Expert shares benefits of Red Light Therapy including hair growth, wrinkle reduction and more

A woman on an LED light bed, receiving red light therapy.
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Red light therapy is more popular than ever, with global searches for the beauty trend continuing to soar. The treatment involves exposure to red and near-infrared light, which penetrates the skin by one to two millimetres.

The process stimulates mitochondria in skin cells, boosting energy production essential for a number of processes. Red light therapy has multiple benefits from preventing sunburn, reducing wrinkles, improving scarring and even the promotion of hair growth by improving circulation.

Experts from beauty and wellness marketplace Fresha have revealed five benefits of red light therapy during the summertime.

Preventing sunburn

The warmer weather is on its way, so it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to protect skin from UV radiation. In addition to regularly using sunscreen, research on ‘LED Photoprevention’ has shown that people can avoid sunburn with regular red light therapy.

Red and near-infrared light prepares the skin for UV radiation. The 2008 study found that red light pre-treatment significantly reduced redness and hyperpigmentation after sun exposure – similar to the effects of SPF15. This method is helpful for people who wish to enjoy the summer sunshine without sunburn, which can damage skin cells and encourage sunspots.

Reducing wrinkles

In addition to burns, sun damage can lead to premature ageing. Red light therapy reduces the appearance of premature ageing by increasing collagen production, with research from Gitnux stating that the therapy can lessen wrinkles by 36% over a ten-week period.

Red and near-infrared light penetrates the skin and, in turn, promotes the creation of the protein collagen, which is responsible for the skin’s strength, elasticity and hydration, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Reducing inflammation

Sun exposure can exacerbate various skin conditions and autoimmune diseases, including eczema and psoriasis, as heat and sweat worsen symptoms. This may lead to excessive itching and flaking, which is painful for those involved.

According to Elizabeth H. Page, MD – dermatologist at Beth Israel Lahey Health and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School in Boston – red light therapy’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce these symptoms. Red and near-infrared lights do this by combatting white blood cells that trigger inflammation and cause lesions, such as those seen in cases of eczema and psoriasis.

Improving scarring

The appearance of scarring can worsen after sun exposure. Therefore, in addition to regularly using sunscreen that protects against discolouration, people can soften scarring with red light therapy.

The therapy can be used to treat multiple scars. For example, red and near-infrared light boosts collagen production, improving the appearance of acne-related scarring, otherwise known as atrophic scars. The same can also be accomplished for keloid scars and stretch marks.

Promote hair growth

On average, it is common for around 50-100 hair strands to fall out per day. However, some people may notice more hair loss during the summer months, which can be due to a build-up of dirt, sweat and grease in the hot weather.

According to research by Healthline, red light therapy improves circulation and encourages hair growth. It can promote hair growth during the summer months, especially for those with conditions such as alopecia.

The list doesn’t stop there. Red light therapy has many other benefits, from relieving muscle pain to assisting wound healing and even reducing body fat. Despite outcomes varying from subject to subject, studies continue to be conducted into the benefits of red light therapy – and the treatment doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.