How Often Should I Use Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is becoming a go-to for people seeking relief from chronic skin conditions, muscle and joint pain and for those who want to reduce the visible signs of aging. If you’re wondering how often you should use red light therapy for the best results, the short answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But most people get good results with a 15-minute daily session 3-5 times per week for several months.
Everyone Is Different: Start Slow and Don’t Overdo It
The severity of your skin condition, age, overall health and sensitivity to light influence how long and how often to bathe your skin in red light.
There are two ways to get light therapy: from a dermatologist that has the technology in-office, or at home, with DIY devices. During the former, you’re being closely monitored, but during the latter you need to be a bit more careful.
Red light therapy is very safe, and rarely has any side effects. Still, we recommend a slow introduction to determine what will work best for you.
For the first week, begin with a 10-minute session every other day at a distance of 6”-12” from the device. During and after treatment you may feel a gentle warmth in your skin. Sensitive individuals may experience temporary redness and tightness. In this case, decrease your therapy time or move further from the device. If you don’t experience redness or tightness, you can extend your daily therapy time to 15-20 minutes.
As with everything, “more” isn’t necessarily “better.” You won’t notice big changes in your skin immediately because healing is occurring at the cellular level and cells require time to heal and regenerate. Noticeable improvement usually comes after 8-12 weeks of consistent use.
Applying Red Light to Specific Conditions
Some conditions require more intensive treatment than others. This may involve using red light and near-infrared light (NIR) alone or in combination. Red light (660nm) penetrates the uppermost layers of skin to increase collagen production, ATP production, and increase circulation. NIR (850nm) penetrates deeper into the body to reduce inflammation and support muscle and connective tissue healing.
Use red light to improve skin tone, minimize the effects of aging, and heal sun damage in 10-20 minute sessions 3-5 times weekly for 1-4 months. After your skin tone has improved, maintenance therapy using shorter and less frequent sessions will ensure lasting results.
Use red light for upper limb muscles; NIR is more beneficial for the larger leg and core muscle groups. Use red or NIR therapy alone or in combination for 3-5 minutes immediately prior to exercise to precondition the muscles and prevent injury. Immediately after exercise, bathe muscles in red or NIR light for 10-20 minutes to accelerate recovery. A maintenance program of pre- and post-exercise light therapy may promote optimal physical performance.
Use a combination of red light (660nm) and near-infrared light (850nm) for 10-20 minutes 3-5 times per week to stimulate the hair follicles. After 1-4 months, decrease the frequency to 1-4 times per week to continue to stimulate hair growth over time.
One study found great results for red and NIR light for sufferers of degenerative osteoarthritis. These participants used it for 15 minutes, twice a day, with great results, so that’s likely your best starting point. To ease pain and slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, continue with red/NIR therapy indefinitely as a twice-daily regimen, or as shorter and less frequent sessions depending on your level of pain.
Red light is used to treat rosacea, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other chronic skin conditions. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends treating chronic skin conditions with the guidance of a medical professional who will guide you in the optimal intensity of red light therapy depending on the severity of the condition.
Many chronic skin conditions have no known cure, so the best approach involves consistent red light exposure to minimize symptoms and promote healthy skin growth. In general, you can use red light for 10-20 minutes 3-5 times a week for 1-4 months, and continue with a maintenance program as recommended by your dermatologist.
For skin wounds, stretch marks and mild scars, 10-20 minute red light treatments 3-5 times per week for 1-4 months will stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of scars. No follow-up treatments are needed, although deeper scars may require longer-term treatment.
Use Red Light Therapy at Your Convenience
The best part of having a high quality home LED red/NIR device is that you can treat your skin, muscles, and connective tissue at your convenience. PlatinumLED offers two systems: the BIO series; and the BIOMAX series, which combines wavelengths in an exclusive R+INIR format. This helps our devices deliver the optimal spectrum of light and the highest levels of irradiance to treat a variety of conditions.
If you’re experiencing the frustration of accelerated aging, or have a skin condition that is stubbornly resistant to conventional treatment, check out the PlatinumLED blog for information about how red light therapy can help.