Thumbnail of infographic showing the skin benefits of Red Light Therapy

Quick Reader Summary:
Red Light Therapy uses near-infrared wavelengths to penetrate deep into tissues, stimulating cellular mitochondria and enhancing functions like healing and growth. The skin benefits of Red Light Therapy are many: it rejuvenates skin, improves complexion, and promotes wound healing and tissue repair. For acne, Red Light Therapy (RLT) has been shown to reduce lesions and inflammation, proving to be a safe and effective treatment with minimal side effects. Additionally, RLT helps reduce signs of aging by boosting collagen production and skin elasticity, resulting in fewer wrinkles and firmer skin. It also improves scar flexibility and appearance, making them significantly less noticeable. What’s not to love?

What is Red Light Therapy?
Red Light Therapy is a treatment of photo-medicine that uses near-infrared wavelengths of red light to penetrate deep into biological tissues. These tissues include cells, muscles, and nerves. RLT directly stimulates the mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse, enhancing their ability to perform functions like healing and growing more efficiently. By providing large-area full-body treatment, RLT is proven to rejuvenate skin and improve skin feeling and complexion. Due to the combination of a high degree of penetration in the skin and absorption by cells, red light promotes wound healing, tissue repair, and overall skin rejuvenation [1].

How can RLT help my Acne? Acne vulgaris is a skin disorder that affects 35% to over 90% of adolescents and often persists into adulthood [2]. Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually [5]. While not a serious skin disorder, acne can significantly impact individuals’ social and emotional lives. Traditional treatments include topical and oral medications targeting major causes of acne such as sebum production. Among these, phototherapy including red light therapy has recently emerged as a low-side-effect option, used to destroy acne causing bacteria and reduce inflammation in the skin. A recent study found that red light therapy significantly reduced acne lesions after 12 sessions over a 10-week period [2]. RLT proved to be a safe and effective treatment for facial acne demonstrating no complications throughout the study. Furthermore, another popular study showed that treating acne with RLT reduced mild and moderate breakouts by 36%[3].

How can RLT reduce signs of Aging? Improving the acne and the scars it leaves behind is just one of the skin benefits of Red Light Therapy. But what about those of us past this stage in our life? As we get older our skin undergoes lots of changes, including thinning, pigmentation alterations, reduced wound healing, and the development of wrinkles. There is always growing interest in ways to reverse the signs of aging which has led to an increased focus on light treatments for skin rejuvenation. Studies show one of the most promising treatments for anti-aging is red light therapy.[4] Unlike other rejuvenation technologies that cause controlled thermal damage to stimulate collagen synthesis, red light therapy uses photobiomodulation to enhance collagen production and improve skin elasticity without causing any damage [6]. This process activates fibroblasts and increases collagen and elastic fiber production, leading to noticeable reductions in wrinkle severity and improvements in skin firmness [6]. The results of a 12-week clinical study showed that 80 to 90 percent of participants saw results including a decrease in wrinkles and dark spots and an increase in smooth and firm skin [7].

How can RLT help my Scaring? Skin fibrosis, also known as skin scarring, is a public health problem that affects an estimated 100 million persons per year worldwide [8]. A recent study shows that RLT can help reduce skin scarring by promoting cellular health [8]. When RLT reaches our cells, it boosts energy production and releases molecules that aid in reducing scar tissue. Additionally, another study found that RLT effectively minimizes facial skin scarring, particularly following surgery or injury [9]. RLT has the ability to alter skin fibrosis, an abnormal healing process that happens after the skin is damaged. Furthermore, the study discovered that RLT can enhance the flexibility and appearance of scars, making them less noticeable and more pliable [9].

Infographic showing useful scientific stats about the skin benefits of Red Light Therapy
You’ve seen the science, here are the stats on the skin benefits of red light therapy.

1. Wunsch, A., & Matuschka, K. (2014). A controlled trial to determine the efficacy of red and near-infrared light treatment in patient satisfaction, reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, skin roughness, and intradermal collagen density increase. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, 32(2), 93-100. 

2. Aziz-Jalali, M. H., Tabaie, S. M., & Djavid, G. E. (2012). Comparison of red and infrared low-level laser therapy in the treatment of acne vulgaris. *Indian Journal of Dermatology, 57*(2), 128-130. 

3. Li, J., Li, J., Zhang, L., Liu, X., Cao, Y., Wang, P., & Wang, W. (2021). Comparison of red light and blue light therapies for mild to moderate acne vulgaris: A randomized controlled clinical study. *Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine*. 

4. Huang A, Nguyen J, Ho D, Jagdeo J. Light Emitting Diode Phototherapy for Skin Aging. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2020;19(4):359-364.

5. American Academy of Dermatology. (2024). Skin conditions by the numbers. Retrieved July 8, 2024, from 

6. Lee, S. Y., Park, K. H., Choi, J. W., Kwon, J. K., Lee, D. R., Shin, M. S., Lee, J. S., You, C. E., & Park, M. Y. (2007). A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, and split-face clinical study on LED phototherapy for skin rejuvenation: Clinical, profilometric, histologic, ultrastructural, and biochemical evaluations and comparison of three different treatment settings. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 88(1), 51-67.

7. reVive Light Therapy. (2021). Wrinkle reduction – An in-house red light therapy study. *LED Technologies*. Retrieved July 8, 2024, from 

8. Mamalis, A., Siegel, D., & Jagdeo, J. (2016). Visible red light emitting diode photobiomodulation for skin fibrosis: Key molecular pathways. Current Dermatology Reports, 5(2), 121–128. 

9. Kurtti, A., Nguyen, J. K., Weedon, J., Mamalis, A., Lai, Y., Masub, N., Geisler, A., Siegel, D. M., & Jagdeo, J. R. (2021). Light emitting diode-red light for reduction of post-surgical scarring: Results from a dose-ranging, split-face, randomized controlled trial. Journal of Biophotonics.