Red light therapy is a safe, natural way to speed up the healing process for burns, wounds, surgery incisions, and scars, as shown in numerous peer-reviewed clinical studies. Patients recovering from injuries and medical procedures have experienced much less pain and inflammation, with faster healing results, when using red light treatments.

Light therapy has become a popular natural healing solution and pain reliever for everyone from pro athletes to senior citizens with arthritis. And all without the side effects and major health risks you get with prescription pain meds and invasive procedures.

This educational article breaks down the research on the healing properties of red light therapy, especially for treating burns, healing wounds & scars, recovering from injury & surgery, and managing pain & inflammation.

How Red Light Heals Skin Wounds and Diminishes Scars

If you’re not familiar with red light therapy, the short version is this: red light therapy is natural, non-invasive, and drug-free. A device like Joovv delivers safe, concentrated wavelengths of therapeutic natural light to your skin and cells, where it reduces oxidative stress and stimulates cellular energy production (adenosine triphosphate, or ATP). That helps your body power itself, regenerate & heal faster, and reduce pain & inflammation.

The inflammation reduction is central to red light’s therapeutic healing effects. After injuries and operations, inflammation and swelling is common, and creates pain, reduces activity, and slows the healing process. Red light therapy has been shown in numerous trials to reduce acute and chronic inflammation. Studies on red light therapy and wound healing have also shown how cells exposed to natural light produce new blood vessels, new fibroblasts (which create collagen and connective fibers to heal wounds) and new tissue formation—all leading to faster, stronger healing outcomes, with less patient pain. [1,2]

Healing Wounds, Cuts, and Incisions with Red Light

Red light therapy has a strong clinical record on healing wounds, cuts, and incisions, and for helping patients recover from surgery faster, with less pain and inflammation.

A 2018 review examined numerous controlled trials on red light and wound healing. Researchers determined that, across trials and studies, red light therapy significantly increased tensile strength and wound contraction, for faster, more effective healing results across the body. [3]

Faster, Less Painful Recovery from Surgery with Red Light Therapy

The review cited above also concluded that red light therapy is an effective healing aid for both open incisions and sutured incisions from surgeries and operations. [3]  These results are very promising for patients and physicians hoping to improve the surgical recovery process and limit pain & inflammation with safe, natural treatments.

In study after study, patients and mammals recovering from surgery and wounds have experienced less pain and faster healing with the help of natural red light treatments.

Red Light Therapy for Healing Post-Surgery Incisions

Recovering from invasive surgeries, especially in places like your sternum and chest, is a major source of pain and debilitation for millions of people each year. Prescription pain and NSAID inflammation medications have a mixed record at best, with lots of risks and side effects.

Fortunately, clinical results show how red light therapy is a safe and effective natural pain and strain reliever, especially in a post-surgery recovery environment, when faster healing means less additional health risk and loss of activity.

A randomized double-blind study followed 90 patients after sternum surgery to analyze their individual recoveries and pain levels with and without red light therapy. Researchers determined the following from the post-sternum surgery patients:

  • Reduced pain experienced in significant numbers among red light therapy patients versus those who did not use red light therapy.
  • Very little coughing pain after one month of red light treatments for almost every patient.
  • Less incision bleeding among red light therapy patients.
  • Fewer ruptures of wounds when treated with red light.
  • Less excess blood and complications with the red light therapy group. [4]

The early and very encouraging human clinical results in these types of studies builds on many years of successful laboratory work with other mammals and testing models. For example, a study with rodents demonstrated how red light therapy significantly reduced inflammation in the vital early stages of healing, and that wound closure was far stronger with red light. [5]

Recovering from Plastic Surgery with Red Light

Red light therapy is an effective natural pain and inflammation reliever in all kinds of post-op environments, including plastic surgery. Many of these procedures create a great deal of inflammation that makes recovery longer and more painful.
Researchers in 2015 performed a systematic review of 40 studies (28 animal and 12 human trials) on healing from plastic surgery, finding that red light treatments helped heal acute wounds and improved burn scars. [5]

Red Light Therapy Improves the Appearance of Scars

With many skin injuries—whether burns or cuts or surgical scars—there is a lasting (and usually unwelcome) blemish. Scientists have conducted studies looking at the effects of red light on reducing the appearance of scars.

Healing Raised Scars with Red Light

One peer-reviewed study looked at hypertrophic (raised) scars on 15 children. Researchers treated one half of children’s scars for 3 months and compared the difference to the untreated area. They determined scars treated with red light therapy showed significantly reduced scarification and appearance, and concluded that red light treatments are safe and effective for raised scars. [7]

Less Visible Scarring with Red Light

A 2004 study of burn scars found that patients treated with red light, on average, showed twice the decrease in visible scarring as those who didn’t use red light therapy. No patients reported a negative effect from the treatments, which is the norm for red light therapy trials. [8]

Natural Health & Skincare Professionals Use Joovv for Healing Skin

Joovv’s red light therapy devices are used by leading estheticians and skincare professionals. Natural health leaders are also using Joovv for its healing skin properties. Katie of Wellness Mama tried red light therapy after her husband had hernia surgery: “My husband used it twice a day and healed faster than expected, so I decided to try it too. The biggest thing I noticed was that my c-section scar and stretch marks from having kids started to fade. What mom wouldn’t love that?”*

Red Light Therapy Improves the Healing of Burns

In numerous studies and trials, red light therapy treatments have proven to be a natural boost to the burn healing and recovery process. Taken as a whole, the results show much faster healing, with less pain, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Plus better cosmetic recovery results, and all without drugs or chemicals, or noted side effects.

Red light therapy for burn healing has been repeatedly tested in laboratory settings on rodents and mammals, with encouraging results.

Red Light Therapy Speeds the Burn Healing Process

Red light therapy treatments help people and mammals heal from burn wounds faster, and in a natural way with few risks or side effects. Peer-reviewed studies in 2016 found that red light accelerated the repair of burn wounds by reducing inflammation and increasing tissue formation. [1]
A 2018 study also showed red light aided the development of new blood vessels, and stimulated the increase of fibroblasts (cells that aid in tissue repair). [2]
A recent systematic review evaluated 22 separate studies conducted over the last 17 years, with researchers concluding that red light is “effective in accelerating the healing process.”  [9] These are two examples of the results for second-degree and third-degree burns:

  • Second-Degree Burns: The quicker a burn wound can be treated, the better. Scientists in one trial examined rodents with second-degree burns and found that introducing red light during the proliferative phase, or the healing phase when the body begins to rebuild, was crucial to the final tissue repair outcome. [10]
  • Third-Degree Burns: Over four years, a Brazilian team of researchers examined red light’s effects on mammals with third-degree burns. They found red light not only reduced inflammation, but also upped natural collagen production, which led to a quicker healing process for serious third-degree burns. [11,12]

Red Light Therapy Decreases Inflammation from Burns

Almost every lab study on red light therapy and burn healing has noted a significant decrease in inflammation levels versus placebo and control groups. [1,2,11,12,13] Less inflammation means less pain and discomfort during the burn recovery process. This aligns with the positive human results on red light and inflammation reduction (Joovv is registered with the FDA for treating pain and strain.)

Groundbreaking Human Trial on Red Light Therapy and Third-Degree Diabetic Burns

In 2016, researchers conducted the first human trial to combine red light therapy and split-thickness skin grafting (the gold standard for third-degree burn treatment). The trial was conducted with patients who also have diabetes, which makes burn recovery slower and more challenging, due to problems with blood flow. For patients with third-degree burns and diabetes, skin grafting has a lower success rate, and amputations are more likely. Fortunately, red light treatments had a major positive effect for people with diabetes and third-degree burns, with complete healing in all patients, with no amputations. The doctors used red and near infrared light treatments before and after skin grafts, concluding: “The results of this study showed complete healing in the last 8 weeks for all patients who were candidates for amputation.” [14]

Conclusion: Red Light Speeds Wound & Scar Healing and Decreases Pain & Inflammation

In study after study, red light therapy has proven to be a safe, natural way to speed up the healing process for burns, wounds, surgery incisions, and scars. Patients recovering from injuries and surgeries have also experienced much less pain and inflammation, and without the common risks and side effects of prescription drugs and invasive procedures.


Scientific Sources and Medical References:
[1] Silveira PC, Ferreira KB, et al. Effect of Low-Power Laser (LPL) and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) on Inflammatory Response in Burn Wound Healing. Inflammation. 2016 Aug.
[2] da Silva Melo, Alves LP, et al. LED phototherapy in full-thickness burns induced by CO2 laser in rats skin. Lasers in Medical Science. 2018 Sep.
[3] Gál P,  Stausholm MB, et al. Should open excisions and sutured incisions be treated differently? A review and meta-analysis of animal wound models following low-level laser therapy. Lasers in Medical Science. 2018 Aug.
[4] de Oliveira RA, Fernandes GA, et al. The effects of LED emissions on sternotomy incision repair after myocardial revascularization: a randomized double-blind study with follow-up. Lasers in Medical Science. 2014 May.
[5] Güngörmüş M, Akyol U. The effect of gallium-aluminum-arsenide 808-nm low-level laser therapy on healing of skin incisions made using a diode laser. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. 2009 Dec.
[6] Hersant B, SidAhmed-Mezi M, et al. Current indications of low-level laser therapy in plastic surgery: a review. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. 2015 May.
[7] Alsharnoubi J, Shoukry K, et al. Evaluation of scars in children after treatment with low-level laser. Lasers in Medical Science.
[8] Gaida K, Koller R, et al. Low Level Laser Therapy–a conservative approach to the burn scar? Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries. 2004 June.
[9] Brassolatti P, de Andrade ALM, et al. Evaluation of the low-level laser therapy application parameters for skin burn treatment in experimental model: a systematic review. Lasers in Medical Science. 2018 July.
[10] Trajano ET, da Trajano LA, et al. Low-level red laser improves healing of second-degree burn when applied during proliferative phase. Lasers in Medical Science. 2015 May.
[11] Fiório FB, Albertini R, et al. Effect of low-level laser therapy on types I and III collagen and inflammatory cells in rats with induced third-degree burns. Lasers in Medical Science. 2014 Jan.
[12] Fiório FB, Silveira L Jr. Effect of incoherent LED radiation on third-degree burning wounds in rats. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 2011 Dec.
[13] Rezaei Kanavi M, Tabeie F, et al. Short-term effects of extremely low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field and pulsed low-level laser therapy on rabbit model of corneal alkali burn. Experimental Eye Research. 2016 Apr.
[14] Dahmardehei M, Kazemikhoo N, et al. Effects of low level laser therapy on the prognosis of split-thickness skin graft in type 3 burn of diabetic patients: a case series. Lasers in Medical Science. 2016 Apr.