Red light therapy has been adopted as an alternative treatment option for different conditions and health issues that affect a majority of us. Many prefer it as it does not pose any risks to the user, is not invasive, and is a cheaper alternative in the long run.
Many Americans struggle with different skin issues, with about 84.5 million (one in four) having to deal with a skin condition. The term “skin condition” includes a wide range of things from acne and psoriasis to melanoma.
Skin problems are normal and many people have to deal with them, they cause discomfort and can affect one’s confidence. It is a widespread problem that is affecting many Americans.
One of the conditions that is being addressed and managed by the use of red light therapy is Melasma; which led to its popularity and positive reviews for its effectiveness.
In this article, we shall look at how red light therapy works on melasma and address its effectiveness on this skin condition.
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a condition that affects the skin that commonly affects women more than men. It is classified as one of the two most common forms of hyperpigmentation with Chloasma. It is characterized by patches or spots of brown color found on the forehead, cheeks, and other areas like the stomach and forearms.
Melasma, a common skin condition affecting many, finds a promising solution in red light therapy. Notably, Vitality Wellness, a leading clinic in this field, stands out for its commitment to well-being. Their expertise aligns seamlessly with red light therapy principles. Scientific studies affirm the efficacy of this therapy for melasma, offering a non-invasive and effective approach. As you consider treatment, consult with Vitality Wellness for personalized plans and insights, making the journey to clearer skin both guided and effective.
It can be caused by the use of certain medications, cosmetics, beauty products, and exposure to sunlight. In other instances, it can also happen due to injuries that leave marks after healing or acne scars. For some women, it can be triggered by pregnancy and the use of family planning pills.
As a condition that involves the darkening of skin the traditional approach and treatment to it includes the use of hydroquinone creams and microdermabrasion/peeling techniques. However, these treatment options do not address the underlying causes of melasma.
In the past fewer, affordable and non-drug options were available for treating the condition long-term. The emergence of red light therapy as a simple alternative through controlled light exposure is providing clinical benefits for hyperpigmentation without the use of medications or procedures.
The use of this holistic approach is worth discussing with a dermatologist to determine the best-individualized treatment plan.
Science of Red Light Therapy on Melasma
Red light therapy employs the use of clinically safe wavelengths that are directed and sometimes applied to areas of the body that need treatment. These wavelengths are delivered through the use of various devices that can be saunas, panels, masks, belts, and wraps.
Since its adoption into the beauty and skincare industry, red light therapy has been used to treat various skin conditions like fine lines, wrinkles, and acne. Besides its use on the skin, RLT is also used in pain management and has been proven to be successful.
Red light therapy can perform all the above functions by improving cell regeneration and promoting a faster healing process of the target area. It also helps stimulate collagen production which contributes to the skin’s elasticity, increases oxygen and blood flow, and reduces inflammation.
You might be asking, even though red light therapy can do all that, will it specifically work on melasma? To answer this question, we shall now look at how red light therapy helps with melasma.
When it comes down to melasma, red light therapy works more or less in the same way by performing the above functions but mainly directed at dealing with melasma and not any other condition.
A study published by M.K. Trivedi in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology reviews the effects of light therapy on melasma.
1. Increases Collagen Production
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein found in your body that contributes to the health of your skin, hair, nails, and muscles. Besides its other numerous benefits in the body, it plays a vital role in ensuring your body can heal itself and replace dead skin cells.
Red light therapy stimulates and increases collagen production, helping your skin heal and repair itself. Collagen is known to strengthen joints, ligaments, nails, hair, and skin making it less prone to future damage.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Red light therapy is used as an alternative for the management of pain and inflammation in different areas of the body. Its ability to reduce inflammation makes it ideal for melasma. It is believed that inflammation worsens the skin condition.
3. Makes Skin Stronger
When used in combination with something like sunscreen, red light therapy helps strengthen your skin. Such a combination makes the skin stronger and less likely to be affected by sunlight rays. Exposure to UV rays from the sun leads to increased melanin production which can make melasma spots and patches worse.
4. Improves Blood Circulation
By employing the use of red light therapy targeting the area of discoloration you will be able to increase and improve cell production which affects and contributes to an improved flow of blood in said area.
The increased blood flow takes nutrients and components contributing to the skin’s ability to heal and recover its color.
5. Triggers Cells Regeneration and Repair
The wavelengths produced by the RLT device penetrate the skin triggering the production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). The increased production of ATP ensures the cells are supplied with enough energy sources, and the excess is stored up. It then contributes to them regenerating, repairing, and healing faster helping your skin regain its original color.
Accelerated repair and rejuvenation of cells also help with the availability and distribution of vital nutrients that will help with melasma and your overall health and reduction of oxidative stress in your body.
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Tips to Note to Ensure Efficiency of Red Light Therapy on Melasma
- Type and Brand of the Device – many brands are offering at-home devices that you can use to help with melasma to ensure you get the most out of your device, select one that is ideal for your specific area of treatment
If you are looking for a device to treat smaller areas of your body like the face/arm you can opt for a small/mid-sized portable light device instead of larger and full panels as they are cheaper when you look at the price point
When treating multiple issues, you can get full whole room panels that provide comprehensive treatment to the larger areas and provide better long-term value
- Budget – once you have identified your ideal brand and type of device, you will need to look at the price tag. Point to note and remember, that an expensive device does not guarantee efficiency. As a beginner, you can opt for an affordable device, and as you get used to the treatment sessions transition to other devices.
- FDA Approved – we can’t stress enough the importance of getting a device that has been approved and cleared by the FDA. These devices that have been cleared are safer and ideal for you to use.
- Wavelength – the recommended and ideal wavelength strength for use on melasma is within the 600-650 nm range. In some individuals, higher wavelengths might cause hyperpigmentation.
- Pace Yourself – slow and steady is the right approach to using red light therapy devices. Stick to the recommended treatment durations, start on the lowest time frame indicated, and slowly increase the minutes as you get used to the sessions and device
Excessive use or overexposure to the rays of the devices does not hasten the healing process but is more likely to cause side effects like skin irritation and sensitivity.
- Remain Consistent – as with any new routine you adopt for it to be successful, consistency is vital. Starting slowly on the treatment sessions helps you create a routine that you can keep up with to help you get desirable results.
- Patience is Key – patience goes hand in hand with everything listed above. It is to be expected that for some people, changes might happen much faster and, for others, it takes longer. Stay on course, stick to your routine, and be patient. Using red light therapy on your melasma does not give instant results.
- Consult a Dermatologist – before you start using red light therapy to treat melasma, it is important to talk with your dermatologist to rule out any risks and concerns.
Side Effects of Red Light Therapy
If you use red light therapy devices correctly and follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturers and your dermatologist, you should not experience any side effects. Failure to follow instructions and recommendations can be the cause of side effects such as skin irritation and inflammation.
Luckily, these side effects and others like, the area of treatment becoming red or a bit sensitive, are mild and last for a short period and usually go away on their own.
There have been claims that red light therapy might make melasma or any other form of hyperpigmentation worse, but to ensure you get the best results, use the right device with the correct wavelength strength that will not make your melasma worse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can red light therapy help with melasma?
A: Yes, it can. You can use Red light therapy to help with hyperpigmentation brought about by melasma.
Which light therapy is ideal for melasma?
A: Green LED light is known to target the cells that lead to the production of melanin which, if produced in excess, can cause dark patches and spots on the skin’s surface.
Does red light help remove dark spots and patches on the face?
A: Yes, it has. Consistent use of red light for 10-minute sessions daily can reduce hyperpigmentation.
Who cannot use red light therapy?
A: Red light therapy is not recommended for pregnant and lactating mothers, young children, and individuals taking certain medicines. It is advisable to consult your doctor before you start using it.
How do you use red light therapy for melasma treatment?
A: You expose the affected area to safe wavelengths emitted by red light devices.
Which is the fastest way to cure melasma?
A: For quicker and faster results, you can use chemical peels, medically approved creams, or laser peels.
Skin conditions are a common occurrence, no doubt about that. They vary from one individual to the other. Melasma is easily noticeable as it tends to appear on the more visible areas of your body and is usually different in tone to your skin color.
Dark spots and patches brought about by melasma should not make you feel uncomfortable when there is a convenient, non-invasive solution in the form of red light therapy that does not require you to step out of the comfort of your home to access the treatment sessions.
While you can choose to go with other treatment methods you should consider going the red light therapy way. It is a safe option and poses no adverse side effects; If you are worried and still on the fence about using red light therapy, you can talk to your dermatologist to alleviate any concerns you have.
Are you conflicted on what device to go with? Worry not, you can look at this detailed article 25+ Best Red Light Therapy Devices of 2023, to identify and narrow down your options.