Red & Infrared Light Therapy FAQ (24 Questions Answered)

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) we get about red light therapy and infrared light therapy. All questions are listed in the table of contents below.

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👉 Infrared Light Therapy for Pain

How Deep Does the Infrared Wavelength Penetrate?

The light penetration depth increases at lower wavenumbers (longer wavelengths). Infrared Light Therapy penetrates about 1 mm to 1 cm beneath the skin surface.

How Long Will it Take for the Pain to Go Away?

Whether you are using an infrared heating pad, a 2-panel LED device or an infrared lamp – It will depend on the extent of the pain and your health condition.

Some will use infrared light (for example, via an infrared bulb) for pain once and feel immediate results (which can last for more than 6 hours), while others will have to use the system 2 to 3 times in a row before they feel significant pain relief.

However, infrared light therapy for pain has long-lasting effects, and the more you use it the faster healing you’ll experience.

📢 See the mind-blowing results people achieve with regular infrared sauna treatments .

How Often Can I Use Infrared Light Therapy?

Infrared Light is experienced as heat and can be used every day, with no side effects if used properly. If you have an infrared heating pad, use a heat setting that feels comfortable and not too hot. Stay hydrated. Wait a day before you use it again, to allow the natural healing process to occur. If you have a LED system, you can use it for up to 30 minutes – twice a day.

For example, I have a Biomat at home. The Amethyst Biomat is a full-body professional Amethyst infrared heating pad.

The Biomat can be used for up to 8 hours, and you can even sleep on it.

amethyst infrared light therapy Biomat
Me on my Biomat. Click Here to see where I got it

👉 See the top 5 infrared heating pads reviewed and rated.

What’s the Best Light Wavelength for Pain Relief?

The NASA study, upon which infrared LED therapy was based, used 3 LED wavelengths: 670 nm, 728 nm, and 880 nm (infrared). The 880 nm wavelength was proven to be the most effective. However, the real key to your home device is the energy delivered (joules/cm2), not the particular nm of the LED device.

A few home units have an energy output that goes as high as 150 joules/cm2.

For example, the new DPL II LED home system reaches 31 joules per cm2 in 8 minutes.

The more powerful systems are used by physicians and spas and reach this level quicker, but these machines are too expensive for home use and can only be purchased by professionals.

👉 See the complete list of infrared light benefits

Does Infrared light therapy hurt?

Devices and saunas with Infrared light therapy do not hurt . Infrared light therapy is gentle, painless, safe, non-invasive, and nonabrasive. There have been no reports of adverse reactions.

Can I treat my pets with Infrared Therapy?

Pets love and benefit from infrared light therapy.  If you have an infrared heating pad, you can use it (on a low setting) for any painful condition your pet suffers from. You can use it for injuries, arthritis, sore hips, and post-surgical healing.

👉 See the top 5 home infrared light therapy devices reviewed and compared

👉 Red Light Therapy for the Skin

How Long Does Red Light Skin Therapy Take to Work?

red light therapy for wrinkles
Our results from using a facial LED mask at home for 30 days

Again, it depends on your specific skin and its condition.

Red light therapy is not an immediate miracle maker. Changes won’t occur overnight, but it will give you ongoing anti-aging benefits anywhere from 24 hours to 3 months, depending on your condition and how often the light is used.

To see a noticeable change in wrinkles and fine lines, you may need at least a 2-month home treatment, at least 2 times a week.

(Though some people report results faster, even after one month)

We tried 2 LED red light therapy Masks!
We put red light therapy to the test and tried the Aduro LED mask and the Project E Beauty LED mask for 30 days. Click the links to see our results.

To maintain the improvement, you should continue doing red light therapy home treatments once a week.

You’ll see fast improvements in your skin tone, smoothness, and brightening. Some people report this after only 2 weeks (that “healthy glow” we all want).

We recommend treatments for at least 20 weeks, for maximum results.

To keep track of the anti-aging benefits of red light therapy, we recommend taking weekly or monthly pictures with a good quality camera, on the same lighting, at the same time of the day.

Looking in the mirror randomly is not the best way to see your progress over time.

How Often Should I Do Red Light Therapy for the Skin?

It’s recommended to have at least 3 weekly sessions in a professional spa or at least 4-5 weekly home treatments with your favorite device. It’s important to understand that red light therapy needs your commitment. All drug-free skin treatments do not work after only a few sessions or when done occasionally.

Don’t do more than 5 LED facials per week, to allow the skin to regenerate and activate collagen and elastin production.

After 12 weeks, you can reduce treatments to 1-2 per week – to keep your results.

I use my LED mask 2-3 times a week at this point since I love my results and want to keep them. 😍

Can Red Light Therapy be Combined with Other Wavelengths?

You can use red light therapy with other wavelengths. In fact, most anti-aging home devices combine red light therapy and infrared light therapy (which can penetrate deeper into your skin). In acne treatment, it’s more efficient to use both red and blue light therapy (red after blue) to boost the healing of acne and preventing scars.

What is LED Light Therapy?

LED light therapy at home devices use color light wavelengths to penetrate and treat the skin, via LED (light-emitting diodes. LED is a light source that emits infrared light (and thereby, heat) when activated. It is most often administered via single light units or 2-panel tabletop devices that are directed at the skin from a few inches away.

The anti-aging and/or pain relief effects come from exposure to the light. There is no machine-to-skin contact.

Is Laser More Effective Than Red Light Therapy?

While most people think that lasers work better than LED systems, this is not true. Recent studies have found that light therapy through LED is just as effective as light therapy via laser diodes. Once a laser light penetrates the skin it is no longer a collimated beam of light, it is the same as LED.

Can I Use My Regular Skin Care Products with Red Light Therapy?

Generally, you can use red light therapy with your regular skincare products, but mostly after treatments. Before using red light therapy, make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed off all products. After treatment, you can follow-up with your typical skincare routine.

This is because most products can block the penetration and absorption of the light. Others (like benzoyl peroxide or alcohol) can cause skin irritation when used under intense light.

Can I Use Retinoids and LED Light Therapy Together?

When you do red light therapy treatments, It’s recommended to use Retinoids only at night. Retin-A can cause skin sensitivity to light, that’s why only night use is recommended. Also, make sure to use sunscreen daily.

(We recommend a natural sunscreen, like this one).

Can Red Light Therapy Cause Skin Cancer?

Red LED light therapy can not cause cancer, because it does not include the UV rays wavelength. It is safe for the skin as long as it’s used properly and not over-used. Also, red light therapy alone will not tan your skin. Studies show that red light therapy is safe even in the presence of malignant lesions.

(Study here)

Can I Use Red Light Therapy When I’m Pregnant?

Red LED light therapy is considered safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. RLT only affects the top layers of your skin and does not have a systemic effect since it won’t penetrate deep into your body. Even if you were to apply RLT to your abdomen, the penetration depth of the light is not going to go anywhere near as deep as the uterus is.

LED devices are also a good, natural option for controlling the hormone-triggered acne of pregnancy. They’re also pain-free and need no downtime.

👉 Red Light Therapy for Wound Healing and Scarring 

How Long Will It Take to Heal a Chronic Wound?

When healing a chronic severe wound (such as a diabetic ulcer), the healing process is longer and visual. Improvements will be gradual.

According to studies, it can take about two months to heal a chronic wound with red light therapy.

How Long Will It Take to Heal a Scar with Red Light Therapy?

The age of the scar tissue will determine the time required to see results. Acne scars and scars from other types of injuries can start being visibly improved in as little as two weeks, and should gradually fade over time with continued use. Home treatments with red light therapy can be used to prevent acne scars in the first place.

We recommend using the science-proven blue light therapy to kill acne-causing bacteria when a pimple “threatens” to show up, and immediately following with red light therapy to speed up healing and preventing new scars.

For this reason, the best acne light therapy home devices combine both blue and red wavelengths.

Can I use red light therapy after Botox injections?

We recommend that you wait at least two weeks after Botox injections before beginning with low-level laser therapy. If you have any concerns, speak with your doctor or dermatologist.

👉 Specific Health Conditions

Will a Red LED Therapy System help with psoriasis?

Red and infrared rays increase circulation and help bring moisture back into the affected skin, which benefits Psoriasis. Plus, it can reduce the plaques associated with Psoriasis. A recent study has found that a combination of 830 (nm) (near-infrared light) and 630 nm (visible red light) LLLT, can demonstrate a resolution of Psoriasis.

Can Red Light Therapy Help With Thinning Hair?

red light therapy hair loss
HairMax before & after. Screenshot from HairMax.com

A few promising studies have proved accelerated hair growth and stimulation of dormant hair follicles with the use of red light therapy. Science proves that Low-level laser therapy can be used in both men and women for treating androgenetic alopecia

(👉 See the top 6 laser caps and helmets (hair growth caps) for hair loss or the top 4 laser combs.

Studies show that cold laser can regrow your hair on the top of your head/crown and along the forehead hairline

Improvement is reported after 12 to 26 weeks of use, with reduced hair fall and noticeable hair growth.

👉 See all about red light therapy for hair loss scientific facts!

Does Red Light Therapy Help with Allergies?

red light therapy allergies

Growing evidence in the last years suggests that intranasal red light therapy can help relieve Hay Fever, Allergic Rhinitis, and even cold and flu symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and nasal congestion.

👉 See the science behind it and the 3 best intranasal light therapy devices for allergy relief. You’ll be surprised to find how affordable and effective it can be for you.

Can infrared Therapy Heal Toenail Fungus?

Though science has not concluded whether infrared light therapy can help with toenail fungus, we’ve found one published study with the 870/930 nm device, with “clinical cure rates (3 mm of clear nail growth) of 63 percent were noted six months after four treatments”. 

(Landsman AS, et al. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2010 May;100:166-177).

Can Red Light Therapy Heal Rosacea?

Through our research, we’ve found many people with Rosacea finding huge relief from their symptoms using red light therapy. Since Rosacea is an inflammatory condition, red & infrared light can help greatly. LLLT was proven many times to naturally reduce inflammation and pain. When you control inflammation, it reduces swelling, redness, itching, and pain.

(Study)

See our full post about how to use red light therapy for Rosacea – at home

Does Red Light Therapy Help with Cellulite?

red light therapy and anti cellulite gel

Since cellulite is thought to be triggered by the weakening of connective tissues and a decrease in microcirculation, red light therapy can become an alternative to conventional (usually useless) treatments.

Studies have shown that red light therapy alone has no positive effect on cellulite.

But:

When scientists combined phototherapy with massage treatment – cellulite size was reduced by 71%!

When another study combined red light rays along with using a topical anti-cellulite gel, LLLT was able to bring about remarkable cellulite reduction.

Do you see the point?

Combine a simple massager along with infrared heat, and supercharge your cellulite treatment by 71% percent!

👉 See more about how to use red light therapy for cellulite.

If you have any questions about red & infrared light therapy, we promise to answer within 24 hours. Use the comment section below.

To your health and happiness,

Meital

Studies

Myakishev-Rempel M, Stadler I, Brondon P, et al. A preliminary study of the safety of red light phototherapy of tissues harboring cancer. Photomed Laser Surg. 2012;30(9):551-558. doi:10.1089/pho.2011.3186

Jimenez JJ, Wikramanayake TC, Bergfeld W, Hordinsky M, Hickman JG, Hamblin MR, Schachner LA. Efficacy and safety of a low-level laser device in the treatment of male and female pattern hair loss: a multicenter, randomized, sham device-controlled, double-blind study. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2014 Apr;15(2):115-27. doi: 10.1007/s40257-013-0060-6. PMID: 24474647; PMCID: PMC3986893.

Jan Magnus Bjordal, Rodrigo Alvaro Brandão Lopes-Martins, Jon Joensen & Vegard Vereide Iversen (2010) The anti-inflammatory mechanism of low level laser therapy and its relevance for clinical use in physiotherapy, Physical Therapy Reviews, 15:4, 286-293, DOI: 10.1179/1743288X10Y.0000000001

Gold MH, Khatri KA, Hails K, Weiss RA, Fournier N. Reduction in thigh circumference and improvement in the appearance of cellulite with dual-wavelength, low-level laser energy and massage. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2011 Feb;13(1):13-20. doi: 10.3109/14764172.2011.552608. PMID: 21275531.