Why Red Light is the Best Light

By Dr. Will Cole  

There are many therapies out there promising to be the solution to all of our skin woes. From acne to rosacea to wrinkles - chances are there’s a cream or treatment designed to get rid of these problems. But with so many options, how do we know what’s truly worth our time and money?

As a leading functional medicine practitioner, I have spent the last 12 years consulting patients around the world and immersing myself in the latest wellness research And after seeing that research play out in firsthand experience from myself and patients, I can say with confidence that there are options that should be given more weight than others. And one of these therapies that is on rise (for good reason) is red light therapy.

In fact, chances are you’ve seen your favorite celebrity sporting a strange glowing robotic-looking pop up on your social feed. No, they aren’t from the future, but this technology might be the future. Let’s take a look at how red light therapy is changing the skin care game and what other things it can do for your health.

A Look At Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy utilizes red and near-infrared light at certain wavelengths - typically between 625 nm and 900 nm - on specific areas of the body. It also goes by a few other names including LED light therapy and low-level light therapy (LLLT). So if you see treatments marketed with these names, just know they are using the same technology. 

While more research is continually being done on this therapy, it’s safe to say that the studies that have been done have shown nothing but positive results with very minor, if any, side effects. Because, unlike UVA rays like in tanning beds, they don’t damage your skin.  

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

1. Improves skin appearance

Most of the research surrounding RLT focuses on its ability to improve skin health. Not only can treatment reduce acne, studies have shown that it can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles due to its ability to boost collagen production. Collagen is essential for keeping skin youthful looking but most people’s collagen production decreases over time. One study found a significant increase in collagen density in participants who regularly engaged in red light therapy.

2. Encourages wound healing

Red light therapy can also help skin’s appearance by promoting wound healing which in turn, can result in less scarring. RLT can support the optimal function of skin cells so they can repair themselves better and quicker by its ability to stimulate mitochondria and stem cells. This can be particularly beneficial for anyone who recently experienced cuts or burns to promote the healing process.

3. Promotes hair growth

Hair thinning can be a common symptom of underlying hormone problems or autoimmune-related conditions such as alopecia. Studies have shown that red light therapy applied to the scalp can promote hair growth in both men and women by stimulating the growth of hair follicles. 

4. Supports healthy inflammation levels

Another way RLT can improve skin health is through its ability to lower inflammation. While this can also help with skin problems, applying RLT to other areas of the body can also help with other inflammation-related problems such as chronic joint and muscle pain since the wavelengths penetrate deeper into the body past the skin’s surface. Not only does RLT reduce inflammation in these cases, it has also been shown to increase the production of new blood vessels.

How To Incorporate Red Light Therapy

In order to see results, red light therapy should be done consistently rather than as a single treatment. Depending on what you are looking to achieve from RLT will also determine the best way to incorporate it into your life. For example, more targeted treatments are available through qualified practitioners such as physical therapists for chronic pain management or intensive would care.

However, if you are just looking to just improve the appearance of your skin, there are quite a few RLT devices that you can buy for home use. You can find devices at a variety of price points but expect to still spend upward of $500-600. Sunlighten’s lumiNIR wand is a great mid-range and portable option that can also be used on various areas of the body besides your face. But if you are really looking to fight signs of aging, it’s best to invest in a mask such as this one which is also approved by the FDA! 

If you want a functional medicine perspective on your health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world. 

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