There are a million and one therapies available to rejuvenate your skin, so why choose red light therapy? In short, because when administered correctly it works. It’s based on science and it doesn’t harm your skin, unlike certain chemical substances developed to rejuvenate the skin. These substances work by damaging the skin in order to promote it to heal, thereby rejuvenating the skin cells. However, this sometimes leads to side effects if the skin doesn’t heal properly.
Several modalities have been developed in order to reverse the dermal and epidermal signs of photo- and chronological aging. The main concept of most of these modalities is removing the epidermis and inducing a controlled form of skin wounding in order to promote collagen biosynthesis and dermal matrix remodeling. The most commonly used interventions as of today are retinoic acid (a vitamin A derivative), dermabrasion, chemical peels, and ablative laser resurfacing with carbon dioxide (CO2) or erbium: yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Er:YAG) lasers or a combination of these wavelengths.25–27 However, these procedures require intensive post-treatment care, prolonged downtime and may lead to complications such as long-lasting erythema, pain, infection, bleedings, oozing, burns, hyper- or hypopigmentation and scarring.28,29
The side effects of red light therapy are practically unheard of unless bad equipment is being used, or someone has had too many/too long sessions. It’s also important that people who may be photosensitive avoid it – certain medical conditions, as well as certain medications can make you photosensitive, which is why you should always consult a doctor if you may be photosensitive. Likewise, you should avoid putting any chemicals on your skin before treatment. Essential oils like citrus oils, for example, can make you photosensitive. Use only natural body products and be sure to use unscented ones before a session and no body lotion, or other creams.
Red light therapy works by stimulating the skin to promote collagen. Collagen is needed in all tissues and helps heal the skin, as well as keeping it soft and elastic. When we’re younger we have a lot more collagen in our skin, which is one reason why babies have such soft skin.
Red light therapy also results in various chemical reactions that increase blood flow and has the potential to activate stem cells. As a result it’s been used to reduce pain and aide healing where there’s inflammation, not only in the skin, but also in muscles and joints. Preliminary studies have shown pain reduction in patients with back pain.
Another interesting thing to note is that red light therapy was developed by NASA to keep plants in space, but it was discovered that it did humans good as well and NASA helped develop equipment to heal the skin of cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy and radiation that resulted in skin damage. They had a 96% success rate in reducing pain in high risk patients.
So in short, while red light therapy has only been studied for about three decades and there are still lots more research to be done, it appears, by far, to be the best skin treatment method available today for reducing wrinkles, healing scars, healing acne and perfecting skin tone.