Red Light Therapy (RLT) is a relatively new innovation. You can use this therapy to reduce inflammation, muscle and joint pain, skin concerns such as acne, signs of aging, etc. But, does it have any disadvantages?
Red light therapy uses narrowband or low wavelength rays of red light. The light boosts the mitochondria in your cells to heal inflammation and create more energy. You can use many devices to get this treatment, and each device is different. What condition you’re trying to treat also factors in the usage of red light therapy.
- 1 Red Light Therapy: What It Is and How it Works
- 2 Pros and Cons of Using Red Light Therapy
- 3 Pros
- 4 Cons
- 5 How to Use Red Light Therapy
- 6 Bottom Line
Red Light Therapy: What It Is and How it Works
Devices that use red light therapy work by emitting narrowband or low wavelengths of infrared (IR) or near-infrared (NIR) light. The wavelength of the lights penetrates your skin, reaches your cells’ mitochondria, and increases its functions.
This, in turn, promotes the increased production of collagen and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Increased ATP production helps repair cell damage, reduce inflammation, and promote cell rejuvenation, while collagen makes the skin firm and youthful. Since these are low wavelengths of light, there is no risk of skin damage like exposure to UV rays.
Pros and Cons of Using Red Light Therapy
Now that we know what red light therapy is and how it works let’s see how it benefits us and its risks or cons.
The benefits of using red light therapy are endless. Red light therapy is now being used to treat many concerns and problems. Here are some of the primary concerns for using red light therapy.
● Skin Concerns
Since ed light therapy is anti-inflammatory, you can use it for simple skin concerns such as acne, acne scars, stretch marks, etc. RLT helps with signs of aging tremendously, as it promotes cell rejuvenation and cell repair by producing collagen. You can also use RLT for more skin concerns such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc. It also helps with diabetic foot ulcers, cold sores, and sun damage restoration.
● Muscle and Joint Pain
As mentioned, red light therapy helps with inflammation and cell repair. So, RLT is widely used in physiotherapy to relieve joint pain and muscle pain. You can use red light therapy for more severe pain such as rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
● Hair Loss
Red light therapy helps fight hair loss. Mainly, it helps by promoting new hair growth via increased production of ATP in cells. It also works for more severe cases, such as promoting hair growth in androgenic alopecia patients.
● Weight loss
Many have seen moderate to excellent results by using red light therapy to reduce cellulite. Using low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or red light, you can remove cellulite and fat from your belly, arms, thighs, etc.
● Mental Health
Red light therapy has proven to be helpful for several mental health issues such as depression, seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, mood swings, anxiety, etc. Dementia patients taking near-infrared light through their noses and on their heads have shown signs of improved memory and more control over their mood/behavior.
Other noticeable benefits of using RLT are reduced dental pain, reduced dental infection, reduced side effects of cancer treatments, etc.
Red light therapy has so many benefits. But, like any other thing, if you do it, wrong red light therapy can damage you. Here are a few cons and risks of using red light therapy:
- Using RLT for too long may cause skin burn or skin irritation
- Red light can cause eye strain and headaches
- RLT can cause sleep disturbance and insomnia
How to Use Red Light Therapy
Let’s see how we can use red light therapy most efficiently-
● Professional Assistance
If you’re suffering from a skin or health condition that needs professional red light therapy, your doctor will suggest it. Devices used by doctors are usually more extensive and more effective. If you’re getting red light therapy, you don’t need to worry about how to use the device. But, make sure to inform your doctor about the medications you are on and what skin products you’re using. If something needs to be changed or eliminated, your doctor will advise you accordingly.
● At-home Devices
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Light therapy is no longer a doctors-only thing. Now, you can buy red light therapy devices for at-home uses. Recognize your concerns or issues and research which type and size of red light therapy device work best for you. Upon purchasing, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on using it.
Different devices omit different lux/power of light; hence will ask you to keep a specific minimum distance between your skin and the device. Follow this instruction properly, as you may end up damaging your skin otherwise. If you have UV light-safe glasses, wear them; if not, rely on regular dark sunglasses. If you’re scared, try covering other areas with a thick piece of cloth.
You can use almost anything on your skin under red light to enhance the results. But, make sure not to use anything that’s photosensitive. There are some oral medications too that are photosensitive. Consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before starting red light therapy at home.
Don’t use red light therapy in the same area or for too long. Otherwise, you’ll risk burning your skin and skin cells. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about how long you should use the light therapy. Frequency also matters. You can’t just use red light therapy thrice a day every day to speed up the process. Learn what the manufacturer suggests, and ask your doctor how frequently you should take RLT and how long each session can be.
Invest in a quality device. Purchasing cheap devices to save money can result in a device that doesn’t function properly. Not only are those devices risky for you, but they also won’t last long. Check reviews from past and current users before purchasing an at-home red light therapy device.
Thanks to technology, we now have access to many new, innovative ways of treatment. Similarly, red light therapy is one such effective way of dealing with several health concerns and medical conditions. We hope this article has helped you understand how to use red light therapy and its benefits.
If you have any more questions, let us know!