Today, red light therapy is being used to treat wrinkles, redness, acne, scars and other signs of aging.

  1. What is Red Light Therapy?
  2. How Was Red Light Therapy Developed?
  3. How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
  4. What Skin Conditions is Red Light Therapy Being Tried or?
  5. Is Red Light Therapy Effective?
  6. Is Red Light Therapy Safe?
  7. Advantages and Disadvantages of Red Light Therapy
  8. Benefits of Red Light Therapy
  9. Side effects of Red Light Therapy
  10. Summary

Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment option that uses short wavelength red light to improve the appearance of your skin, reducing wrinkles, scars, redness, and acne. It is also used to treat other medical conditions.

There is a lot of research going on these days about the effectiveness of red light therapy for all kinds of health uses. The results of some studies have been good but research is still needed.

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RLT is commonly known as photobiomodulation. It was accidentally discovered in 1967 by André Meister at the Semmelweis Medical University in Budapest, Hungary. They observed that laser light helped with hair growth and wound healing in mice.

NASA originally began using red light therapy to help plants grow in space and then to help astronauts heal their wounds. Then like many other developments, its uses also began to be investigated.

Red light therapy is already widely accepted clinically for its use in photodynamic therapy. This therapy uses low-powered red laser light to activate a photosensitizer drug. The interaction produces a chemical reaction that destroys the harmful cells. It is used for certain skin conditions such as skin cancer and psoriasis, acne and warts.

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Red light therapy works by acting on the "power plants" in your body's cells called mitochondria. With more energy, other cells can do their jobs more efficiently, such as repairing the skin, promoting the growth of new cells and enhancing skin rejuvenation. Through this therapy, some cells absorb the light wavelength and are stimulated to work. RLTs do this by increasing the transport of electrons, oxygen consumption, and your levels of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). By increasing the energy of mitochondria, cells can function more efficiently, as well as rejuvenate and repair themselves.

  • May increase collagen production, which gives skin its structure, strength and elasticity.

  • Increases production of fibroblasts, which make collagen. Collagen is a component of the connective tissue that makes up the skin.

  • Helpful in increasing blood circulation in tissues

  • Reduces inflammation in cells

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  • Red light therapy is promoted as a treatment for some common skin conditions, including:

  • heal wounds

  • To reduce stretch marks

  • To reduce wrinkles, fine lines and age spots

  • To improve facial appearance

  • To improve psoriasis, rosacea and eczema

  • repair sun damaged skin

  • Useful for treating acne



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Red light therapy is still an emerging treatment that is gaining interest. But at this time, there is not enough evidence to support most uses.

Most researchers say the results so far look promising, but more quality studies with larger numbers of people are needed.

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Red light therapy seems to be safe as no side effects have been seen so far. This therapy is believed to be non-toxic, non-invasive and not as harsh as some other skin treatments.

If you are thinking of using this, the safest option is to see a dermatologist or qualified, trained, cosmetic practitioner. A dermatologist can tell you about its advantages and disadvantages. If you are thinking of purchasing red light therapy equipment, be sure to protect your eyes while using it.

Nowadays, apart from doctors, red light therapy is being done at home, beauty spas and salons, saunas, tanning salons, gyms and wellness centers. It's always best to check with a medical professional about the best options for treating your skin condition or problem.

Red light therapy is also being used for medical conditions other than skin. As -


  • To reduce side effects of cancer chemotherapy, including mucositis.


  • To provide relief from pain and inflammation associated with ankle tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and knee osteoarthritis


  • To prevent recurrence of cold sores caused by herpes simplex virus.


  • People suffering from dementia were given red light therapy regularly through the head and nose for 12 weeks, and observed that they had better memory, better sleep and less anger.

In another small study, pain, clicking, and jaw tenderness decreased after red light therapy in people with temporomandibular dysfunction syndrome (TMD).

Another study found men and women with androgenetic alopecia (a genetic disorder that causes hair loss) used an at-home RLT device for 24 weeks, which resulted in thicker hair.

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Red light therapy may have some benefits, but it is not right for everyone and it may not work for everyone, depending on the condition it is trying to treat. 


Some potential benefits of trying red light therapy are:

  • Red light therapy is non-toxic, non-invasive and is considered safe for all skin types.
  • It does not use ultraviolet (UV) light, which has been linked to skin cancer.

  • Red light therapy may be easier to access than other treatments, as it can be performed in medical or dental offices, spas, tanning salons, or beauty clinics. Home appliances are also widely available.

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There are no set guidelines for how long or at what intensity red light therapy should be applied. Sometimes you may not even get results from this. The long-term safety of red light therapy is not known. Sometimes using red light therapy can harm the skin or eyes. Immediate results are possible with red light therapy, but it is more likely to take several weeks or months to see improvements.The potential for results and side effects from red light therapy depend on where you get it.


RLT is generally safe and can be a very effective treatment option for people who want to change their skin or reduce inflammation while keeping the skin healthy.

RLT is only one part of skin care, but it should not be the only way to keep skin looking good. A person may need several treatments of RLT to notice changes in their skin.

Good food, exercise and a balanced lifestyle can keep your skin in good overall health.

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