DIY Red Light Therapy: As people seek ways to get younger and healthier-looking skin, red light therapy has received much attention. This article will discuss the numerous potential benefits and if it’s easy enough to be done at home.
This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that uses infrared light to help muscle tissue, skin, and other parts of the body heal. The body is exposed to either low levels of red or near-infrared light. Neither red light nor near-infrared light can be seen with the naked eye, but the body can feel it. Red light therapy is also known as photobiomodulation (PBM), low-power laser therapy (LPLT), and low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Red light therapy involves exposing your skin to a laser, lamp, or device that has a red light. The mitochondria (part of the cell producing energy) absorb the light to produce more energy. Red light wavelengths of 660 and 850 nanometers deliver the best biological response and results.
Note: Red light therapy differs from the UV rays used in tanning booths. It does not hurt or burn the skin and uses low heat levels. In addition, red light therapy doesn’t expose the body to UV rays.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy can help with a variety of health issues. In addition, the FDA has approved LED light therapy devices for various uses, including reducing wrinkles and joint pain. The top benefits of LED light therapy include the following:
- Hair & Skin: Individuals suffering from hair loss or alopecia might benefit from LED light therapy. In addition to promoting hair growth, it can stimulate elastin and collagen to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It can also be used as an LED mask to naturally decrease bacterial levels and oil production in the skin without harsh chemicals.
- Joint pain. Red light therapy assists with easing joint pain by repairing broken capillaries, reducing flushing, and improving the skin’s ability to heal itself. Compared to other joint pain treatments, it takes longer to see results, but they are pain-free and considered a safer option.
- Inflammation. Red light therapy helps decrease elimination on a cellular level by targeting inflamed cells: It reduces oxidative stress while increasing antioxidant defenses.
- Circulation. Changing dietary habits and red light therapy can help improve poor blood circulation. In addition, red light therapy can improve oxygen and nutrient circulation throughout the body, which helps boost internal healing.
- Sleep therapy. Red light therapy can help naturally increase melatonin production. This increase in melatonin helps improve sleep quality.
- Muscle repair. A reduction in muscle soreness, muscle strength loss, and less range of motion impairments are a few reasons many use red light therapy. You can attain these benefits with treatments performed up to four days after exercise sessions.
- Soft tissue damage. Red light therapy used in conjunction with ice and compression can reduce ankle swelling and pain, as well as other soft tissue damage from sports-related injuries.
In addition, red light treatments can help with low back pain, gum health, PTSD, and removing cellulite, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other ailments.
Red Light Therapy at Home
There are several home options for red light therapy. These include bulbs, hand-held devices, full red light beds, and LED masks. The home red light machines have less power output than the professional versions. This makes them safe for home use while still being highly effective. The best in-home devices have heat regulators, shut-off timers, and other safety measures.
Is Red Light Therapy at Home Safe?
Red light therapy is considered safe for home use. It is easy to use, quick, painless and has zero downtime. Since many infrared devices have specific purposes, purchasing the appropriate device for your individual needs is key. Each device targets different areas. For example, infrared light is ideal for bone and muscle because of its deeper penetration.
Red Light Therapy Devices
There are many excellent red light devices on the market. For example, red light LED therapy devices, panels and beds are designed for a more targeted approach. On the other hand, red and near-infrared light therapy reduces swelling caused by oxidative stress, treats muscle and joint pain, boosts collagen production, etc. Once you decide your needs, you can choose the best product.
Here are five top-rated FDA-approved red light devices for 2021. Click the links for more information on each device.
This product may improve skin elasticity, fight fatty areas, and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This FDA-cleared product stimulates the growth of healthier and thicker hair. It also helps treat androgenic alopecia and can be used with other hair loss products. Typical results are seen 3-6 months after starting treatment.
This FDA-approved lamp looks like a desk lamp, equipped with an adjustable arm on a sturdy base. It comes with goggles and can be used either sitting or lying down.
This full-body red light therapy system (affiliate link) gives users a choice between red light, near-infrared light, or both for their treatments. In addition, the unique, modular design allows users to personalize the system by adding additional devices.
The Hooga Red Light Therapy Device has 660 and 850nm frequencies. It has 100 LEDs total and is suitable for hanging (stand not included) or used as a portable device.
Red light therapy is easy to do at home and can provide many benefits such as helping with hair loss, improving circulation, alleviating joint pain, and treating inflammation. Red light therapy home devices are FDA-approved. Give this treatment a try on your own. Your body will thank you.