Red Light Therapy: What Is It and What are It’s Benefits

Red Light Therapy: What Is It and What are It’s Benefits

I first found out about red light therapy from my husband’s doctor. He said it helps heart health especially the arteries. He said he has a full body machine that he stands in front of every day for 20 minutes to get the benefits. I also read that Kanye West uses Red Light Therapy to help with his mental health. he said in an interview on tv that he is completely off his meds and solely uses red light therapy.

I have looked into a couple different home machines and purchased a travel red light hand held machine from one company. I will have a review on that one soon. I also bought the full length one from a different company that my husband’s doctor told me about, i’m still waiting for that one to arrive so I can also review that one. Here is some info I found on red light therapy.

Red light therapy or RLT has become a major topic because it can help with many skin issues by using a low wavelength red light. It can also be called low-level laser light therapy depending on the area. It has been found to help with skin conditions, scaling, hair growth, pain, and more. Like any other medical treatment, red light therapy is no miracle cure and can have some side effects. If you are wondering if RLT is right for you, you should talk to your doctor about the treatment. 

How does Red Light Therapy work? 

Red light therapy is a pretty straightforward medical treatment. The treatment involves exposing the body to low wavelength red light. This red light is natural. Due to its low wavelength, it penetrates deep into the skin, where your cells absorb them. The biochemical effect in the cells strengthens the mitochondria, which is where the cell creates its energy.

RLT is different from laser treatments and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapies. Red light does not cause damage to the skin’s surface. Laser and IPL therapies work by damaging the outer layer of the skin, so the skin would repair itself. RLT passes through the skin and can penetrate over 5 millimetres below the skin’s surface.  

Red Light Therapy is still being studied with many studies showing promising results. However, there are not enough studies to show its benefits to be seen as a better treatment option for treating wounds, pain, and ulcers. It is still an option for those who are looking for it’s more skin related benefits.


Now that we know how red light therapy works, we can look at its benefits. 

Improved Skin Health

The many reason people look into RLT is for its skin health benefits. The potential of RLT for skin rejuvenation has led to a number studies being done. In the journal Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery notes that RLT could help rejuvenation by boosting collagen production improving elasticity, increasing fibroblast production which boosts skin’s collagen production and improving circulation between blood and tissue cells. The red light therapy also helped improve facial texture, reduced fine lines and wrinkles.

Improving Acne

Like retinol, RLT is not only an anti-aging treatment also has benefits for those suffering with acne. In the same study as above, it was found some forms of the RLT can be used as an acne vulgaris treatment. Acne vulgaris is caused by sebum clogging the pores. This can happen due a number of factors. One of those factors being UVA and UVB damage which can cause the skin to over produce sebum and even skin cancer.

RLT can be used alone or with other treatments like blue light therapy as effective treatment for acne vulgaris. The light penetrates deep into the skin, affecting sebum production, reducing inflammation and irritation.

Hair Growth

RLT is starting to be used to treat alopecia for both men and women. RLT for hair growth should use two or more wavelengths. In studies, RLT improved hair density compared to the control group. RLT also has been found to increased hair counts and overall growth.

Wound Healing

One of the main benefits being looked into is if RLT can helpful in speeding up wound healing. Studies are still in their early phases so it may be years before RLT is used to help with wound healing. However, in the journal Anais Braileiours de Dermatologia highlights some reasons RLT could be used. Including reducing inflammation in the cells, increasing fibrobasts and collagen, and stimulating new blood vessels. It could also help reduce scaring as the increased collagen and fibrobasts in the healing area and reversing past scarring.

Reducing Pain

Pain reduction is something the medical field has been looking into for decades. RLT is a long term pain reduction plan as during studies researchers noted that those who stuck with the recommended dosages had better results than those who did not. The studies focused on those suffering from musculoskeletal disorders.


The reason for RLT’s anti-inflammatory effects are still not fully understood, but it does offer significant anti-inflammatory effects. The effects are both local to where the light was applied and systemic in other tissues and organs. More research is being done to figure out the reason and how effective the treatment would be for chronic inflammatory issues.

Potential Side Effects

RLT is a natural process. It is exposing the skin to levels of light that are not harmful. There are very few side effects. However, exposing tissue to too much treatment may lead to tissue or cell damage. Misuse of at-home products can lead to damaged skin, burns and damage to unprotected eyes.

Red Light Therapy and Mental Health

If you have lived with or know someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, you may have heard of light therapy. Regular light therapy emits ultraviolet (UV) light to affect the brain chemicals to help regulate sleep routines and mood. 

Early tests with Red Light Therapy has shown that the treatment can stimulate, preserve, and regenerate brain cells and tissues, along with increasing oxygen levels and blood flow. For some people, this can improve hormone levels. This could help those with depression and anxiety caused due to hormone imbalances.

Where to Get Red Light Therapy Treatments?

As RLT treatments become more popular, more establishments may offer RLT rooms or lamps. Spas, gyms, wellness centres, and dermatology offices are the most common places to receive RLT treatments. In most cases, RLT treatments are not covered by insurance because the treatment is not seen as a medical treatment.

There are also a growing number of targeted red light lamps that can be purchased and used at home. If you are thinking of purchasing an at-home tool, make sure that the device delivers red light wavelengths within an effective range. This range will depend on what you are looking to treat.

How Long Does Red Light Therapy Take to Work?

This will depend on the treatment type. Most people experience a reduction of symptoms as early as the first treatment. 

How Often to Have Red Light Therapy Treatments?

The frequency of treatments depends on the condition being treated, the condition severity and if RLT is being used with other treatments. It will also depend on if you are using an at-home option or seeing a professional. Some RLT requires daily sessions, others are a few times a week. 

Best results for most people are with regular treatments over an 8 to 12 week period. It is recommended to continue treatments after the condition has been resolved. It would be one or two times of week for maintenance and continued benefits. 


Red Light Therapy is a great option for people who are for noninvasive skin and pain management treatment. Many studies are still being done on RLT to see how well it treats a wide variety of illnesses, conditions, and health concerns. RLT is FDA approved and has been found to be safe with very few side effects. 

Here are a few options in red light therapy.