At Home Red Light Therapy

At Home Red Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy can help be a helpful tool in healing skin and reducing the signs of aging. 

To learn how, check out Dr. Heather Rogers feature in this recent article by Spy Magazine's Adam Hurley - Reviewed: I've Used the Dr. Dennis Gross LED Mask for 7 Months and It's Basically Perfect.

Still looking to learn more about Red Light Therapy? Check out our video below. 


--What do red lights do for skin?

Low level light therapy (LLLT) with red and infrared wavelengths improves the way our cells work. The cell’s mitochondria absorb the photons (energy) from the light. This activation makes them more efficient in their use of oxygen and better able to  make ATP (cell fuel.)  With more fuel, the cell becomes more active and better at doing their jobs including DNA repair,  collagen synthesis, or calming inflammation. 

The best results with LLLT are for skin rejuvenation and wound healing using red light (640 +/- 25nm) and infrared light (880 +/-50nm). Having a bunch of wavelengths is less important than having a quality device that is comfortable and easy for you to use for your primary goal. The data is simply not as strong for blue, green and yellow light. 

-How can someone get the most efficacy out of using red light?

You have to use it! Most devices require daily to three times a week use for at least a month to see results. Figure out your habit and stick to it. Most people find the first thing in the morning or the last step before bed easiest to do. Tinted sunscreen and some make up can block visible light so it is better to use on clean skin. treatments including retinol or vitamin C and moisturizers are fine to use before the treatment.

If you have dry skin, the heat generated by some of these devices can dry your skin out so adding moisturizer before and after can make your skin tolerate the treatments better. My favorites are Celluma and Omnilux. I use it in bed before I fall asleep.  I have cleansed and moisturized my face and then press my healing balm all over my face to seal in water before the LLLT. 

--What is the difference between this mask and in-office treatments? Should someone do both, or does regular use of this go a long enough way?

LLLT can be safe and effective at activating our cells to do more. It is not a replacement for laser and light treatments done in medical offices BUT they are complimentary. Using LLLT before and after an in office procedure has been shown to speed recovery.  And if you are good about your sun protection and regular use of LLLT you will need fewer in office treatments to stay looking your best because there will be less skin damage to correct because your skin cells are already doing the work. 

 --Any people who should NOT use this, or instances when people should halt use, or products it should not be paired with? 

LLLT can dry out your skin, particularly if you have a device that delivers its dose over a short period of time. I do not recommend LLLT for individuals who are very  light sensitive, because even when wearing eye protection the light is still often visible and can trigger migraines or seizures for some.  

--Other Tips

There are many good options on the market for LLLT.  I like the full face or the larger panel devices over hand held to ensure the area is getting a uniform treatment. For best outcomes the device needs to be touching or nearly touching your skin to ensure the energy is being absorbed into your skin. For those of us with sensitive skin or prone to pigmentation  a longer treatment time at a lower irradiance is often better tolerated than shorter treatment times at a higher irradiance. Higher irradiance increases the likelihood of heat build up, activating melasma and drying out the skin. Also, there is data suggesting too much energy delivered too fast over powers cells and the energy is not able to be used.  Instead, better outcomes are achieved with slower and lower light treatments but too low it will not have biological effect. 

--And blue light?

Blue light is a treatment for some types of acne. P. Acnes, one of the bacteria associated with inflammatory acne, contains porphyrins that absorb blue light. The additional energy can kill the bacteria taking away one of the causes of acne. But, blue light is not particularly helpful for comedonal acne (white heads and black heads.) or deep cystic acne that is outside of the photomodulation zone.  It is also important to note that blue light is a shorter wavelength, closer to UV light than red and infrared light and has been associated with some damage to the skin including worsening hyperpigmentation.

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Heather D. Rogers, MD stands apart in a world dominated by financially motivated endorsements. Her recommendations are thoroughly researched, focusing on effectiveness and safety. She prioritizes your skin and health over external pressures or personal gains. Driven by the need for superior options, she created Doctor Rogers Skin Care. Dr. Rogers is a double board certified dermatologist with two decades of experience. She sees 100+ patients per week as a full-time procedural dermatologist and surgeon at her practice Modern Dermatology in Seattle.

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