Red light therapy for the skin is still a rising natural therapy, used by skin professionals and celebrities all over the world.
Is it proven to work or is it just hype?
In this post, we’ve researched and found the scientifically proven red light therapy skin benefits and uses – and how to use it at home.
This post may contain affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.
- 4 Proven Red Light Therapy Benefits for the Skin
- What Does Red Light Therapy Do to Your Skin?
- Red Light Therapy Skin Uses
- Red Light Therapy vs. Laser Therapy
- Can You Get Too Much Red Light Therapy?
4 Proven Red Light Therapy Benefits for the Skin
Here are the scientifically proven skin benefits of a low-level laser. You can click the links below to jump to the benefit you are most interested in.
1. Wrinkle & fine line reduction and prevention, skin tightening (facelift effect)
2. Reducing acne scars (and preventing them in the first place)
3. Reducing Cellulite (this is how your anti-cellulite gel will finally work!)
4. Healing Psoriasis and eczema (see exactly How to Use Red Light Therapy for Eczema)
What Does Red Light Therapy Do to Your Skin?
Visible red LED light (wavelength range of 400 – 700 nanometers) therapy is a gentle and effective way of healing and rejuvenating your skin cells, also known as photomodulation.
Studies have shown that concentrated red light (no UV light is involved here) is absorbed by cell mitochondria and stimulates the production of collagen – the building block of your skin structure.
The heat and light boost blood circulation, bringing more blood and nutrients to all skin types.
It also promotes cytokines release (chemical messengers). As more cytokines are released, collagen-producing cells (called fibroblasts) leap into action.
- If your skin needs healing (from acne, acne scars, eczema, sun damage, redness, etc.) – then the skin will heal, naturally and faster.
- If it is already healthy, you will get a plumping effect, along with skin tightening, wrinkle reduction, and toned radiant skin.
Now let’s get to the juicy stuff:
Red Light Therapy Skin Uses
Here’s more about the proven benefits of red light therapy for your skin:
1. Skin Tightening & Wrinkle Reduction
Many studies prove the speedy collagen and elastin production delivered through red light phototherapy, and the results are promising.
A 2007 study from the International Center for Cosmetic Medicine in Australia administered nine 20-minute duration red light treatments with a standard red light treatment home device (in the 633 and 830nm wavelength).
“At 12-week follow-up, 91% of subjects reported improved skin tone, and 82% reported enhanced smoothness of skin in the treatment area.”
Notice that this study combined red light (633 nm) with infrared light (830 nm – invisible red light), as do most high-quality red LED light home devices (like this one)
👉 We’ve tried 2 LED red light therapy face masks and the results are very good.
For example, check out our before and after pictures after using the Aduro LED mask for 30 days,
Want another example?
In A 2006 clinical study published in J.Drugs Dermatol Magazine, 36 subjects received 9 LED treatments (with both red and infrared wavelengths) over the course of 5 weeks and were evaluated after 12 weeks.
5 of them were also biopsied to see the ultra-structural changes in their collagen fibers.
“A statistically significant improvement in wrinkles was seen after profilometric analysis. The majority of subjects reported improvements in softness, smoothness, and firmness at all time points. Electron microscopic analysis showed evidence of post-LED treatment of thicker collagen fibers.”
Many more studies prove and explain the rising popularity of red light therapy face-firming treatment.
👉 Check out the top 7 LED Light Therapy Masks
How Long is a Home Treatment with Red Light Therapy?
Depending on the power of your home device, treatment time (for the entire face) can take up to 30 minutes (about 3-4 minutes per area).
If you need to treat your entire face, you’ll save a lot of time by using a 2-panel device, like Revive Light Therapy, that will cover your entire face in one 3-minute treatment.
A handheld LED light therapy device will require moving the small treatment head from your cheeks to your forehead to your jowls and so on, which lengthens treatment time, that’s why we do not recommend them anymore.
👉 See the Best LED light therapy at home devices
My #1 recommendation is: LED Face Masks
Red LED light therapy masks cover your entire face in one treatment, are hands-free, and usually come with more colors (blue for acne treatment, green for stress relief, skin-soothing, etc).
Through my research, they are the most cost-effective option of them all.
✅ I tried the Project E Beauty LED Face Mask for 30 days! See my LED face mask before and after!
When Can You Expect Results?
Based on researching all clinical studies, you can expect the best results after at least 12 weeks of treatment.
The initial effect will be clearer, brighter, and tighter skin.
The long-term effect is improved skin clarity, texture, and tone, and reduction of wrinkles, fine lines, and dark circles under your eyes.
Ideally, you’ll need 4 to 6 home treatments a week for the first 2-3 weeks, then at least 3 times a week for 3 months.
The more and longer you use it, the better results you’ll get. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
2. Cellulite Reduction
At this point, you already understand the stimulatory effects of LLLT on increasing circulation and collagen formation.
So, what does that have to do with getting rid of cellulite?
Well, since cellulite is thought to be triggered by a weakening of connective tissues and a decrease in microcirculation, red light therapy can become an alternative to conventional treatments.
Surprisingly, studies have shown that red light therapy alone has no positive effect on cellulite.
When studies combined phototherapy with massage treatment – 71% percent of people with cellulite saw an almost 1cm reduction in cellulite in their thighs
When another study combined red light rays with a topical anti-cellulite gel, LLLT was able to bring about remarkable cellulite reduction.
👉 See my post about red light therapy for cellulite!
Here’s what this means for you:
A red light therapy home device (or even better – an infrared massager) can turn your disappointing anti-cellulite gel into something that finally works!
(And these massagers are affordable!)
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. The infrared light therapy treatment was given to people with Psoriasis resistant to conventional treatment.
It included two 20-minute sessions, spaced 48 hours apart, for a total of 4 or 5 weeks.
The results showed no adverse effects but rather a resolution of Psoriasis.
“All patients completed their LED regimens. Follow-up periods were from 3 to 8 months, except in two patients who were lost to follow-up. Clearance rates at the end of the follow-up period ranged from 60% to 100%. Satisfaction was universally very high.”
3. Diminishing Acne Scars
Using red light therapy to treat your acne prevents scar tissue from forming in the first place.
Even if you already have scars from acne, red light therapy can help fade them.
As new collagen is formed, the pockmarks often left by severe cases of acne even out, reducing the appearance of acne scarring.
This study has proven that near-infrared LED treated scars showed significant improvement over the control scars on all measures of efficacy.
And, no side effects were reported.
Note: This treatment takes time. Give it at least a few weeks of daily treatments to see results.
👉 Read: How to heal Rosacea with red light therapy
Red Light Therapy vs. Laser Therapy
Red light skin therapy is Low-Level Laser Therapy (cold laser). It’s a milder, risk-free treatment that won’t burn, cut or hurt your skin as with laser treatments. LLLT will not cause skin inflammation or Erythema after treatments.
Just because red light therapy is non-invasive and gentle, does not mean that it can’t produce the same results as a high-power laser.
And the best news?
It’s safe enough to do it at home, by yourself, whenever you want to, and it can save dozens of dermatologist trips and a ton of money.
Can You Get Too Much Red Light Therapy?
Low-Level Laser Therapy, delivered through LED light was found to have no side effects and risks to the skin. Unlike high-power lasers used in clinics, infrared rays won’t burn your skin, won’t cause redness and inflammation, and the heat is almost unfelt during treatment.
Red light therapy is safe to use on your skin, as long as you follow instructions and don’t overdo it.
Red light therapy is a promising non-invasive, pain-free, and natural treatment for a few of the most common skin problems.
It’s proven to work for chronic photo-damaged skin (wrinkles, fine lines, sagging), acne scars, cellulite, and psoriasis.
These days you can save a lot of money (and time) on clinic sessions by having an FDA-cleared red LED light therapy home device, to use 24/7 whenever you need it.
We would suggest even the greatest skeptics to give the infrared home treatment a try.
If it can replace just one medication you take daily, or one useless expensive cream (not to mention Botox and facelifts), it is well worth the cost.
Do you have any experience with red light skin therapy? We’d love to read about it in the comments below.
To your health and happiness,
Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.Feb 2010, Combination 830-nm and 633-nm Light-Emitting Diode Phototherapy Shows Promise in the Treatment of Recalcitrant Psoriasis
Avci, Pinar et al. “Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring.” Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery vol. 32,1 (2013): 41-52.