Red light therapy has been used as a natural healing modality going back to the 1970’s. NASA used it originally to keep astronauts healthy while they were in space. A number of leading university medical research centers including Harvard, MIT, Wisconsin University & many others have studied the benefits of red light therapy’s mitochondrial healing effects.
Red light therapy aims to solve skin issues by using low wavelength red light. Many experts believe that it can help with issues such as skin conditions, scarring, and signs of aging — including wrinkles and age spots. Low-level laser light therapy is another name for the process, though RLT may be more common. This red light is natural and can penetrate deep into the skin, where the cells can absorb and use it. As a study in the journal Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery notes, mitochondria in the skin cells can absorb these light particles. This can help the cells produce more adenosine triphosphate, which is the energy source for all cells. With this extra energy, the cells may be able to respond better to damage and rejuvenate themselves.
Red Light Therapy Improves skin in way such as:
- increasing collagen production in the skin, which gives the skin its elasticity
- increasing fibroblast production, which helps produce collagen and other tissue fibers
- increasing circulation between blood and tissue cells
- protecting cells from damage
- increasing mRNA in the cells, which helps stimulate the cell
- improving facial texture
- reducing fine lines
- reducing wrinkle severity
Sunlight can alter the way the sebaceous glands behave. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, which may clog the pores and cause acne. Sunlight may help calm overactive glands. The combination with other treatments such as blue light therapy is a potentially effective treatment for acne vulgaris. The light appears to penetrate deep into the skin and affect sebum production while also reducing inflammation and irritation in the area.
Red light may also be helpful in speeding up wound healing. Research in the journal Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia suggest that light therapy may help wound healing in a few ways, such as by: reducing inflammation in the cells, stimulating new blood vessels to form, which doctors call angiogenesis, increasing helpful fibroblasts in the skin, increasing collagen production in the skin.
RLT help with stimulating Hair growth. A small study in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy explored the effect of low-level light on people with alopecia. The study revealed that people who received RLT had improved hair density, compared with those in a control group. The authors note that the effect was beneficial when people applied light in wavelengths of both 665 nanometres (nm) and 808 nm.
RLT may also be an effective treatment for reducing pain in people with certain conditions. A review in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine compiled the results of many studies surrounding RLT and musculoskeletal disorders. The research indicated that RLT could effectively reduce pain in adults with different musculoskeletal disorders. The researchers note that practitioners who stick to the specific dosage recommendations seem to increase the effectiveness of the therapy.
As research in the journal AIMS Biophysics notes, many of the conditions that RLT treats have their roots in inflammation. Although the exact reason is not yet clear, RLT has significant anti-inflammatory effects in the body. These effects are both local, where practitioners apply the light, and systemic, in other tissues and organs in the body. The researchers explain that the helpful anti-inflammatory effects of RLT, and the potential uses for this therapy, are abundant.
Further research may help us understand if it may help with chronic inflammatory issues such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- type 2 diabetes
- alopecia areata
- autoimmune thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid
- tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendons
The anti-inflammatory effect of RLT is very promising. RLT is generally safe and may be a very effective treatment option for people seeking smaller changes in their skin or to keep the skin healthy and reduce inflammation. RLT is only one part of a complete skin care routine, and it should not be the only way a person takes care of their skin. It may take several treatments of RLT for a person to begin noticing the changes in their skin. Anyone uncertain if the practice is suitable for them should talk to a doctor to discuss the potential benefits.