Derm Appeal Blog

A therapeutic technique that utilizes low-level wavelengths of light to treat skin issues—including wrinkles, scars, and other conditions & persistent wounds—red light therapy (RLT) was originally used by scientists to help grow plants in space, as researchers initially found that intense light from red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) helped promote growth and photosynthesis of plant cells. Red light was subsequently studied for its potential applications in medicine and healthcare: specifically, to determine whether or not RLT could increase energy inside human cells.

The therapeutic technique has now been proven to have an array of health benefits for both skin and wellbeing; RLT speeds the healing of the body, reduces inflammation, and helps the skin’s hydration levels. When the body is exposed to the use of red, low-level wavelengths of light, it produces a biochemical effect that boosts the amount of energy stored in cells. This ultimately helps cells to function more efficiently while repairing damage: part of why RLT has been used to treat scar and wounds. Yet RLT’s popularity has been solidified due to its efficacy & success in combatting wrinkles, fine lines, sun spots, discoloration, and other skin-related issues. In addition to helping hydrate and heal the skin, RLT can also be useful in anti-aging, as it protects existing collagen and elastin—while also stimulating new collagen production.

Unlike many other lasers used on the skin (such as an intense pulse light), which can cause damage to induce tissue repair, red light therapy does not cause skin damage. moreover, in 2014, the journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery assessed both collagen production and subjective patient satisfaction. Despite a relatively small sample size of 200 subjects, most subjects reported experiencing significantly improved skin complexion & feeling, in addition to an increase in ultrasonographically measured collagen density. The study did not only evaluate facial skin, but the entire body: with similarly improved complexion results.

Many spas and dermatologists’ offices offer full-body red light therapy beds, or LED light therapy treatments for face and body. Alternatively, many facial gadgets & devices come with an FDA stamp of approval, and can be used from the comfort of one’s own home. Dr. Z. Paul Lorenc, a board-certified plastic surgeon and SBS Planning Committee member, helped develop the Neutrogena Acne Light Mask, which uses both blue light therapy to kill bacteria and red light therapy to reduce inflammation.


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