role in exercise found that it can result in fewer range-of-motion impairments.
Another study conducted in 2018 also found that red light therapy specifically benefits knee muscles. When used before and after exercise, the therapy can reduce knee muscle fatigue, which can potentially help athletes train longer and at a higher intensity.
One of red light therapy’s most recognized benefits, wound healing is sped up when using the therapy compared to not using it. This is due to the red light’s regenerative abilities that promote healthy cell growth and tissue repair. Also, because wounds are healed faster, red light therapy can also be considered an effective pain relief therapy.
Speaking of pain relief, red light therapy’s ability to reduce inflammation also has a positive effect on pain. Studies have examined the impact of red light therapy on osteoarthritis knee pain, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, and meniscus tears. It’s non-invasive and doesn’t carry the damaging side effects associated with many pain relief medications, which makes it a preferable option for many pain-related conditions.
Red light therapy works deep below the surface of the skin, but its impact can actually be seen with the naked eye. One example of this is its effect on acne, especially when combined with blue light.
Users with severe acne find red light therapy to be a safe, effective alternative to traditional OTC acne creams and solutions. The 633 to 650 nm wavelength decreases oil production (which is a major contributor to acne) as well as killing harmful bacteria on the skin’s surface (another contributor to acne).
Just like its noticeable improvements in wound healing, red light therapy can also help with the appearance of scars. It’s safe for all types of scars, including raised scars, and research has shown red light therapy to promote less visible scarring compared with patients who don’t receive red light therapy.
Fine Lines and Wrinkles
As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, which can lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and a general lack of skin elasticity. Because red light therapy promotes the production of collagen and elastins, it’s becoming a go-to method to improve skin appearance, texture, pore size, and tone.
More research on red light therapy is always welcome, but the results so far make a strong case for a variety of uses.
At Solbasium, we specialize in manufacturing the highest quality red light therapy products to help you live your best life. Get in touch today to learn more!