Red Light Therapy for Melasma

Red Light Therapy for Melasma


Melasma is a common skin condition that primarily affects women, particularly those with darker skin complexion. It can result in patches of darkened skin that tend to occur more often on the face. 

Any kind of pigmentation disorder can be tough to deal with. Currently, there is no cure for melasma. But several kinds of treatments help even out skin tone, one of these being red light therapy. 

Read on to learn more about how red light therapy may be an optimal solution for reducing the symptoms of melasma, along with its many other benefits. 


What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is a natural healing modality that uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate beneficial processes in the body. Light is delivered to the skin via LED devices. The treatment is painless, noninvasive, and safe.

Some of the therapeutic wavelengths used in red light therapy are visible and some are invisible to the human eye. The higher the wavelength, the deeper it penetrates beyond the surface of the skin, providing the mitochondria with energy. 

Some of the most common uses of red light therapy are for pain relief, treatment of sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles, inflammation, and treating chronic skin disorders including melasma, psoriasis, vitiligo, and rosacea.


Does Red Light Therapy Make Melasma Worse?

There have been some questions circulating online about whether RLT makes melasma worse. 

The short answer is that no, red light therapy does not make melasma worse. 

Melasma is caused by an overproduction of melanin, the substance that gives your skin, hair, and eyes their color. Melanin also acts as a natural sunscreen and protects skin cells from damage from UV light.

What causes this overproduction of melanin?

There may be one or more factors that cause melasma. Included in these are the following:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Reactions to medication
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Adrenal disorders
  • Thyroid disease 

Other potentially contributing factors may include chronic inflammation, skin damage, excessive sun exposure, aging, and excessive alcohol use. 

While some genetic factors are unavoidable, numerous health and lifestyle choices could make an impact on the frequency and severity of melasma. 

When it comes to considerations for skin safety, red light therapy does not pose any risks to skin health, because the wavelengths it emits are above the UV spectrum. 

The BIOMAX Series provides wavelengths at 630nm, 660nm, 810nm, 830nm, 850nm, and 1060nm in red light as well as 480nm in traces of blue light, for combined therapeutic value. 

The treatment does not make any of the causes of melasma worse; in fact, it is used to treat many of the underlying causes.

In one case, researchers found that 940nm red light therapy (near-infrared wavelengths) regulated gene expression related to skin pigmentation after eight weeks of treatment. The patients experienced significantly reduced pigmentation.

In the next section, we provide more information about how red light therapy treats melasma. 


How Does Red Light Therapy Treat Melasma? 

The key to successful treatment of melasma is in supporting the body in normalizing melanin production. Red light therapy does this in several ways. 

It’s important to note that red light therapy isn’t a surface treatment. It works at the cellular level to support the body’s natural healing processes and normal function.

Melanocyte Support

First, red light therapy stimulates energy production in the cells that produce melanin. These are called melanocytes, and are located in the epidermis.

If melanocytes are stressed because of chronic inflammation or excessive sun exposure, a condition called mitochondrial dysfunction can develop. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to inflammatory skin disorders and autoimmune conditions. Melanocytes with mitochondrial dysfunction don’t produce enough energy. They can’t perform their functions properly and melanin production becomes abnormal. Some melanocytes will overproduce melanin, and some will underproduce it, as is the case with vitiligo.

Red light therapy can correct mitochondrial dysfunction. This is one of the main ways it supports the melanocytes in producing the amount of pigment that is genetically coded in each individual and appropriate for their skin tone. 

Reduced Inflammation

Second, red light therapy reduces inflammation to further support normal melanocyte function. Inflammation can interfere with normal cell function. Inflammation can cause early cell death and abnormal cell replication in addition to low function that results in abnormal melanin production.

Increased Circulation

Third, the treatment increases blood and lymph circulation to the area to further support normal cell function. Healthy blood circulation brings oxygen and nutrients to the melanocytes, and lymph removes waste and toxins that could otherwise interfere with normal melanocyte function. 

Red LED light therapy also promotes the release of nitric oxide (NO), a vasodilator that improves blood flow by increasing the diameter of blood vessels.

Increased Collagen and Elastin Production

Red light therapy stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. This is one of the reasons red light therapy is so popular as a natural anti-aging tool. Collagen is an essential component of skin wound healing. A wound may cause darker pigmentation on the skin. Red light therapy supports the restoration of normal skin at the site of the injury and around it.

Protective Effect 

And finally, red light therapy preconditions the skin for sun exposure, which helps the skin become more resistant to future UV damage. UV damage is one of the causes of abnormal pigmentation.

In one study, eighteen patients received three red light therapy sessions at 30-day intervals using 675nm red light. After the latest treatment, patients experienced an improvement in pigmentation and a reduction in visible veins on the face.


How to Treat Melasma Using Red Light Therapy

The key to success is consistency. Short 3-20 minute treatments daily or at least 3-5 times a week will support skin health. 

The treatment supports melanocytes as well as other skin cells including keratinocytes, Merkel’s cells, and Langerhans cells. Keratinocytes are the primary skin cell type. Merkel’s cells are involved in touch, as they are in contact with nerve cells. Langerhans cells are involved in the immune response. 

Depending on the severity of your melasma, you may start to see evidence of lighter-pigmented skin and overall, more even skin tone as well as improved skin texture and firmness in a few weeks. Improvements can be expected to continue with regular use.

Even after the condition clears up, continued use can be used to maintain skin health to prevent recurrence and even turn back the clock on aging skin. 


RLT with PlatinumLED: The Benefits 

The PlatinumLED BIOMAX Series are the most advanced RLT panels in the market. 

One of the main benefits of these powerful medical-grade LED light therapy devices is their proprietary combination of wavelengths. This includes two red wavelengths, three near-infrared wavelengths, and trace amounts of blue.

Mid-sized and large panels give added versatility of treating larger areas of the body so you can use red light therapy to treat melasma along with acne, joint pain, hair loss, psoriasis, thyroid issues, lower back pain, damaged skin, wounds, and more. 

Check out the Learning Center and learn about many more ways that red light therapy can benefit your health. 



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