Red Light Therapy: The Issue with Selectable Wavelength Treatment

Red Light Therapy: The Issue with Selectable Wavelength Treatment


While a variety of new products are available in the red light therapy market, are they all truly an advancement?

Some offer ‘narrow-spectrum red light therapy,’ providing ‘targeted treatment’ for specific ailments while others attempt to isolate wavelengths and let the user choose which to emit.

However, is it truly optimal to use a panel, a wand, or an RLT hat that just offers ‘selectable spectrum treatment?’ 

We encourage you to read on to learn more about this issue. This is really about whether it’s better to depend on just one or two wavelengths or to use the therapeutic power of many according to science and not marketing fluff.

RLT users can take advantage of full R+ & NIR+ treatment that includes 630nm, 660nm, 810nm, 830nm, 850nm, and traces of blue light at 480nm that carefully follow the human body's own coefficient of spectral absorption.  This is science and this is what the BIOMAX Series panels provide. 

Selectable Spectrum Lighting: Is it Optimal?  

To begin with, what is a selectable spectrum? And is it an optimal red light therapy treatment? 

There are several problems with selectable spectrum treatment. Initially, treating hair loss can be far weaker with this than when using a broader wavelength spectrum, like the BIOMAX Series, especially with wavelengths emitting at higher intensities. 

Treatment is not optimal when: 

  • Only using one or two wavelengths at a time.
  • Targeting a specific body part, like the head or arms, rather than getting ‘full-body, exposure treatment.’ 

Single-wavelength treatment may not successfully treat inflammation, a known major cause of baldness. 

The other potential issue with selectable spectrum treatment is that in some cases it may not even be the right, ‘proven’ spectrum for the ailment you’re seeking treatment for. How sure can you be that an untested product emits the wavelength its manufacturer claims it does? 



The market has a variety of wands, hats, panels, and other new devices. Many of them originate from the intent to exploit a growing trend of at-home red light therapy treatment. And unfortunately, some of these are no more effective than using a red light bulb in a lamp. In some cases, during product development, the manufacturer may not have scrutinized the science behind the therapeutic value of red light therapy. 

There are claims that using single-wavelength, 810nm red light therapy treats hair loss. But, consumers should be informed that using a broader spectrum of wavelengths is a game-changer. Treatment can not only treat hair loss more effectively, but also lead to many other benefits. 

Inflammation remains a key problem that 810nm alone cannot address nearly as well as a multi-spectrum light panel, which is a key part of treating and/or reversing hair loss.  



Included in the benefits of multiple wavelengths are clearer skin, faster workout recovery, quicker injury healing, and mitochondria stimulation that can supplement hair loss treatment

Beyond aesthetic benefits, a broader RLT wavelength spectrum can also lead to essential health benefits, like recovery from strokes and recovery from traumatic brain injury.  

Each panel features individual LEDs devoted to each wavelength. The PlatinumLED Therapy Lights BIOMAX Series offer multi-spectrum panels that feature:

  • One blue wavelength (480nm - a wavelength proven to be safe for eyes and skin)
  • Two red wavelengths (630 and 660nm)
  • Three near-infrared wavelengths (810, 830, and 850nm)

With a selectable spectrum device, you are limited by wavelength absorption if you choose just red light. And, you are limited by wavelength scattering if you choose just near-infrared light. 



Red Light Therapy Treatment: the Benefits of Using Multiple Wavelengths 

Red light therapy is very well studied. Hundreds of clinical trials confirm that this ‘therapeutic window’ of visible red and invisible near-infrared light has significant benefits for the human body.  

Similarly, blue light is a beneficial wavelength for treating various skin conditions.

Numerous studies have shown that combining red and NIR, and red and blue wavelengths has better outcomes than using these wavelengths on their own.



Multiple Wavelengths Provide More Benefits

Using multiple wavelengths at the same time amplifies the benefits of each wavelength, and results in more comprehensive treatment of the many layers of tissue in the human body.

Blue light is known for its antibacterial properties. Blue light is exceptionally good at killing acne-causing bacteria, which makes it a popular acne treatment. It also reduces inflammation and improves the texture and tone of the skin by supporting skin cell turnover.

Red light increases collagen and elastin production to restore the skin’s youthful firmness and elasticity. It also boosts microcirculation to help keep the skin healthy. 

Meanwhile, near-infrared light has similar effects as red light, except that its longer waves absorb deeper into the skin and the tissues beneath the skin, including bones.



Red Light Therapy: Absorption Depth and the Applications of Various Wavelengths

So, what is it that makes the combination of wavelengths so beneficial? We can go over this in greater detail. 

Blue light absorbs into the skin to a maximum of about 1 millimeter. This means it can treat the epidermis and kill bacteria that cause acne and wound infections. It can also reduce inflammation and has a stimulating effect on the cells’ mitochondria. By using just blue light, you have powerful treatment at surface level.

Red light absorbs into the skin to a maximum of about 4-5 mm. This is about the thickness of the epidermis and dermis. Depending on which part of the body is being treated, it may also absorb deeper into the subcutaneous tissues. 



Red light is a popular treatment for fine lines and wrinkles, psoriasis, chronic inflammatory skin conditions, hair regrowth, neuropathic pain, and many other ailments. If you use only red light, you are treating yourself from just below skin level to slightly deeper.

Meanwhile, near-infrared (NIR) light absorbs into the skin to a maximum of about 5-10mm. This includes bone, connective tissues, blood vessels, organs, lymph nodes, and interstitial fluid beneath the skin. 

Treatment with NIR light can help relieve osteoarthritis joint pain, supplement

brain health, and help with stroke recovery. It can also assist muscle recovery and athletic performance, wound healing, bone health, and more. When using NIR light, you are treating the skin and deeper tissues.



How Multiple Wavelength RLT Treatment Reduces Inflammation

Blue, red, and near-infrared light all work to reduce inflammation. 

Chronic inflammation is at the root of major diseases and hair loss. 

Inflammation may have numerous causes including an autoimmune disorder, poor diet, or UV radiation. Using multiple wavelengths results in anti-inflammation treatment past the skin and deeper.  

These wavelengths also increase cellular energy production and can help treat mitochondrial dysfunction. 

Blue, red, and NIR wavelengths all have wonderful benefits. But why not just use them one at a time? Why not just use blue for acne, red for wrinkles, and NIR for aching muscles?



Red Light Therapy and the Epidermis

Five very thin layers make up the outermost part of the skin, called the epidermis. This is your body’s first line of defense against pathogens. 

The thickness of this protective barrier varies according to body part (thinnest on the eyelids, and thickest on the soles of the feet). The epidermis can be thought of as your body’s ‘outerwear.’ In this layer, most wavelengths pass through with a minimum of scattering.

The next layer is the dermis, which provides a support structure for the epidermis and maintains the health of the epidermis. This layer is filled with blood vessels, nerves, lymph glands, and sweat glands. It is directly adjacent to a layer of subcutaneous fat which cushions the structures beneath the skin and helps maintain body heat. The high water content in this layer makes light photons scatter instead of traveling in a straight line toward the targeted destination.



As multiple wavelengths travel together, you benefit from a cumulative effect where all six wavelengths affect the epidermis, even as they scatter. 

Once the blue wavelengths have reached their maximum absorption depth, only the red and NIR wavelengths continue to travel through the tissue. You still benefit from five wavelengths amplifying each other to make the irradiated cells very ‘bright.’ As the two red wavelengths reach their maximum absorption depth, the NIR wavelengths continue absorbing into the tissue. 

In a way, the light photons entering the body support each other. Even though all light scatters due to the water content in the body, the benefits are amplified when there are more wavelengths available to pass through tissue.

The abundance of different wavelengths in the treated area creates a ‘net’ effect where multiple wavelengths are actively interacting with photoreceptors in the cells. 



Red Light Therapy: Maximizing Absorption

Mitochondria are tiny organelles inside each cell that produce energy. In response to red and NIR light, these cells increase their energy production. This helps support normal healthy cell function. 

The enzyme responsible for this interaction is called Cytochrome C Oxidase (CCO). 

There are specific wavelengths of red and NIR light that are especially “attractive” to CCO and this ‘attraction’ depends on how many copper molecules are in each cell. Another way to say this is that a cell with a specific copper content may absorb more of a particular light wavelength than a cell with a different copper content.

Copper, the concentration of other substances, and the water content of individual cells may make certain wavelengths more effective on a particular cell than others. Because these factors fluctuate and can’t be specifically regulated, you can increase the chances of getting the most out of red light therapy by using multiple wavelengths. In other words, you increase the chances of one of these wavelengths influencing a particular cell.

In relation to this phenomenon, a combination of wavelengths has been shown to increase nitric oxide production, contributing to better blood flow and cardiovascular health. It also accelerates the healing of diabetic skin wounds.



The Convenience of Multiple Wavelength Red Light Therapy Treatment

From a purely practical standpoint, using multiple wavelengths at the same time can help you optimize your treatment time. For example, if you’re using the BIOMAX 900 panel, you can simultaneously treat acne and signs of aging on the face… and treat a deep muscle bruise at the same time. 

You don’t have to switch between wavelengths. More importantly, you harness the amplification effect of multiple wavelengths. 

The Red Light Therapy BIOMAX Series

Ultimately, each layer of tissue receives the maximum possible light energy when you’re using a combination of wavelengths. Does it matter which light therapy device you use? Yes.

We recommend checking out the BIOMAX Series, the most advanced red light therapy panels on the market. 

Meanwhile, the SaunaMAX Pro has all the features of the BIOMAX Series, but is a heat-resistant panel that can be used for in-sauna treatment by red light therapy users in their home sauna. 

Learn more about the BIOMAX series, and browse the Learning Center to discover the many ways that a combination of red light therapy can enhance your health and make a lifestyle difference. 




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