For many reasons, RLT has increased in popularity considerably over the past few years. But what are some common guidelines for home treatment, a good place to start?
For starters, we recommend using red light therapy three to five times per week for 10 to 20 minutes. With time, you may work your way up to daily use for a maximum of 20 minutes per day, per session area.
Additionally, seek the consultation of a doctor or dermatologist, especially if you have sensitive skin.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to setting your treatment schedule, especially if doing so for the first time.
There’s no one-size-fits-all application of red light therapy.
PlatinumLED panels help you get better results in less time by using clinical-grade parts and construction.
In this article, first, we’ll share some basic information about red light therapy. Feel free to page down if you’d like to take a deeper dive into some of the factors you should consider when deciding on specific treatment guidelines.
The Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is also called photobiomodulation (PMB), low-level laser therapy (LLLT), or low-power laser therapy (LPLT).
These treatments often improve skin appearance and treat fine lines. Some red light therapy benefits include:
- Reducing acne
- Improving sun-damaged skin
- Reducing scars and wrinkles
- Treat signs of aging
- Minimizing stretch marks
- Repairing skin tissue
- Increasing overall wellness
- And dealing with a variety of other skin problems.
How does this treatment work?
- Red light therapy devices expose the skin to specific wavelengths of light.
- These wavelengths, which vary in length based on color, are measured in nanometers (nm).
- Different wavelengths penetrate the skin, stimulating natural biological processes during red light therapy.
To put it simply, red light therapy supercharges your cells. A light-emitting diode stimulates the mitochondria, the energy source of our cells. With more energy, our cells function better.
When it comes to which wavelengths provide the most health benefits, research shows that red and NIR wavelengths (known as the therapeutic window) are the most effective.
Finding the Perfect Red Light Therapy Dosage
Now that you know about some of the science behind red light therapy, let’s talk about the dosage.
It’s a scientific fact that no two people are the same. Just as you have unique DNA, fingerprints, ears, and teeth, your health needs and treatment responses differ from others when using led light therapy.
With that in mind, your optimal red light dosage depends on three factors:
- The condition(s) you want to treat.
- Your overall health.
- And your skin’s light sensitivity.
Let’s break each of these down.
Alter Treatments Based on the Condition(s) Being Treated
Some effects, like muscle recovery, reduced inflammation, and improved skin tone, take place sooner after one starts to use red light therapy. Other results can take more time.
Effectiveness depends on overall cellular health and other biological processes that occur while red light stimulates your cells during led light therapy.
When treating chronic conditions, users often see results in one to four months, also depending on red light therapy frequency.
Once you’ve achieved your desired results, frequent therapy sessions will help:
- Maintain improvements in skin tone
- Calm chronic skin conditions
- Ease pain
- Improve muscle health
- Improve hair growth, and reduce hair loss
Now, let’s take a look at how using red light therapy improves your overall health.
Your Overall Health
Waiting weeks for results from red light therapy can be frustrating. This is especially true if you’re in poor health and suffer from several chronic conditions.
However, patience is key. Remember, red light treatment heals from within. The light-emitting diode works at the cellular level, promoting the optimal functioning of cells.
Also, when it comes to usage guidelines, your skin’s sensitivity to light is a big factor.
Your Skin’s Light Sensitivity
Red light therapy has been proven to be safe and effective.
Your skin color, tone, and thickness affect how quickly you absorb red light photons, so you may need to adjust treatment time for optimal results.
People differ in many ways, so no two people can expect the same results when using red light therapy to enhance sleep or for any other reason.
Because individual results will vary, it may be important to consult your healthcare provider about trying red light therapy.
You should especially consult a physician beforehand if you take photosensitizing medications or have skin cancer.
So, to sum up, your particular ailment, your overall health, as well as your skin type are all factors to consider when determining your dosage. But red light therapy time will nonetheless improve health and healing.
Now, here are a few more tips you can use to tweak your treatment.
The “Goldilocks Approach” to Optimal Dosage
Like Goldilocks, you should experiment until you find the dosage best suited to you.
We can recommend a particular duration/intensity. However, if this proves to be slightly off, keep experimenting until you find the dosage that is just right.
Light intensity, known as irradiance, is greatest at 6” away (half a foot). This is perfect for joint and muscle health.
For skin conditions, 12” to 18” away is ideal.
Specifically for facial treatment, we recommend 18" - 24" since facial skin can be more sensitive.
The irradiance chart for PlatinumLED BIO and BIOMAX models illustrates how distance affects irradiance and the treatment area during LED light therapy. However, keep in mind, that results vary largely based on consistency. So, you want to be sure to follow a regular schedule once you begin red light sessions.
Side note: Remember to apply red light to bare skin rather than through clothing.
Now, let’s see how you can effectively implement the goldilocks approach depending on health conditions.
How Long is a Red Light Therapy Session? - Small Sampling of Conditions
Here are some common conditions that you can treat with red light therapy and their typical recommended treatments.
Research has overwhelmingly shown that red light therapy treats skin conditions in countless ways. You name it, from improving skin rejuvenation to softening the appearance of wrinkles, making it good anti-aging therapy.
In one of many studies, participants used red light twice a week. The outcome? Their skin issues showed significant improvements after 30 sessions.
This usage regimen can be a good place to start, for those who have never used red light therapy before.
- Start by positioning the LED panel at about 12” to 18” away.
You can get professional treatment using a red light therapy bed. However, smaller devices that are perfect for your home are available. Take a look at some of our red light therapy set-ups, to find the one that is right for you.
Red light therapy effectively stimulates, heals, and regenerates damaged muscle tissue.
Many athletes improve their sports performance by using red light therapy before and after conditioning exercises.
A 2017 review by researchers from the United States and Brazil revealed that combining red and near-infrared light treated every muscle layer in small and large muscle groups.
Additionally, post-exercise light therapy for maintenance may promote optimal physical performance and help prevent injury.
- Before exercise (for injury prevention): three to five minutes per day at a distance of 8” to 18.”
- After exercise (for accelerated recovery): 10 to 20 minutes per day at 8” to 14”
- For muscle injury: 20 minutes per day at 8” to 14” until the injury heals.
A 2017 research paper published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy supports this claim. One study in particular involved 90 patients, aged 18 to 70, who suffered from androgenic alopecia (baldness). Participants received red and near-infrared light treatment and as a result, showed “statistically significant improvement” in hair growth.
- To stimulate hair regrowth, use red light for 10 to 20 minutes three to five times per week at 8” to 14”
Once hair starts to grow, a maintenance program will continue stimulating normal hair growth.
Arthritis Joint Pain
The Centers for Disease and Control, CDC reports that 58.5 million Americans have arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the most common types. Red light can relieve pain and increase mobility for many arthritis patients.
One study of 50 elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis showed great results from using red and NIR light for 15 minutes twice daily.
- Place the LED panel 8” from the affected joint for maximum irradiation.
Chronic Skin Disorders
People who need to treat chronic skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, endure a great deal of suffering, from severe itching to burning pain.
Research has shown that red light therapy can effectively treat skin issues.
For example, another study published in ‘Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, states that “Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) is a fast-growing technology used to treat a multitude of conditions that require stimulation of healing, relief of pain and inflammation, and restoration of function.”
This same study states furthermore that “inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and acne can also be managed.” They can be treated with a combination of red and near-infrared light (630 nm and 830 nm) in two 20-minute sessions every other day for four or five weeks.
This results in improved skin conditions.
Consistent exposure to red light therapy can reduce symptoms of chronic skin conditions and promote skin health.
- Start with 10- to 20-minute sessions with the LED device at 8” to 14”.
Continue this program three to five times per week for one to four months, followed by a maintenance program.
Skin Wounds and Scars
In 2014, a major research review confirmed its treatment of wounds and scars. Researchers concluded that red light therapy effectively treats skin wounds, minimizing scarring and helping with wound healing.
- 10 to 20 minute red light sessions three to five times per week at 8” to 14” for one to four months.
A good treatment program for skin wounds, stretch marks, and mild scars will stimulate collagen production to soften and minimize visible signs of scars. However, older and/or deeper scars and skin conditions may require longer treatment for wound healing.
Lower Back Pain
Eighty percent of adults will suffer lower back pain at some point. It’s a leading cause of job-related disability. Depending on its severity, back pain can impair your quality of life.
The good news is that red light therapy can effectively treat lower back pain. This includes acute (short-term, often injury-related) and chronic lower back pain (longer-term).
One controlled study found that patients with lower back pain treated with infrared therapy (800 nm to 1200 nm) had a considerable reduction in back pain after six weeks of red light therapy treatment.
- For lower back pain, position the panel 8” to 14” from your back for 10- to 20-minute sessions daily (remain seated if it’s more comfortable for you).
Frequent sessions can significantly relieve chronic lower back pain.
What Happens if you get ‘Too much’ Red Light Therapy?
There are no dangers associated with over-treatment.
Associate professor at Harvard Medical School and red light therapy expert Michael Hamblin claims that the treatment has no downsides and is side-effect free. This is aside from temporary tightness or redness if you have sensitive skin. But you can alleviate this sensitivity by adjusting treatment time or moving farther back from the device.
Ready to get started?
Red Light Therapy: Convenient At-Home Treatment
A high-quality LED device with both red and NIR wavelengths lets you administer red light therapy in the comfort and convenience of your own home.
If you are experiencing the frustration of accelerated aging, suffering from chronic pain, or have a condition that has been stubbornly resistant to conventional treatment, you should consider light therapy treatment.