Research related to red light therapy (RLT) has revealed that it has many benefits since it can speed up the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP assists in natural healing. Red light replenishes the collagen in the skin, thereby decreasing symptoms of aging. Red light therapy is also effective in healing acne and Arthritis by reducing inflammation.
You might have heard celebrities talking highly about the advantages of red light therapy. It is also visible in the ads posted on Instagram related to high-priced red light-emitting gadgets. It is a treatment that involves laser or LED light on the human body. Red light is the longest wavelength of visible light on the visible spectrum. At times, red light therapy is also referred to as photo biomodulation therapy or low-intensity laser light therapy.
Several pieces of research have indicated that exposure to red light for 5 – 20 minutes can significantly help increase ATP production. It is a compound that stores and gives energy to the body’s cells. According to many leading dermatologists, such an increase in cellular energy in the body is beneficial for wound healing and prevents skin damage. More studies are required to understand better the entire range of benefits and the working principle of red light therapy. However, there is enough evidence that this therapy helps treat certain skin complications like acne, wound care, hair loss, and skin damage due to sunlight.
Reasons Why People Became Interested in Red Light Therapy
It all began when NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) started experimenting with red light therapy on the effect of the light on plant growth. Along with that, scientists also evaluated how red light has a significant role in healing wounds among humans in space.
The other uses of red light were also being examined, and that’s when researchers came across its civilian use. Today, red light therapy has been medically accepted, especially in photodynamic therapy. In this form of therapy, low-intensity red laser light is used for activating the photosensitizer drug. The interaction leads to a chemical reaction that destroys cells. It is used to treat skin disorders like psoriasis, warts, acne, and certain types of cancer.
Researchers are also investigating the role of RLT in treating several other health conditions. But, again, the only deterrents are the treatment’s efficacy and how it is presented.
How Does RLT work?
It is well known today that RLT operates by altering the human body’s power plant – the mitochondria. Since the energy supply is more, it becomes possible for the other cells to do their work properly. These include boosting the growth of new cells, skin repair, and enhancing skin rejuvenation. Specifically, certain cells can be induced to work by absorbing specific light wavelengths.
Red light therapy plays a crucial role in skin health. It can stimulate the production of collagen, which is crucial for maintaining strength, structure, and elasticity. It enhances the production of fibroblast that produces collagen, a component of the connective tissue that helps build skin. It increases blood circulation to the tissue and also reduces inflammation in cells.
Conditions red light therapy is most effective
Most commonly, RLT is being promoted as a form of treatment against certain skin conditions like stretch marks, faster wound healing, improvement of facial texture, removal of scars, repair of skin damage due to UV (ultra-violet) radiation, and improvement of hair growth.
There has been no such study or reports that may have come across any serious negative influence of red light therapy. Whatever information has been published indicates
Discussed below are the top five benefits of red light therapy:
Top benefits of red light therapy, reduction of inflammation
We all know that the human body uses inflammation to defend against injections. It is also a part of the healing process. However, if the inflammation is prolonged or if it becomes chronic, it can lead to several disorders. These may include heart complications, cancer, diabetes, depression, and loose motion.
Studies conducted on animals have revealed that red light therapy can reduce inflammation. This is possible when inflammation-inducing molecules called pro-inflammatory cytokines are decreased by red light.
Benefits of red light therapy, improves acne!
Light and laser-based therapies are usually used to treat acne. The reason is that red light can penetrate deep into the skin. As a result, it can target the sebaceous glands, which are small ducts, and can help improve acne’s appearance.
Research has indicated that red light is most effective in treating acne. The effect is enhanced when combined with a photosensitizing agent drug. It is for patients with acne that do not respond to topical therapy or oral antibiotics. The most commonly used OTC (Over The Counter) photosynthesizing agent is ALA (Alpha-lipoic acid).
It is worth noting that photodynamic therapy can make an individual more sensitive to light for almost three months after the procedure. However, there can be a few side effects, and these may include:
● Discoloration of skin.
● Swelling in the area of the skin being treated.
● Blisters or scale crusts.
● Itching or burning.
● Skin Infection.
Decrease in Symptoms of Aging
The human skin is mainly made of collagen. It is a protein that prevents the skin from sagging. The skin appears plump. Collagen is produced naturally in the body. However, exposure to the sun, smoking, pollution, and aging may decrease production, causing the skin to lose elasticity and appear wrinkled and sag.
A study conducted a few years back has revealed that when the entire human body is exposed to red light at least twice a week, it increases the collagen density of the facial area. The improvements are visible enough, especially in skin roughness and wrinkles.
Reduction of pain from arthritis:
Red light therapy can help reduce pain. In addition, it is effective against several types of Arthritis:
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that attacks the hips, knees, and fingers.
Rheumatoid arthritis: It is an auto-immune condition that causes inflamed joints.
Studies on humans are limited. However, a small study from 1992 has found that red light therapy has led to more than 50 percent reduction in pain due to Arthritis, primarily degenerative osteoarthritis of both knees.
A recent study among rats has found similar outcomes. In addition, the study has revealed that low-level laser light has considerably reduced inflammation of the knee joints, especially among those suffering from osteoarthritis. However, the researchers further noted that a more detailed study would be required to understand the additional benefits of light therapy.
Advantages of red light therapy, promotion of wound healing
Although there has been limited research on adult humans, still in-vitro and animal studies have indicated that red light can accelerate healing in case of cutaneous wounds. There are outstanding advantages of red light therapy for wound healing.
Many studies to date have found that treatment of wounds using red light has led to a reduction in inflammatory cells, an increase in fibroblasts that are connective tissue cells producing fibers and collagen, collagen synthesis, tissue formation, and formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). All of these contribute to wound healing.
Apart from the above top 5 benefits of red light therapy, there are several other uses.
One of the most sought-after among those are the improvement of hair count. But unfortunately, most men in this world suffer from Androgenetic alopecia, a genetic disorder that leads to hair loss. It not only affects men, but is also found among females. This condition has affected almost 80 million people in the United States alone.
A recent study found that laser light treatment with red light can significantly improve the hair count among males diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia. In that study, people were treated every day, with a 25 minutes session for 16 weeks.
Overall, it can be said that red light treatment is less than any other standard treatment. This involves exposing the human body to red light with either laser or LED lamps. Most of the trials and results involving red lights are promising enough. However, further studies are required to understand better how it works and how it can further benefit people.