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Red Light Therapy Review - 13 Things You Need to Know

Red Light Therapy is a popular option for rejuvenating the skin and possesses other benefits as well. Many claims are made, such as anti-aging advantages and faster recovery of damaged tissue. There are many concerns and questions about this therapy, so we thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look.

The idea of repairing the skin and improving the skin’s condition with a pure light seems farfetched. Our experts analyzed the science behind this technology to help identify whether this is an effective and safe procedure. We share our findings with you below.

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Overview

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is otherwise called photobiomodulation (PBM), low-level light therapy, biostimulation, photonic stimulation or light box therapy.

The therapy can be described as alternative medicine of some sort that applies low-level (low-power) lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to the surface of the body.

Low-power lasers are claimed to relieve pain or to stimulate and enhance cell function. It is also popularly used for insomnia treatment.

Red light therapy includes having low-power red light wavelengths explicitly discharged through the skin. This procedure can’t be felt and does not cause pain because it does not produce any form of heat.

Red light is absorbed into the skin to a depth of about eight to 10 millimeters, at which point it has positive effects on cellular energy and multiple nervous systems and metabolic processes.

red light therapy

Red light therapy is used for treating:

  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Wrinkles and skin discoloration, and more.

How Did Red Light Therapy Start?

Endre Mester, a Hungarian physician, and surgeon are credited with the discovery of the biological effects of low power lasers; which happened a few years after the 1960 invention of the ruby laser and the 1961 invention of the helium-neon (HeNe) laser.

Mester founded the Laser Research Center at the Semmelweis Medical University in Budapest in 1974 and continued working there for the rest of his life. His children continued his work and imported it to the United States.

By 1987 companies selling lasers were claiming they could treat pain, accelerate healing of sports injuries, and more, but there was little evidence for this at that time.

Mester originally called this approach “laser biostimulation,” but it soon became known as “low-level laser therapy” or “red light therapy.” With light emitting diodes adapted by those studying this approach, it then became known as “low-level light therapy,” and to resolve confusion around the exact meaning of “low level,” the term “photobiomodulation” arose.

Claims

Red Light Therapy Claims

The manufacturers of low-power lasers often claim that red light therapy products like the bed and pad among others do relieve pain or stimulate and enhance cell function.

Red Light Therapy claims

Red light therapy generally claims to help jump-start the process of tissue recovery in a natural way and other forms of rejuvenation through increased blood flow, collagen stimulation for reducing wrinkles, and more.

Red Light Therapy “Ingredients”

There are no ingredients for the therapy. However, there is a lot of equipment that can be used for red light therapy, some of which are listed below.

  • Cold Laser for chiropractic
  • Bed
  • Pad
  • Red laser devices
  • Led devices

Keep in mind that you should consult with your physician before starting the therapy.

Effectiveness

Does Red Light Therapy Work?

That is the million dollar question. The answer to this question depends on the reason red light therapy is used.

The mechanism by which the therapy works is not clear, and despite a lack of consensus on its validity, some studies suggest that the therapy may be modestly effective.

Red Light Therapy benefits

Benefits

Red Light Therapy Benefits

Red light therapy has a variety of benefits ranging from neuro-muscular benefits to skin care and others. Some benefits of the therapy include:

  • FDA approval
  • Rejuvenating skin
  • Promotes hair growth

Details On Red Light Therapy And Weight Loss

Red light therapy and weight loss have been a primary argument between supporters and critics of the therapy. According to Photomedicine and Laser Surgery showed that red light could affect hunger, which reduces the intake of extra fat into the body.

How To Use Red Light Therapy

You’ll use red light according to the directions where you’re receiving the treatment.

Cost

Red Light Therapy Cost

Based on where you receive your treatment, the cost varies. For example, the cost of the therapy at Planet Fitness is included with your Black card membership.

Side Effects

Red Light Therapy Side Effects

Relating to safety, red light therapy appears to be safe. There are the chance the therapy side effects may be localized burning of the skin.

Red Light Therapy Product Warnings

Red light therapy appears safe. However, there are some warnings when using the therapy.

Eyes

Do not aim laser beams into the eyes and everyone present should wear appropriate safety glasses.

Red Light Therapy warnings

Tattoo

Treatment over a tattoo with higher irradiance laser may cause pain as the dye absorbs the laser energy and gets hot.

Hair on the head

Treatment of the head and neck with high irradiance laser may cause pain as the melanin in the fine superficial hair follicle absorbs a lot of the laser energy.

Very dark skin

Occasionally some people with very dark skin feel an unpleasant amount of heat.

What Users Are Saying

“This is an outstanding device that has the power to penetrate the skin with red light therapy and help to open up blood vessels to assist in healing, tissue recovery, and pain relief.”

“Nothing but a glorified red flashlight. FALSE claims that it relieves pain. Followed the instructions and nothing.”

“Have had this for about two months and it does help with minor pain such as arthritis. Severe pain in my neck was not helped much.”

Bottom Line

The Bottom Line on Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is an alternative to traditional therapies, claiming to help improve skin, reduce acne, and acts as an anti-aging treatment. While there are therapy before and after photos showing its effectiveness, there’s little research supporting any claims.

There are benefits of the therapy, but there are also programs to add to any lifestyle plan that help you stay on track.

One of the products we like the most is Noom. We love that there’s human coaching and personalized meal plans. It’s also nice to see a nutritionist-managed food database, exercise and meal tracking and a strong community with tons of men and women who’ve successfully lost weight.

Also, the team behind Noom is offering a free trial to Dietspotlight readers as a sign of confidence in their program.

Learn More About Noom »
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Red Light Therapy

Q:
What is Red Light Therapy?
A:

Also known as low-level laser therapy or LLLT, red light therapy is the use of a therapeutic tool that emits low-light red wavelengths. This type of therapy is used on a person’s skin to help stimulate blood flow, encourage skin cells to regenerate, encourage collagen production, and other purposes.

Q:
What are the side effects of Red Light Therapy?
A:

Light Therapy or Red Light Therapy, side effects may include skin irritation, rash, headache, burning, redness, headaches, and insomnia.

Q:
Does Red Light Therapy work?
A:

There are limited studies showing the effectiveness of Red Light Therapy.

Q:
How long does it take for Red Light Therapy to work?
A:

It is not an immediate miracle transformation that will occur overnight. It will provide you with ongoing improvements that you will begin to see in anywhere from 24 hours to 2 months, depending on the condition, its severity, and how regularly the light is used.

Q:
Is Red Light Therapy FDA approved?
A:

The therapy isn’t what gets the approval; it’s the device that must go through the FDA approval process. Each manufactured device must prove that it works and is safe to use. So yes, red light therapy has been FDA approved. But not all red light therapy devices have FDA approval.

Q:
Can Red Light damage eyes?
A:

Red Light Therapy is safer on the eyes than other lasers, proper eye protection should be worn while treatments are underway.

Q:
Can Red Light Therapy help with bags under eye?
A:

Some Red Light Therapy devices claim to help reduce eye puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.

Q:
Can Red Light Therapy help with weight loss?
A:

There is some evidence to show Red Light Therapy can help aid in weight-loss and reduce cellulite, though results will vary with every user.

Q:
Do dermatologists recommend Red Light Therapy?
A:

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, Red Light Therapy is currently being investigated by dermatologists for its potential to help individuals with acne, rosacea, and wrinkles.

Q:
Do you wear clothes during Red Light Therapy?
A:

The treatment area needs to be exposed during the Red Light Therapy, meaning no clothes should be worn on that area.

Q:
How long does it take for Red Light Therapy to work?
A:

Although results will depend on the user, benefits should be seen within 8-12 weeks of treatment sessions.

Q:
What are the benefits of Red Light Therapy?
A:

Some of the potential benefits of Red Light Therapy include aiding in cosmetic skin issues like wrinkling, stretch marks, and acne. It is currently being studied for its potential to aid in weight loss, psoriasis, and more.

24 Red Light Therapy Reviews

  • Anonymous

    I’m wondering if there are fake red lights.

    Reply
  • Red Light Pods are the best modality for your money
    Jessica Brassell, RN

    Red Light Therapy Beds or Pods offer much more holistic, systemic benefits. The anti-inflammatory effects of Red Light and other photobiomodulation aid the cell, energize it, essentially boost it to do its processes more completely and effectively. Heal faster, sleep better–very much like many longevity and health performance optimization tools. I have found in my professional practice at that Red Light therapy is extremely effective in gently boosting the body’s ability to recover. People don’t care about recovery, they care about the things recovery brings–faster weight loss, greater energy, enhanced mood, better sleep.

    Reply
  • Benefits of red light therapy
    Ramakrishnan (Verified Purchase)

    Red light therapy is very useful to stimulate collagen production, lower stretch scars, in muscle recovery and hormone production.

    Reply
  • i have this therapy very Good
    jenn (Verified Purchase)

    Had “laser lipo red therapy and it does work

    Reply
    • kristin

      Hi Jenn, can you tell me more? It seems like a lot of money and sort of a gimmick. I went for one session via groupon but have not decided yet to continue.

      Reply
    • Jess

      Hi Jenn, did you continue? Did you see a difference in your body?

      Reply
  • Does it really shrink fat?
    Nel

    Does it really shrink your “fat”?

    Reply
    • Stephen (Editor)

      Red-light therapy is marketed as an anti-aging treatment. The term weight loss solution is used multiple times on the site, but at no point does the information on the red-light therapy claim to reduce weight, just inches. Nevertheless, might want to consider Dietspotlight Burn, known for burning fat and helping you lose weight, especially when combined with exercise and a healthy diet!

      Reply
  • Debra

    I received red light therapy at a mall spa that has now gone out of business. It produced full blown vitiligo. I lost almost all my pigment on my stomach and back and upper legs and arms as well as a wide patch on my forehead and neck. If anyone in your family has vitiligo, be weary. I had NO signs or symptoms beforehand. By the time it showed up, it was too late. My doctor was alarmed by the dramatic change in my skin.

    Reply
    • Tess

      I had red light therapy done with Photonic Health product by a co-worker. My knee and entire back blistered for 4 days and it took 5 weeks for the scabs to come off and my skin to completely heal!! It’s a horrible product that should be taken off the market!!

      Reply
  • Beth

    I was scheduled for 6 treatments on my abdomen only since that is the only place I have fat. I followed all of the after treatment instructions. After 5 treatments, there was absolutely no sign of my abdomen getting any smaller. In fact, my pants felt tighter without any weight gain. I declined the last treatment. It was a total failure.

    Reply
    • Karen

      I had the same experience. Did 6 treatments on my abdomin and 6 on my face to tighten skin and reduce sun spots. I’ve seen zero results. Don’t know if it is just me but my target areas seem more flabby or “gelatinous”. Spent way too much money on this and of course signed a waiver.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      I agree. I’ve done many sessions in problem areas and on my face for wrinkles and age spots. I followed all instructions and weighed/measured before I started. I am a healthy, 56 yo female. After two months of red/near infrared treatments, I weigh the same, BUT my measurements have increased around my waist and thighs. I’ve never had excess weight in my abdomen, but now I have an awful pouch of fat. Nothing else has been different, so I’ve discontinued the red light therapy. Nothing has improved on my face either. I found this site from searching for “red light therapy doesn’t work.” I’m looking for information about what to do for red light failures.

      Reply
  • It worked for me !
    Kris (Verified Purchase)

    It worked for me. Loved it.

    Reply
  • Dawn castonguay (Verified Purchase)

    Just had my first red lite ,but never thought about my throat I take synthroid for thyroid des. Will there be a problem with this????? Im only using for joint pain.

    Reply
  • Soo

    Do NOT, repeat do NOT use red light therapy for any reason! After 3weeks use, baby fine hair started growing on my face – I had never had any visible hair on my face before, I’m 61 years old. In addition, many of these baby fine hairs failed to surface and became ingrown turning into what looked similar to cystic acne. Now my face is scarred and I’m forced to undergo hair removal in an attempt to stop the cysts. Disastrous and embarrassing.

    Reply
    • bev

      how many treatments had you done? i was wondering about this very thing myself.

      Reply
  • This emulsifies fat cells
    Your Name (Verified Purchase)

    Red Light Therapy does not burn calories, it emulsifies fat cells. If you burn 350 calories with exercise or Whole Body Vibration Machine after the Red Light Treatment it sends the emulsified fat throught the limpatic system. (estimated between 40% – 62%)

    Reply
    • Phyllis

      I am thinking of trying just wonder ehst a session is like?

      Reply
    • ro bel

      so does that mean after you use whole body vibration you loose weight?

      Reply
  • really have no positive opinion
    Cori (Verified Purchase)

    I have my second session tommorrow and really have no positive opinion yet. I purchase a 6 session groupon and will have a better decision after my third visit.

    Reply
    • Jess

      Cory, what were your results? Did you continue?

      Reply
    • Kris

      I did i-Lipo with a Groupon last summer. Loved it. Of course I also made some other healthy changes. But I have tried the healthy changes before with no results. The i-Lipo gave me results. My pants started fitting better with just a couple sessions.

      Reply
    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Cori. Hope it goes well, keep us posted on your progress. If not satisfied with the results, an alternative option to consider is Dietspotlight Burn, it burns fat and its ingredients are safe and clinically proven. You could even try a sample.

      Reply