Q:

What is red light therapy?

A:

Quick Answer

Red-light therapy is a technology that was first developed by NASA and uses visible red light (as opposed to infrared) to help nourish and heal the skin. Red-light therapy has many medical uses, including treating eczema, psoriasis, acne, burns, wounds and even cancer.

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Full Answer

Red-light therapy is also becoming popular for a number of cosmetic procedures as well, including to reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles and to improve the skin's overall appearance. Certain wavelengths of red light, those between 630 and 660 nanometers, can easily penetrate into layers of skin, where the combination of heat and light helps to boost skin circulation, bringing much needed nutrients to the area. The light also stimulates the production of cytokines, which cause cells known as fibroblasts to produce extra collagen.

As collagen is one of the main building blocks of skin, this has the effects of healing any damage, producing healthier looking skin. As people age, the level of collagen their body produces decreases, and it is this lack of collagen that leads to sagging skin or wrinkles, which explains how red-light therapy can lessen these problems. Many dermatologists offer red-light therapy, as do beauty salons, but many pharmacies sell smaller, relatively inexpensive red-light therapy devices for home use as well.

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