Is Red Light Therapy Safe? 

✓ Medically Reviewed by Jack Cincotta

Girl using red light therapy

Are you interested in improving your well-being or fighting the signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines? There are various medical treatments and technology available today that research suggests can be beneficial. One example of this type of technology is red light therapy.

You might be wondering whether red light therapy is a safe option that will provide the right benefits. This article explains how red light therapy works, what it can be used for, and why it is considered to be a safe option to improve your well-being and appearance. 

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Also known as photobiomodulation or low-level light therapy, red light therapy is a non-invasive natural treatment that may provide benefits to the body on a cellular level. 

Red light therapy (RLT) works by using devices that deliver low-energy levels of red and near infrared light with light emitting diode LED bulbs. These wavelengths of light are powerful enough to penetrate up to 10mm below the skin surface depending on how they are used.

As such, they can impact both the appearance of the skin as well as the soft tissue that exists underneath. They can even impact areas such as the nerves, muscles, and even the bone. This is a form of photodynamic therapy and is not the same type of light used in tanning salons. 

When you use red light therapy, you will be boosting energy production in the cells of your body. This occurs because the light is effective at stimulating photoreceptor protein which in turn encourages the mitochondria. These store the energy contained within your cell and once they are stimulated, that increases the level of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

The Aesthetics Bureau states that this impact may trigger a wide range of benefits to an individual's well-being. As well as this, red light therapy may cause short-term stress in the cells. Similar to exercise, this provides benefits in itself, strengthening body defences to improve overall levels of health.  

What Can Red Light Therapy Be Used For?

Red light therapy has a wide range of uses that make it a great choice if you’re looking for a new piece of equipment that could improve your well-being or appearance. One treatment of red light therapy wont be enough, you have to use it consistently.

There are many benefits of this low level laser light therapy. A red light therapy device with light emitting diodes can be used to increase blood flow stimulating healing processes. This helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to cells in the skin as well as the deeper tissue.

This helps to encourage the healing of different areas of the body. Research has found that red light therapy can be useful for speeding up the wound healing process. 

One of the main benefits of red light therapy is that it can improve the health and appearance of your skin. For instance, it can increase levels of collagen production. This happens because collagen-producing cells known as fibroblasts are stimulated when using this therapy.

Collagen acts as the glue which holds the cells together and provides your skin with elasticity. Increased levels of collagen can lead to a reduction in fine lines and ensure that your wrinkles are less noticeable. This is particularly important as you get older because collagen levels naturally decrease which is one of the reasons for the physical changes that we see with age. 

Research has also found that red light therapy can be used for a wide range of minor skin conditions including:


A study in 2007 using a controlled trial found that red light phototherapy was an effective treatment option for acne and that levels of acne decreased in participants after this treatment was administered. 


Man with Acne


Other research has suggested that red light therapy may be useful for improving performance in exercise and recovery. Muscles are high in mitochondria. Using red light therapy helps because it can increase levels of ATP production which builds up muscle energy.

This essentially means that it could help you go faster for longer. At the same time, red light therapy could be a useful post-workout tool too. With this therapy, you may find that you experience fewer issues with stiff joints and discomfort in your muscles due to the buildup of lactic acid. 

You might even find that red light therapy is an effective treatment for hair growth. Baldness and the thinning of the hair are two common issues in both men and women that become more likely as you age. Red light therapy works by increasing the level of circulation in the scalp.

This may stimulate your hair follicles. One study in 2014 found that women with hair loss saw significant benefits after using red light therapy for just 25 minutes. 

Red light therapy can also be used with anti inflammatory treatment for a more powerful, long term impact.  

Can You Use Red Light Therapy At Home?  

Red light therapy might sound like a treatment that you can only access by visiting a doctor or a medical professional.

However, this is not the case. Instead, it’s possible to administer red light therapy yourself at home. You just need to invest in the right device. There are lots of different infrared light therapy devices on the market. 

For instance, you could consider opting for a home device such as the Bullet. This is a powerful and portable red light therapy device that can be used for a wider range of purposes when improving your well-being and appearance. The device is just as powerful as some of the larger pieces of equipment on the market but you can hold it in your hand. This means that you can focus the red light precisely where you need or want it. 


handheld red light therapy device


Alternatively, you might want to choose a slightly larger device such as the Demi. This can fit on your nightstand and will mean that you can easily administer red light therapy in the morning when you wake up or any other time during the day which suits your schedule. It can also be directed at different areas of your body, impacting points such as your face and chest at the same time. 


half body red light therapy panel


Or, you may want to use something like the Super Max. This is one of the largest red light therapy devices available on the market. It provides the power of products that are used in the medical community and may be suitable if you are looking to improve sleep or increase muscle recovery. With this device, you can stand in front of it and target all problem areas at the same time. 


full body red light therapy panel


Is Red Light Therapy Safe?

Research suggests that red light therapy is a safe treatment. This is true whether you are using it in the comfort of your home or from a professional. The reason for this is that the therapy is not considered toxic and is not invasive.

It is also not as harsh as some of the common skin topicals that are used. This is true if red light therapy is used in the short term and as directed if recommended by a medical professional. It is also much safer than using power laser therapy (LPLT).

It’s important to note that while red light therapy does expose your skin to certain levels of light, this type of light is not considered to be harmful in the scientific community. This is different compared to the UV light that is derived from the sun which may cause skin health issues if abused.

The only reported side effect from the use of red light therapy is redness. This will usually go away after a few days or a couple of weeks and is considered to be rare. It will not be noticeable in most individuals who use red light therapy. 

Red Light Therapy Impact On The Eyes 

The only issue that you may need to be aware of when using red light therapy is the impact that it could have on the eyes. Some people have reported experiencing swelling and redness due to their eyes being exposed to red light therapy.

This will likely only be a concern if you are using red light therapy daily. However, if you are concerned about the impact that red light therapy can have on your eyes, then you may want to consider using protective goggles. This is useful if you are using a device that administers highly targeted red light therapy to key areas. 

That said, research has also found that used correctly, red light therapy can even be beneficial for your eyes. Red light therapy may increase ATP production in your eyes while reducing levels of inflammation in this area at the same time. This combination can result in significant positive changes to both eye health and vision. Some studies have shown evidence that it can help reduce issues with cells fading which causes vision to deteriorate as you age. 

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, red light therapy is considered to be a safe treatment in the scientific community with very few known side effects. Any issues are likely to subside after just a couple of days.

Red light therapy may also provide significant benefits for your health, well-being, and appearance. This could include changes to the appearance of your skin, reductions in levels of fat, and even faster muscle recovery. This is one of the reasons why home red light therapy devices have become so popular over the last few years. 

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