Red light therapy has become a cure-all go-to. Seriously, is there anything sitting under red light won’t do? From speeding up the amount of time it takes the body to heal and decreasing inflammation, to speeding up hair growth, red light therapy is really that good. We checked in with Joanna Vargas, Celebrity Facialist and Founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skin Care and Dr. Michelle Henry, Board Certified Dermatologist, to find out more about the benefits of red light therapy and how it may aid in hair loss.
Why Red Light Therapy
The benefits of red light therapy are numerous. “LED light therapy uses red and infrared light to reduce inflammation, build collagen and speed the healing of the body by 300%,” says Joanna. Her most popular treatment is the RevitaLight Bed, which gives a client a full-body LED treatment in just 20 minutes. “The bed covers the entire body with red and infrared light, reducing cellulite, lines, wrinkles, sun damage, acne scars and stretch marks to give a smoother and more even skin tone – all over!” she boasts.
Red and infrared therapy originated in a clinical setting, though Joanna explains that the approach is just as effective in wound healing as anti-aging. “Red light therapy is used in sports medicine to reduce inflammation and speed the healing of injuries. It’s also highly recommended after plastic surgery because it reduces the amount of bruising and speeds up the healing process,” she explains, adding that it’s also a game-changer for estheticians. “I can do an intense peel on someone that can normally leave someone red for hours, but then I can use infrared afterward and they walk out not red at all,” she stresses.
Know Before You Go
Although red light therapy can be used by nearly everyone, certain groups should take precautions before going under the light. LED light should be avoided if you’re pregnant, have a pacemaker, or if you’re on certain medications. If you’re still unsure of whether it’s right for you, it’s best to consult with your doctor before attempting any new treatment.
Improve Circulation, Stimulate Growth
Red light is particularly interesting when it comes to hair and scalp health – just as it speeds up healing, it also prompts the body to grow hair faster. Red light therapy “increases circulation and stimulates new growth, leading to better scalp health overall,” notes Joanna.
The Science Behind LLLT
That red light or low-level light therapy (LLLT) aids in hair loss was actually discovered “serendipitously in the 1960s,” explains Dr. Henry, after mice who were irradiated with a low fluence red laser grew hair. This is because red light therapy increases blood flow in the scalp which stimulates the metabolism in catagen or telogen follicles, resulting in the production of anagen hair. “650 to 900 nm wavelengths at 5 mW may be effective for the treatment of hair loss,” says Dr. Henry who adds that red light therapy is available for at-home devices, either in a comb or cap form.
Red light therapy is safe, Dr. Henry assures us. “LLLT has demonstrated a remarkably low incidence of adverse effects when it has been used over the last 50 years for diverse medical conditions and in a variety of anatomical sites,” she notes, adding that “in the specific area of LLLT for hair growth, the only adverse report, was the temporary onset of hair shedding 1-2 months after starting.” For more on the science behind the why of red light therapy, Dr. Henry recommends this article.
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