Red Light Therapy for Wrinkles: Does it Really Work?
Red light therapy (RLT) used to be a treatment only performed at the dermatologist’s office. Today, you can purchase an at-home device (aka, an LED Mask) to treat a slew of skin concerns ranging from fine lines and wrinkles to acne and hyperpigmentation.
Some people swear by red light therapy devices for treating premature signs of aging. But just how effective is this procedure for blurring out fine lines and wrinkles?
Here’s everything you should know about red light therapy, and what it can do for your skin.
WHAT IS RED LIGHT THERAPY?
LED stands for light emitting diode.
"It works by emitting infrared lights (causing heat) in different wavelengths/spectrums, which have different skincare benefits," says board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman.
Red light therapy is one form of multiple light-emitting diode (LED) therapies. Since red light penetrates skin the deepest, it is an effective treatment for a range of skin concerns, especially wrinkles.
Red light therapy works by stimulating the mitochondria (aka, the energy center within each skin cell). This leads to an increase in collagen production and reduction of creases, inflammation, and discoloration in the skin.
Usually, red light therapy takes the form of a face mask featuring built-in LED bulbs that emit low-level wavelengths of red or near-infrared light. However, it also takes the form of a light panel or wand, depending on which device you prefer. These devices are applied to your face for approximately 20-30 minutes to help treat various cosmetic concerns and skin conditions.
Other names for red light therapy include:
- Low-level laser therapy
- Low-level light therapy
- Non-thermal LED light
- Biostimulation, photonic stimulation.
- Photobiomodulation and phototherapy
DOES RED LIGHT THERAPY REALLY WORK ON FINE LINES AND WRINKLES?
Clinical studies are limited when it comes to the effects of red LED light therapy on fine lines and wrinkles. That said, dermatologists say there’s evidence to suggest it could be an effective skin treatment for lines, age spots, and firmness.
“There have been some preliminary studies that show that this type of light has some effects on cells known as fibroblasts,” says Elma Baron, MD, professor of dermatology at Case Western University. “These are the cells that produce collagen, so we know that red light has some beneficial effects in terms of promoting the growth of and maintaining healthy collagen in your skin.”
Like with most skin rejuvenation treatments, it will probably take a little time and commitment before you see results. Red light therapy definitely has the potential to increase collagen, elasticity, and improve skin tone and texture. But you can’t expect it to work overnight.
In order to achieve smoother skin, you’ll need to keep up your light therapy treatment sessions.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER BENEFITS OF RED LIGHT THERAPY?
Some clinical trials have demonstrated just how effective red light therapy can be for improving your skin’s appearance — and for improving skin health.
According to the derms, red light therapy has the ability to help with wound healing, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and even treat premature signs of sun damage.
Here’re a summary of the benefits of red light therapy:
- Speeds up wound healing
- Fades stretch marks
- Minimizes wrinkles, fine lines and age spots
- Improves psoriasis, rosacea and eczema
- Reduces the appearance of acne scars
- Enhances hair growth in people with androgenic alopecia (hair loss)
- Treats blemishes
SIDE EFFECTS OF RED LIGHT THERAPY
According to the experts, red light therapy is generally safe. Since it’s a non-invasive treatment with no downtime, red light therapy is a favorable treatment for improving your skin’s appearance. Those with sensitive skin may experience a little redness or irritation after the therapy. However, this should be minimal and quickly subside. You should avoid tanning and potentially irritating skincare products like cleansers, creams, and toners straight after LED therapy.
If you have any concerns about the treatment, speak to your dermatologist to get peace of mind.
SHOP ANTI-AGING SKINCARE PRODUCTS
Looking for topical anti-aging products to restore your skin’s youth? Here are some of our favorite products for turning back the clock.
A face mask + serum powered by red microalgae + AHAs to gently buff away dull, dead cells, boost skin’s elastin and collagen, and leave skin feeling smoother and firmer. Remember to follow up with sunscreen to protect your skin from premature aging and skin cancer. For best results, use these products in your daily skincare routine.
A brightening face mask + serum made with vitamin C + vegan collagen to diminish dark spots, smooth out wrinkles, and illuminate your skin. This brightening bundle is a daily go-to for keeping your skin looking radiant and youthful. If your skin’s wellness is your priority, make it part of your daily skincare routine. Pro-tip: wear this vitamin C serum under your daily sunscreen for added protection against UV rays!
Hydrate Bundle is primarily designed to moisturize skin and alleviate dryness. But its key ingredient — hyaluronic acid — also helps to plump out fine lines and wrinkles, giving skin a more youthful appearance. For best results, use this face mask + serum daily to keep your skin smooth, soft, and dewy.
Red Light Therapy is an FDA-approved treatment that can help improve the appearance of skin if you have acne, discoloration, or fine lines and wrinkles. While the results are not permanent, including it in your skincare routine can help remedy a range of skin concerns. Whether you get it done at your local salon or dermatologist’s office, always look for licensed estheticians who are experienced in this skincare treatment. You can also ask for full body red light therapy if you have issues that go beyond your face and neck.
You may even want to consider other forms of light therapy, such as blue light therapy, which is one of the best for treating acne.