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Red Light Therapy Pros & Cons: Health Benefits & Risks

Red Light Therapy Pros & Cons: Health Benefits & Risks

Table of contents:

  1. What Is Red Light Therapy?    
  2. The Light Spectrum  
  3. How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
  4. Benefits of Red Light Therapy
  5. The Advantages of Red Light Therapy
  6. Potential Side Effect
  7. Is Red Light Therapy Safe?
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Bottomline

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy (RLT), also known as Low-level laser light therapy (LLLT), is a healing technique that involves exposing the body to red light to treat a large variety of medical conditions that require healing stimulation. The therapeutic procedure is used for pain relief, body function restoration, and expedite recovery, among many other applications.

The Light Spectrum 

There is a spectrum spanning from ultraviolet (UV) rays and infrared to visible light.

Low wavelengths of red light are used as a remedy in red light therapy because they are deemed nutrient in human cells and can effectively and precisely influence and enhance cell processes.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Although red LEDs do not feel hot to the touch, they create friction and heat below the skin’s surface. Energizing cells in this way increases their activity, causing them to reproduce faster. Cells take in energy through their mitochondria, which tells them it’s time to divide. Using red light therapy is like a boost to your skin cells’ metabolism. Each time a skin cell splits from the energy of red LEDs, it creates two new copies of itself. As new cells emerge, they displace old, damaged cells that contribute to signs of ageing.

Benefits of Red Light Therapy:

Wound Healing

Red light therapy is a drug‐free approach for promoting wound healing. It can reduce the inflammation in the cells and expedite the wound healing process. Exposing the injured area of the body to red light also stimulates new blood vessels and increases helpful fibroblasts, which result in faster healing and recovery.           

Pain Management

Red light therapy is highly effective for pain management caused by musculoskeletal disorders. The light penetrates deeper into the body, which allows treating muscle and nerve pain. A study showed that RLT is a safer alternative to managing pain than a pharmacological intervention that involves stimulating the cannabinoid systems.

Reduce Pain and Inflammation

RLT’s ability to decrease inflammation and discomfort strikes at the core of so many of these advantages. RLT stimulation has been found to effectively relieve pain in arthritic knee discomfort, ligament tears, chronic knee problems, arthritis, and back problems. The evidence for red light therapy for pain reduction is so compelling that the FDA has authorized it as a treatment for mild aches and arthritis.


Tendinitis is a condition in which the tissues that link muscle fibres become swollen, resulting in discomfort and irritation. 

15-month research comprising 395 sports injuries such as injuries, cramps, tendinitis, and more discovered that this therapy was helpful in decreasing the time to come back to play. Therapies utilizing 830 nm LED phototherapy substantially and reliably shortened the time it took to return to the game. Nevertheless, there has been no controlled study, and further research on red light therapy for tendinitis is needed.

Another seven-person research shows that LLLT decreases inflammation and discomfort in adults with Achilles tendonitis.

Improves Bone Mass and Joint Health 

According to one assessment of collagen nutritional data, taking restructured collagen capsules promotes joint health. Patients with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis maintain bone mass with the help of these supplements. 

It also helped decrease joint discomfort, according to the evaluation. For those struggling from neurological and/or muscular pain, the combination of red and infrared light treatment is the way to go! 

Reduces the Negative Impact of Chemotherapeutic Effects

Extensive research done by NASA has shown that red light therapy can effectively cure adverse reactions of chemotherapy that cause highly swollen gums, inflammation, roughness, and blistering in the throat and mouth. 

Pain Relief in Cancer Patients

A two-year experiment in which people with cancer were administered a far-red and near-infrared LED therapy found that 96% received pain relief as a consequence of this intervention. This is brilliant news because it has the potential to enhance calorie intake, minimize medication use, and enhance people with cancer’s spirits.

Treats Oral Mucositis in People Battling Cancer

Oral mucositis is a frequent adverse effect of chemotherapy treatment for individuals with oral cancer. This negative impact can be severe, preventing sufferers from eating and increasing the chance of disease from bleeding gums.

According to a 2019 systematic analysis of 33 research publications, light treatment can help decrease oral mucositis. Another study revealed that just one dosage of red light therapy decreased their formation.

This disease is generally handled with a specific rinse and pain relievers such as opioids. Red light therapy for oral mucositis is a less expensive option with few to no detrimental reactions.

Improving Skin Health

Red light therapy can be used to improve skin health. Exposure to low-intensity wavelengths can increase collagen production, rejuvenating the skin and helping maintain a youthful look. It also boosts fibroblast production and increases blood circulation in the skin cells, resulting in improved facial texture, reduced fine lines and wrinkles, and smoother skin.

According to data, skin problems like these appear to react effectively to the low end of the scale of the red light spectrum.

In one research, individuals with mild to severe acne were given red light therapy one on each side of their face (630 nm on the right, 890 nm on the left), and only the lower wavelength effectively decreased acne scars

Improves Skin Complexion

A randomly selected, controlled trial of 136 participants was undertaken by specialists in Germany. The patients reported “substantially better overall complexion and skin sensation” after 30 therapy sessions of different durations, featuring reduced stiffness and thicker collagen.

Clinical research on the benefits of LLLT on healthy skin discovered that it was efficient at decreasing creases and enhancing skin suppleness.

Reduces Scars and Stretch Marks

Collagen depletion from the body results in having loose, stretchy, and saggy skin. Stretch marks are brought about by saggy skin either from sudden weight loss or aging. Red light therapy can help stimulate collagen production, thus preventing the further development of stretch marks. It also helps lighten and diminish scars and even overall skin tone. 

Helps With Diabetes

Diabetes is not curative, and now the only method to induce recovery is through therapeutic interventions. Red and near-infrared light have been successfully implemented in reducing the effects of diabetic problems.

In an investigation, individuals with diabetes who had 12 sessions of red light treatment at 632.8 nm saw a substantial decrease in the volume and discomfort of their diabetes complications.

Improves Quality of Hair

People who suffer from hair loss conditions like alopecia can benefit from red light therapy. It can improve hair density and result in improved hair. There clinical studies conducted in understanding the applications of LLLT have been limited, but the promising results show the potential for the RLT to help people grow hair and restore their confidence.

Helps with hair loss

An approximated 50 million males and 30 million women experience a certain extent of baldness, with some showing indications of thinning hair as quickly as their adolescence.

Available treatments generally entail medicine that can have a wide range of adverse consequences, or reattachment surgery, and can be both uncomfortable and costly.

Red light therapy has been found to dramatically improve hair volume and also hair shaft density in both males and females. Surprisingly, there are no significant adverse effects reported in any of the trials, and customer satisfaction is excellent.

Helps With Hair Growth

Red and near-infrared radiation can trigger cells to make more ATP, which enhances circulation within the nucleus and stimulates hair follicle renewal by reaching the head to the root of the hair shaft.

It also boosts collagen, which safeguards the hair from damage caused by free radicals, and improves blood flow to the area, enabling more oxygenated blood and other healthy nutrients to access the roots.

Success Rate of Red Light Therapy With Hair Issues

According to 2014 research, LLLT is both helpful and beneficial for healthy hair in both genders. The study, however, was unable to establish the best wavelength, synchronization, and diagnostic accuracy variables for treatment options.

A 2013 research on 41 males between the ages 18 to 48 revealed that red light hair treatment provided a 39 percent boost in healthy hair in 16 weeks for at therapies every so often.

Aids in Recovery of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel is a painful condition in which the hands and wrists are affected. The median curve in the forearm and wrist is compressed, causing feelings of numbness, tingling, and weakness.

Red light therapy was first used to heal carpal tunnel syndrome, and findings suggest that it can lower discomfort and increase muscular endurance in carpal tunnel sufferers.

 A study of the literature also indicates that red light therapy is a good therapeutic option for oxidative stress injuries since it lowers irritation and promotes the development of new blood vessels. Furthermore, red light therapy has been shown to help with painful diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and back problems.

In one research, 18 patients with varying severity of carpal tunnel syndrome received LLLT for two weeks in 10-minute intervals five days per week. The research reveals that low-level laser therapy (LLLT) significantly decreases discomfort and carpal tunnel complaints, enhances muscle strength, and strengthens the fingers and hands while having no adverse effects.

Improves Cognitive Function

Red light therapy can help enhance memory, concentration, and cognitive performance. 

It can be highly beneficial in the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, and others. RLT can also be quite helpful in the treatment of Traumatic Injury and Neurogenic Disorder.

Beneficial for Dementia Sufferers 

Dementia is not a single disorder, but instead a generic term for the decreased capacity to recall, reason, or make judgments, which hinders doing daily tasks. The most prevalent kind of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

Annually, about 10 million new cases of dementia are reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to analysts, the population diagnosed with dementia is expected to hit 82 million by 2030. These figures are definitely concerning, but physicians have yet to find a therapy that may halt the disease’s progression.

It may sound counterintuitive that red light therapy can also benefit dementia sufferers. Access to both red and near-infrared light has been demonstrated in several lab dementia patients to dramatically detoxify, and improve cognitive performance.

Improves Lower Back Pain

Attendees in a 2015 research with generic persistent low back pain showed a substantial reduction in pain levels in comparison to the comparison group, with benefits continuing three to five years. 

A meta-analysis of randomized research studies published in 2015 corroborated earlier results of a statistically significant improvement in red light therapy for brief alleviation of chronic lower back pain.

Beneficial for Fitness and Performance

Red light therapy is beneficial for more than merely treating ailments. It may also be utilized to improve your body’s fitness and enable rapid recovery time. Red light therapy is being used by an increasing group of prominent sportsmen in their workouts and everyday routines.

Improve Muscle Recovery

 Mitochondria is present more in muscle cells than most other types of cells because even the smallest muscle action necessitates the use of energy.

This is why muscle tissue responds so well to red light therapy. Muscle healing is also an important component in enhancing general fitness. Faster healing reduces the amount of time resting between exercises and therefore less time being fatigued.

When it comes to muscle regeneration and recovery, research shows that red light therapy can help both before and after an exercise. 

According to research carried out in 2014, the treatment strategy resulted in less muscle strength loss, lower muscle spasms, and fewer range-of-motion limitations for up to four days of exercise training. 

A much more subsequent study done in 2018 found that red light therapy decreases knee muscle soreness both before and after activity.

Red Light Therapy and Athletes

Red and near-infrared light aid in muscle repair by boosting the circulatory system, and also cell renewal, many of which have long been shown to aid in the treatment of post-exercise muscular discomfort, tiredness, and rigidity, along with other difficulties.

Red light treatment may also reduce muscle damage and oxidative stress (a mismatch among antioxidant systems inside cells, reducing the body’s capacity to cleanse), both of which are major obstacles to muscle repair.

Red light therapy isn’t only for common post-workout aches and pains.

It has also been found to dramatically reduce return to play (RTP) time following a sports-related accident while having no negative side effects.

Improve Sex Drive and Enhanced Testosterone Levels

Although evidence is ongoing, animal medical studies suggest some possibilities for red light therapy as a possible therapy for sexual dysfunction and low testosterone level. 

A subsequent modest social experiment seems to back up the findings. According to the hypothesis, red and near-infrared light activates photoreceptive proteins in the genitalia, which promotes testosterone synthesis. Another possibility is that red light therapy will block the pineal gland, which releases melatonin, a hormone that inhibits testosterone synthesis.

Enhances  Mental Health and Helps With Depression

If red light therapy, subjected directly through the head into the prefrontal cortex, has the ability to dramatically improve depressed complications in patients diagnosed with severe major depression, research shows. 

A comparable possibility for healing anxiety disorders using red and near-infrared light has been described, with the latest early study indicating a dramatic decrease in perceived stress and also enhancements in insomnia, with no notable negative impacts.

Using Red Light Therapy for Treating SAD Vs. Other Light Therapies

Bright light treatment, meant to simulate the sun, has traditionally been used to treat the seasonal affective disorder, better known as SAD. Bright light, on the other hand, can disrupt your body clock, — particularly if utilized at the incorrect hour during the day. 

Red light therapy, on the other hand, seems to have a favorable effect on SAD symptoms while avoiding the blue light spectra that might disrupt sleep, creating an incentive for using it even before bedtime.

Beneficial  for Weight Loss and Cellulite

It might be tough to get rid of excess weight. Even lifestyle measures can end up creating disappointment and despair even in the most dedicated dieters.

An increasing amount of research shows that red light therapy can assist you to shed calories, lower the diameter of targeted regions such as the waistline, buttocks, and thighs, and dramatically minimize the effect of cellulite.

While additional testing is required to determine the reliability advantages of red light therapy for weight reduction, it definitely shows a lot of potentials, with the added advantages of getting almost no significant negative effects.

A 2020 six-week research including 60 individuals who received LLLT treatments twice a week yielded a reduced waist. A similar outcome resulted from a trial carried out in 2013. 

In a 2009 randomized trial of 67 persons, those who had six LLLT treatments in two weeks dropped substantially more inches in their fatty region when compared to the control group.

Heals Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder in the United States. Some studies prove the effectiveness of red-light therapy in treating health problems like osteoarthritis, joint injuries, and excessive swelling. For instance, participants in a study reported that exposure to red and infrared light reduced their osteoarthritis-related pain by more than half. Another study involving patients with Achilles tendinitis also revealed similar results.

A meta-analysis published in 2000 discovered that red light therapy for arthritis was a significant answer for short-term alleviation and muscle tightness. According to the study, LLLT lowers pain by 70% and morning stiffness by 27.5 mins in Patients. 

Unfortunately, the research did not reveal detailed information on the spectrum, the time span of therapy, dose, and application location. It was said that more research on red light treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is required.

Helps With Hypothyroidism

According to statistics, 4-5% of the American population over the age of twelve has hypothyroidism. This is a disorder in which the thyroid does not produce or deliver sufficient thyroid hormone into the stream. Your metabolic activity will weaken as a result of this.  Inadequate thyroid secretion causes a variety of significant health disorders, like fatigue, excess weight, and an inability to handle cold weather. 

Red Light therapy is a preferable option as medications used to address hypothyroidism might have undesirable consequences. There is enough data to support the use of red light therapy to rejuvenate the thyroid gland and regulate hormone balance in the bloodstream.

Helps with Cold Sores

If you have oral herpes simplex virus or keep recurring common cold, red light therapy can make you healthier faster and relieve the severity caused by those same infections.

 Even though the science isn’t certain. one theory suggests that low-level light treatment really does seem to boost the normal immune system response to severe infection. This is done by enhancing basic cytokines that are triggered quickly after bacterium and retroviruses incursion.

Helps Diminishing Sun Damage

Light striking exposed skin, causing it to change at the molecular scale, is known as sun damage. Wrinkling, pigmented changes like fine lines, wrinkled skin, and blemishes, reduced suppleness, inconsistent skin texture, fractured vessels, and inflammation and splotchy skin are all signs of skin damage due to sun exposure.

Research published in 2006 examined the efficacy of combined 633 nm and 830 nm LED therapy on sun-damaged skin. The research included 36 patients who got nine sessions for five weeks and were assessed 12 weeks afterward. The participants improved in skin smoothness, suppleness, and resilience, according to the research.

The Advantages of Red Light Therapy

Works for All Sorts of Skin

A great advantage of red light therapy is its safety. There have been no instances of LLLT causing damage to any skin type. It should be emphasized, nevertheless, that extended consumption of any light can be harmful. As a result, it’s critical to use light therapy with caution. Ultimately, red light therapy for the skin can help cure a wide range of diseases.

A Substitute for Prescription Drugs

For a long time, pharmaceutical drugs were the benchmark in nursing. Sadly, this offers several risks to long-term wellness and, based on the kind, can be addictive. 

Red light therapy is a non-addictive substitute for conventional medicines and can also be utilized alternately.

Potential Side Effects

Red light therapy is a non-invasive, 100% natural process. It exposes skin to light within safe wavelength levels, unlike UV rays from the sun, which can harm your health. Therefore, there are virtually no risks of the side effects of using the RLT. However, it’s important to use it correctly, for instance, wearing proper eye protection when using it on the face.

Moreover, if you plan to buy a red light therapy device for home, always go with a reputable seller who sells high-quality products that deliver red light within effective wavelengths.

At Solas Light, we sell FDA-approved red light therapy devices at competitive rates. Our high-quality products come with a 3-year warranty and free shipping with no minimum purchase requirement. Get affordable red light therapy devices from our online store to reap the benefits. 

The Ideal Intensity Is Unknown

Where red light does get contentious would be the amount of dosage you really need to absorb to see outcomes still haven’t determined the ideal intensity. Before attempting red light therapy at home, like with any new aesthetic technique, it’s advisable to steer clear of precaution and contact a licensed specialist.

May Cause Mild Redness

The few possible complications that have been reported include transient redness and stiffness of the skin (which, unlike burning, has no negative health consequences because there are no dangerous UV rays present), as well as modest but innocuous eye strain.

Though there are few to no dangers connected with the therapy, excessive exposure or defective equipment may cause skin damage, resulting in rashes and sores. Seek professional help right away if you have any blisters. 

Wear Eye Protection

It’s also a smart option to get some safety glasses available for individuals who are prone to bright lights.

Individuals who are sensitive to light may not be a good fit for light treatment. We suggest trying your light therapy equipment on a section of your skin before use on a continuous basis to discover any intolerance.

Pay Attention to the Quality of the Device

Because the reliability of light therapy devices varies significantly, it is critical that you select a piece of high-quality equipment. In the USA., Red Light Therapy must be approved by the FDA.

 Many imported equipment bought online do not have FDA certification, therefore it is suggested that only FDA-certified devices be used to guarantee effectiveness and safety.

Is Red Light Therapy Safe?

Experts believe that red-light therapy is generally safe and does not cause any serious negative side effects. People exposed to it for longer periods have reported minor problems such as headaches and fatigue, but there is nothing serious you have to worry about. FDA has also approved red-light therapy for treating minor pains, arthritis, and some other conditions.

LEDs produce lesser energy than traditional incandescent fixtures. Due to the obvious lower temperature, LED light treatment devices may be used on the body safely and on a constant schedule.

When used in a doctor’s clinic or with FDA-approved home equipment, red light therapy is usually regarded as safe. Because red and infrared LEDs do not emit UV rays, there really is no danger of cancer from the sunlight.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many red light treatment sessions are required to achieve results?

In-office LED light treatment may necessitate up to ten sessions, each spaced roughly a week apart. After your first appointment, you are likely to notice modest improvements. When you’ve completed all of your appointments, the benefits will be more striking and apparent.

  1. What is the purpose of red light?

Red light therapy (RLT) is a procedure that may aid in the healing of your face, body tissue, and other bodily functions.

  1. Is it healthy to utilize red light therapy on a daily basis?

Red light therapy is a cosmetic therapy that reacts well to numerous daily applications and utilizing it more than once a day may result in quicker results. The exterior of your body or the subcutaneous tissues is not harmed by a piece of equipment emitting red light.


The one unifying factor through hundreds of participant research trials on the efficacy and utility of red light therapy is that it is harmless and has negligible side effects.

We have discussed some of the great benefits of red-light therapy you probably didn’t know. There are many other proven benefits of exposure to red light, and you may read about them in this book titled ’36 Powerful Red Light Therapy Benefits‘.

You can also benefit from red-light therapy from the comfort of your home. You can simply buy red-light therapy devices at very affordable rates. Get in touch with us to find out more about our high-quality LED light devices.

ultimately, red light therapy is safe to be used on all types of skin, even the most delicate, and the research behind this is intriguing. In reality, you may anticipate a moderate method to cure certain skin issues while also reducing the indications of ageing.

The overall opinion is that red light therapy is a completely risk-free, complementary therapy that can have a substantial influence on a range of illnesses and health concerns while also potentially improving quality of life. Today, reflect back on a healthy lifestyle!