Does Red Light Therapy Really Work To Remove Wrinkles?

red light therapy anti aging skin care remove wrinkles

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Really though, does light therapy work to remove wrinkles?

Well, results from a controlled trial study did show 'significantly improved skin complexion and skin feeling'.  

As a matter of fact, the subjects in the study showed an increase of collagen and a decreased appearance of wrinkles as a result of red light therapy.

Red light therapy can be used to reduce wrinkles on the forehead, face, neck, chest and around the lips/mouth.

Importantly, all the subjects enjoyed the red light therapy results with no adverse effects!

Although more studies are needed, red light therapy (RLT) has emerged as a simple, safe and cost-effective anti-aging approach that you can enjoy at home.

In this article, we'll deep dive into the benefits of red light therapy for anti-aging skin care and youthfulness.

We'll get started right now...

study_red light therapy to help reduce wrinkles

What Is Red Light Therapy Treatment?

Human cell red light terapy

Since this isn't a technology site, we won't dive deep into the actual science of red light therapy treatment.  

With this in mind, let's talk generally about red light and why it's emerged as an exciting skin and wrinkle-reducing therapy treatment.

To get started, it's important to know that ALL colors have an assigned wavelength.

It's the color red's low-level wavelength that has performed well in research studies done so far.

Actually, light therapy was originally used by NASA to grow plants for experimental purposes and to address common physical problems astronauts have in space.

Later on, the Navy SEALS used red light therapy to heal wounds faster.  

Because red light is able to penetrate the dermis, the theory is the light can help create new collagen through the activation of the energy center in cells.

More collagen means plumper skin and smoother wrinkles. 

How does light therapy really work to remove wrinkles?

Collagen is created by fibroblast cells that use amino acids and other minerals and vitamins to create new collagen protein. 

Needless to say, the process to create new collagen protein needs a lot of energy. The energy comes from the mitochondria, which is part of the cell.

To explain further, the red light helps strengthen the mitochondria in cells.

The mitochondria is where your cell's energy is created The molecule in cells that carries energy is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

In fact, if cells have more ATP, they will function better and be better able to repair any 'damage' to the skin such as wrinkles, scars, age spots--just to name a few.

Alternatively, we've included an excellent video below that will help you better understand red light therapy not only for anti-aging skincare but also for the overall body.

What Are Red Light Therapy Skin & Health Benefits?

Although red light therapy's effectiveness is still a debatable subject, red light therapy does really work to remove wrinkles.

Let's refer to a 2014 study that showed positive results from red light skin therapy.

After the protocol of treatments, the subjects in the study realized 'significantly improved skin complexion and skin feeling' along with increased collagen density.

In addition, another study showed a reversal in collagen down-regulation and slowed down MMP-1, an enzyme that breaks down collagen Types I, II and IIII. 

Alternatively, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has ruled that there aren't enough examples or studies to show that red light therapy is a better alternative than current treatment treatment approaches. 

These are some of the ways red light therapy has been effective for the skin:

Is Red Light The Same As Infrared Light?

Basically, yes--the difference is red light is at a wavelength that is visible to the eye with very little heat.

Alternatively, infrared light is invisible and there's a bit more heat.  

As such, both types of red light penetrate the skin's dermis levels, although infrared penetrates deeper.

For example, red light therapy usually ranges from 620nm-750nm where infrared ranges from 700nm-1mm.

You see infrared in your life today. Infrared is used in heat lamps and toasters in the home. It's also used in the TV remote to change channels.

For collagen-producing and skin-healing purposes, a study showed red light between 620nm and 670nm wavelengths was the most effective for participants.

Interestingly, the researchers in the same study also noted female participants showed a higher collagen density post-treatment over men. They noted more studies between sexes are needed to better understand why.

In addition, infrared wavelengths can help improve conditions such as inflammation, aches and pains, tennis elbow, muscle pain and arthritis and more.

Finally, if you'd like to increase collagen to help lessen wrinkles and lines and treat other injuries and conditions, you can find devices on the market that offer both red and infrared wavelengths in one.

Is Red Light Therapy Safe?

In general, red light therapy (RLT) for wrinkle reduction and other skin conditions is known to be safe. The treatment itself is non-invasive and pain-free.

In fact, red light contains no harmful UV rays like the sun.

Also, there are no needles involved (like microneedling) and your skin doesn't peel off post-treatment like with chemical peels.

Importantly, do not confuse laser therapy with red light therapy. They are two different treatments and laser therapy has more potential risk.

Although there is little risk from RLT, someone could over-use the treatment and cause tissue and cell damage. 

We would recommend having a talk with your dermatologist or physician before starting any red light therapy.

Finally, most red light therapy devices are FDA-registered, not FDA-approved.

Where Can I Get Red Light Therapy Treatments?

Most recently, spas, tanning, salons, gyms, wellness centers and dermatology offices have begun to offer treatments through red light lamps or beds.

Currently, insurance companies don't generally cover the cost of RLT treatments.

However, if you have a specific ailment that requires targeted light therapy treatment (cancer treatment for example), consult with your doctor and dermatologist to see if it might be covered.

Also, RLT lamps, bulbs, masks and wands are available for purchase for at-home use. 

If you're really serious, you can also add a tanning bed or an easily-assembled infrared sauna to your home.

The general cost for a home red light therapy treatment device ranges from $25 to $250 plus. If the device offers infrared wavelengths along with red light, the price tends to be higher.

You may want to consider a professional treatment or two, then continue a maintenance schedule at home.

Where Can I Purchase A Wrinkle-Reducing Light Therapy Lamp?

Red light therapy devices (as well as infrared) for home use can easily be purchased online.

The costs for red light therapy devices range from $25 to $250 plus.

Red light therapy can be delivered in a multitude of ways: wands, masks, panels, lamps and bulbs, tanning beds and saunas.

Also, although eye protection is not needed, many prefer and recommend using goggles or glasses during treatment. 

When choosing a red light therapy product to help rejeuvenate skin and soften wrinkles, ensure the wavelength range is between 600 to 750 nm. This is the range that encourages collagen production, tissue repair and skin rejuvenation.

How Often Should You Do Red Light Therapy?

As with most facial treatments, consistency is key.

In general, most skin care professionals suggest 2-3 treatments every week for average 5-20 minutes for up to 2 months.

Afterwards, you will want to have a regular maintenance schedule.

You could opt to have professional treatments and add in-home treatments to keep your progress going and reduce costs.

Or use the in-home treatment route to answer the question does red light therapy really work to remove wrinkles.

Again, we recommend checking with your healthcare professional and/or directions included with home devices so you get the best results. 

By the way, we did a complete review of the best red light therapy devices and masks for face you'll want to check out.


Does red light therapy really work to remove wrinkles? Our article gave you the information you need to answer that question. 

Red light has been especially useful for anti-aging skin care by helping to increase collagen production which can soften wrinkles, rejuvenate skin, lighten age spots, help wound healing and treat conditions such as psoriasis.

(Infrared light, the invisible wavelength of the color red, can also help people find relief from chronic pain from aches, pains and injuries such as tennis elbow, arthritis or knee and hip pain.)

Given red light therapy is non-invasive with no recovery time, and reasonably-priced, why wouldn't you add red light and/or infrared therapy sessions at home?

After consistent use of the red light therapy, be prepared, you're going to receive a lot of compliments on how young you look!

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