Red light therapy, or photobiomodulation, is a therapeutic technique that uses low-level red wavelengths of light to treat many skin conditions including hyperpigmentation or age spots.
Red light has increasingly been used to reverse signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, and helps reduce scarring (like acne scars) because it promotes wound healing, tissue repair, and skin rejuvenation.
Researchers have proven through hundreds of well-conducted peer-reviewed clinical studies (see links at bottom of article), that when red and near-red wavelengths of light penetrate the skin, they cause a complex chemical chain reaction during cellular respiration which increases the production ATP in cells. ATP is the energy source in all our cells. An increase in ATP has an antioxidant effect at the cellular level that allows skin to repair itself faster than it normally would.
Red Light Therapy helps:
- fade stretch marks and scars
- speed up wound healing
- increase collagen production
- smooth out the skin’s surface
- reduce age spots
Red Light Therapy Is Safe
Red light therapy introduces no damage to the skin, its non-invasive method only stimulates the regeneration of skin cells, or, the secondary healing. Red light also helps promote the production of antioxidants which help heal cells. It has no associated side effects or safety concerns, and usually includes little to no downtime to reverse aging skin.
As our skin ages with us, it becomes thinner and loses its elasticity. Because red light therapy protects existing collagen and elastin in the skin while it restores the skin’s cellular function and stimulates our bodies to make more of these two important proteins, its restorative and anti-aging effects are perhaps its most noticeable results for the skin.
Red light therapy is becoming increasingly common.
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that most often affects women and can be caused by several factors. Genetic predisposition, inflammation or damage, and hormonal changes all cause these spots to appear on our skin as we age, but most often they are caused by photodamage from years of ultraviolet exposure from sunlight.
The melanin in our skin can absorb a wide spectrum of light, it can take in amber, green, orange, near-infrared and red light. For age spots, these other bandwidths of light can help reduce hyperpigmentation, but they haven’t been as extensively studied as red light has, which penetrates the skin better anyway. Using red light therapy for age spots is as safe and effective as it is for any other skin condition, however, treatment can be challenging because age spots can fade after treatment, but they will come back when skin is again exposed to sunlight.
Where you can get Red Light Therapy
There are many options out there in terms of red light therapy. You can visit a spa or tanning salon for a full-body light (not tanning) bed. It’s offered at gyms and athletic clubs and there are even light therapy centers. But the best, least expensive way to experience red light therapy regularly is with a home device.
A Home Device Is Least Expensive Option
There are many choices from hand-held to whole-body light systems and it depends upon the device and the condition you’re trying to treat how long and how often you should use your home red light therapy device.
To see results, you would start off with four or five days per week of five to fifteen minute red light exposure treatments until you get to a point of general maintenance, and then you would use the device three times a week.
If you only have age spots on your face, you can find a decent device for about $100. However, if you have hyperpigmentation or other scarring on various parts of your body, you should opt for a larger machine so you can target your entire body in one go. These more powerful and larger machines start at about $450.
Buyer beware, not all devices are created equal. A device you buy off ebay and that comes from China, may or may not deliver the power of red lights that will make a marked difference. We recommend brands like Platinum LED and Red Therapy Co. You can find out about the various types of devices available here. (Scroll to the bottom of the article to see choices)
Other health benefits
There are studies that show red light also helps promote:
Other ways to fade hyperpigmentation
If budget doesn’t permit you to try red light therapy, there are other creams that will hep fade age spots over time. The Tommy Timmy Intensive Skin Corrector is a solution for dark spots and age spots. We have found niacinamide to be particularly effective. It doesn’t dry out the skin and it works quickly. Check out our favorite age spot fading cream here. The good news is you can try it out for just $1, including shipping.
Research on hyperpigmentation and red light therapy