Red Light Therapy: Benefits & Side Effects


Red Light Therapy: Benefits & Side Effects

Step into the invigorating world of red light therapy, where science, skincare, and wellness converge in a spectrum of radiant possibilities! Known in scientific circles as photobiomodulation, red light therapy utilizes specific wavelengths of light to support overall skin health and to promote a radiant glow.

This non-invasive, calming, and user-friendly approach to dermatology is being recognized for its potential to address concerns like fine lines and general skin health. But what exactly is red light therapy, and how does it interact with our skin?

Let’s peel back the layers and dive into the exciting realm of RLT for skin wellness, examining its benefits, possible side effects, and the ever-growing range of devices available.

What Is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy (RLT), or low-level laser therapy (LLLT), represents a synergy of beauty and science. Also known as photobiomodulation, this process utilizes light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to deliver specific wavelengths of light to the skin’s surface, fostering a cascade of effects that support skin health.

The secret to this radiant therapy lies in its interaction with our body’s cellular powerhouses — the mitochondria. Light photons from RLT devices penetrate skin layers and are absorbed by the mitochondria, a process believed to stimulate adenosine triphosphate production. ATP acts as cellular fuel, energizing various biological processes that contribute to healthier skin and hair.

One of the unique aspects of RLT is the specific wavelengths used. While your everyday light bulb emits a broad spectrum of light, red light therapy devices are fine-tuned to deliver wavelengths in the range of 630 to 660 nm (red light) and 800 to 880 nm (near-infrared light). This precision helps focus the treatment effects on the areas you want to target.

But it’s not just about red light. LED light therapy spans different colors, each with potential benefits. Blue light therapy, for instance, is known to have antibacterial properties and is often used in addressing certain skin conditions. However, red light therapy has garnered particular interest for its potential in skincare, wound healing, and even hair growth.

The beauty of RLT lies not just in its potential benefits but also in its gentle, non-invasive nature, making it a convenient and user-friendly approach to skincare and wellness. This harmony of science, wellness, and practicality is what sets red light therapy apart from passing trends and fads in the skincare world. This is one complexion-correcting treatment that’s here to stay!

What Are the Benefits of Red Light Therapy?

As we navigate the radiant landscape of red light therapy (RLT), a wealth of potential benefits begins to illuminate our path. Ranging from skincare to wound healing, these beneficial effects underscore why RLT is shining brightly on the wellness horizon.

If you’re considering using red light therapy in your routine or getting a device to use with your clients, it’s helpful to know exactly what it can do.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Perhaps one of the most celebrated applications of RLT is in the realm of skincare. Esteemed for its potential to support skin health, red light therapy has been the focus of numerous clinical studies exploring its effects on signs of aging.

Fine lines, for instance, are a common concern for many people. Through systematic reviews and clinical trials, RLT has been found to help correct the appearance of fine lines, delivering a more youthful-looking radiance. It’s important to note that while RLT can support the skin’s appearance, it’s not a magic wand that makes fine lines disappear; it’s a helpful tool as part of a comprehensive skincare regimen!

Skin rejuvenation and anti-aging are other areas where RLT shines. The therapy is known to help deliver a more youthful-looking glow, potentially slowing the signs of aging. And while research is ongoing regarding the effects of RLT on collagen production, some research does show that the therapy may help support proper collagen density, which contributes to smooth, firm-looking skin.

What Else Can RLT Do?

As with beauty applications of red light therapy, it should be seen as part of a broader wellness strategy, complementing other treatments or lifestyle modifications and advice from a medical professional. For example, it can be a valuable addition to a skincare regimen but shouldn’t replace the use of sun protection or a balanced diet!

Are There Any Side Effects of Red Light Therapy?

While red light therapy (RLT) offers an array of potential benefits, it’s also important to know its potential side effects.

Luckily, there isn’t a very long list of risks when it comes to RLT — in general, RLT is recognized as a safe, non-invasive treatment option, making it a favorite for at-home devices and individuals with sensitive skin.

That said, some individuals might experience minor skin reactions after an RLT session. These can include slight redness, itchiness, or tingling. It’s important to note that these are typically temporary reactions and subside on their own.

In cases of sensitive skin or a known skin condition, it’s always best for clients to consult a healthcare provider or a dermatologist before using red light therapy.

There’s one other potential risk to note, which isn’t strictly a side effect. The LEDs used in red light therapy are safe for skin, but they can be too intense for the eyes at times. It’s generally recommended to avoid looking directly at the light source and to use protective eyewear during a session, especially if you’re using a full-face device such as the Illuminate Full Face LED Panel.

What Should You Know About LED Devices?

When it comes to working red light therapy into your practice — or even if you’re an individual looking to get a device to use from the comfort of your own home — you’ve got a lot of options. Red light therapy is generally safe and non-invasive, so there isn’t a massive risk factor.

That said, there are some key questions you should ask of yourself and any potential equipment before you commit to make sure you’re getting a device that’s safe, effective, and, lastly, suits all of your needs.

Is Red Light Therapy FDA Approved?

An FDA-approved device has undergone rigorous testing for safety and efficacy. When browsing through options, look for FDA-approved or FDA-cleared devices and use that as your first filter. If a device hasn’t been approved by the FDA, give it a pass — you don’t want to take any risks when it comes to your clients’ skin!

How Can You Choose the Right LED Device?


The magic of RLT lies in its specific wavelengths. Look for a device that offers light in the 630 to 660 nm (red light) or 800 to 880 nm (near-infrared light) range to get the most efficacious Red Light Therapy.

That said, there are also devices available, like the Glide N’ Glow, that are able to switch between a variety of light colors and wavelengths to give you more options when it comes to addressing specific skincare concerns. If you want a larger range from your potential LED device, multi-faceted devices such as these are your best bet.

Treatment Areas

Consider what area of the body you’d like to focus on, because it’ll determine which device is best suited to your needs. Are you mainly dealing with concerns around mature skin? Then a device that works best on the face and neck is ideal. Looking to offer a full-face rejuvenation? Then a larger, full-face mask or panel is in order.

If your skincare practice extends to full body treatments, the Illuminate LED Body Pad can light the way to more even skin from head to toe with its thousands of powerful LEDs.

Brand Reputation

Once you’ve decided what you want, before you commit, check out the brand reputation! Read reviews, look for clinical studies that support the product, and discuss your options with other estheticians or skincare mavens who might have experiences with it.

While reviews aren’t everything, they can definitely sometimes save you from making a huge mistake when a company’s promises don’t necessarily align with their results.


The most expensive option isn’t always the best. Look for a device that fits your budget and meets the above criteria. You want the best for yourself and your clients, of course, but if you overextend yourself, you’re likely to regret it (at least in the short term).

That said, it can be worth investing in a more expensive product if — and only if — you’re certain it will make up for its price in quality and even out over time.

What’s the Future of Red Light Therapy?

The journey towards understanding and harnessing the full potential of red light therapy is still underway, with researchers worldwide dedicating efforts to unravel this captivating field of healthcare.

In the realm of space, NASA has been exploring the use of LED light therapy to promote wound healing and cell growth during long-duration space travel — but research is ongoing.

Moreover, innovation in the field of RLT is not confined to the lab. The growing market for at-home red light therapy devices is a testament to growing interest in this wellness tool. As the technology evolves, we can expect to see more user-friendly, effective, and diverse home-use RLT devices hitting the market, making this beneficial therapy more accessible than ever.

Step Into the (Red) Light

Through the lens of red light therapy, we’ve journeyed across the terrain of wellness and skincare, uncovering how this unique light spectrum can support our skin health. We’ve navigated the science of photobiomodulation, understood its potential benefits, and shed light on potential side effects.

As we stand on the cusp of this radiant wellness frontier, it’s crucial to remember the importance of professional guidance. Whether you’re an esthetician seeking to enhance your toolkit, or an average Joe exploring new skincare options, always consult with healthcare professionals before starting any new treatment and do your research before buying any new equipment.

As research continues to shine a light on this intriguing field, it’s time to embrace the glow of the impressive results we already know are possible and harness the power of red light therapy to deliver more radiant skin for everyone.


Photobiomodulation or Low-Level Laser Therapy | National Library of Medicine

LED Light Therapy | Cleveland Clinic

Near-Infrared Light Increases ATP, Extends Lifespan and Improves Mobility in Aged | National Library of Medicine

Efficacy of Phototherapy To Treat Facial Ageing When Using A Red Versus An Amber Led: A Protocol For A Randomised Controlled Trial | National Library of Medicine


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