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Why Red-Light Therapy Is Vital for Skin Renewal and Health

February 19, 2024

As we know, the benefits of red-light therapy are well documented. As a treatment red-light therapy and photo-modulation is considered a staple treatment by most salons and clinics.

But if someone asked you “What is red light therapy doing, and what is photo-modulation doing at a cellular level that is so important”, could you answer these questions in simple layman’s terms?

Here is a beautiful explanation recently, articulated by world-renowned Human Biologist Gary Brecka. Brecka is the owner of 10X Health and he is instrumental in steering the organisation’s worldwide wellness strategies and goals. With over two decades of experience in biohacking and functional medicine, he is deeply committed to designing bespoke peak performance strategies. This is what he has to say about the benefits of red-light therapy.

As we know, in every cell in our body is a small organelle called the mitochondria. You have about 110 trillion of these in your body right now. 10% of your body weight is mitochondria.

Inside the mitochondria is a little motor. There are thousands of these little motors spinning around that contribute to what is called the Krebs Cycle. So, one of these weight lengths of light passes through the wall of the mitochondria, kicks out a gas called mitochondrial nitric oxide and forces oxygen to dock.

So, imagine laying on a red-light therapy bed and forcing oxygen into all 32 trillion cells in your body, upstaging the mitochondria, giving all of those cells more power to eliminate waste, to repair, to detoxify and to regenerate. This is arguably the greatest benefit of photo-modulation, Gary Brecka.

If you offer red light therapy in your clinic, why don’t you print this quote and display it in your treatment room?

  • While much is known about the various benefits of RLT there are also several misconceptions.

Here are 12 frequently asked questions that reveal updated facts about the suitability, benefits, and risks of red-light therapy.

Frequently asked questions about red-light therapy

Is there any scientific evidence that red-light therapy works?

While in the past there were very few studies, this has now changed as there are now several studies that confirm the benefits of red-light therapy, so we can safely say that it is an evidence-based technology. In brief, red light therapy is beneficial in improving the skin’s appearance, wound healing, and pain management according to current research studies.

  • RLT uses the therapeutic application of light energy to aid in the healing of skin conditions, pain management and improved mood.

Is red-light therapy good for treating skin conditions under the eyes?

The good news is that RLT gives the skin a collagen boost. It helps stimulate the natural processes in the skin to create more collagen. This helps restore the appearance of the skin under the eyes, making it more resilient, which in turn, can help reduce the appearance of those pesky dark circles.

Do I need eye protection with RLT?

  • Eye protection should always be used when operating light-based devices, especially, professional strength. Do not stare directly at the light, even with an LED device.
  • If your eyes are sensitive to light or if you take medication that causes photosensitivity, consult a medical professional before use.

I have heard that RLT can help macular degeneration, is that correct?

  • Red-light therapy has been shown to improve declining eyesight with one particular study showing promise for patients diagnosed with dry, age-related macular degeneration.

RLT was one of the many topics discussed at the 2023 Macular Degeneration Conference – Hope for the Future. However, the key with eye therapy, according to a study in The Journal of Gerontology is for brief exposure of three minutes a day only, once a day for two weeks. However, as this is an ophthalmological issue it must be approved by your client’s ophthalmologist.

What not to do before RLT?

  • Make sure you remove all makeup and stay away from lotions and creams while under the light, as they will block the depth that the light can penetrate the skin.
  • It is best to moisturise the skin after your RLT session.
  • Some companies recommend applying a water-based serum before RLT allowing it to enhance its penetration, however, the general rule is to apply it directly after RLT.

What is an appropriate time for RLT?

Most devices recommend that treatment time lasts between 5-20 minutes. However, some devices have different instructions, depending upon the power of the light and the specific skincare need. It is generally recommended that you start with a lower dosage of 5-10 minutes and gradually increase it over time.

With a home-use mask is it best to use it in the morning or at night?

  • You could use your mask any time during the day, however, it is highly beneficial if you use it just before you go to sleep.

This will also enhance the benefits of applying your serum and night cream directly after your mask. During sleep your parasympathetic nervous system is activating repair and rejuvenation and the body’s healing process, so potentially you will also be enhancing your skin’s rejuvenation and further support the salon treatment results.

Is there any danger of too much red-light therapy?

  • Unlike the cancer-causing ultraviolet UV light from the sun or tanning beds, RLT doesn’t use this type of light.
  • While RLT is generally safe, it must not be overused beyond 15-20 minutes.
  • A practitioner with little experience or someone who exposes themselves to too much of the treatment may cause tissue damage to the skin, burns or damage to unprotected eyes.

Eyes should always be closed with any light therapy, with goggles highly recommended with the use of LED and RLT. Risks of damage will also depend on the intensity of the light.

Tips for effective RLT?

Choose the right device

  • Look for devices with specific wavelengths (550nm for red light and 850nm for near-infrared light) for optimal benefit.

Consistency is key

  • Regular use is crucial. This is usually 10-20-minute sessions 3-5 times a week.

Safety first

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and protect your eyes during sessions.

Who cannot use RLT?

It is generally agreed by medical professionals that individuals who have seizures or eye disorders should be contraindicated for RLT or used for a very short duration. Any flicker (change of frequency of light) at a high rate can lead to headaches, dizziness, and possible seizures.

Can I place my client under LED light if they have had an adverse reaction from a laser treatment?

  • Absolutely not!
  • Any adverse reaction should be directed to your dermatologist or medical professional for immediate attention.
  • A burn or injury would require a medically supervised assessment to determine the best treatment strategy.
  • As an injury is a medical condition, if you are not a medical practitioner, it is outside of your scope of practice. If you believe that LED will assist in calming the skin, make sure you first gain approval by your physician.

I provide RLT in my clinic, does my client need to also use it at home, and are devices purchased for home use safe?

  • Home-use masks are all the rage at present, and this is because more studies are revealing the benefits of RLT and LED masks.

So, should your clients use them also at home?

  • The short answer is yes, as they can support and complement your clinic results.
  • Additionally, home-based devices offer additional benefits, when used before sleep, and for other reasons such as with conditions of acne, and rosacea and in enhancing skin rejuvenation in a supervised and controlled manner.
  • As these devices are readily available, you will need to educate your client on the advantages of your professional device designed for clinical results through different wavelengths.
  • For their home-use mask, they should purchase it from you where quality and safety can be guaranteed, and where you can direct them on the safest and most efficacious ways to use it at home that will best complement your clinical treatments.

In summary

The benefits of red-light therapy are now supported by numerous studies. However, as with every technology, correct training and continued education is paramount in ensuring both safety and the best possible results.

This is an extract from an article with the same name that is featured in the summer issue of APJ Journal. Please note the original article also covers additional information on the benefit of RLT for weight loss and other health and skin benefits.

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