Red Light Therapy for Skin Health Benefits, Skin Rejuvenation, Collagen, and Anti-Aging

joovv red light therapy skin health benefits

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy (also known as photobiomodulation, LED light therapy, LED therapy, or LLLT) is a non-invasive, natural treatment modality that delivers concentrated natural light to your skin and cells. Red light therapy devices are used by some of the top skincare professionals in the world for skin rejuvenation, complexion, healing, fighting signs of aging, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

New to red light therapy? Learn everything you need to know here.

A high-quality device like a Joovv uses medical-grade LEDs to shine natural red and near infrared light on your body. These are the same therapeutic wavelengths of light your body needs from natural sunlight, but without the heat or UV rays that can cause sun damage. As a bonus, you don’t need sunny weather either!

Joovv’s light therapy products are registered with the FDA as class II medical devices for the treatment of pain, strain, and inflammation. Keep in mind that they’re not currently registered for treating some of the specific skin conditions outlined in the following article.

Complexion Connection: Skin Health and Red Light Therapy

Drop your email in the box below and we'll send you some natural tips for looking rejuvenated, plus some other benefits of red light therapy.

Check out this red light therapy device guide to learn the most important treatment factors.

How does Red Light Therapy Rejuvenate Skin?

joovv how does red light therapy work

Red light therapy is quick and easy: all you have to do is sit or stand in the light for 5 to 15 minutes, ideally every day. This gives the mitochondria in your cells natural light that’s needed to make the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy that powers your body to heal and repair itself. In addition to full-body therapy, targeted, facial treatments with natural light are often used for skin health benefits.

See the details on how red light therapy works here.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Red Light Therapy

A primary mechanism of action for the skin and complexion benefits of red light therapy is its anti-inflammatory effect. Red light therapy reduces inflammation by increasing blood flow and circulation to damaged tissues. [1] Red light therapy also reduces oxidative stress during the cellular respiration process, so your body can make energy more efficiently. Producing more core cellular energy helps skin cells and tissues regenerate and heal faster. [1]

For a growing number of estheticians and dermatologists, red light therapy leads to clearer skin for clients, without the need for more invasive and chemical-based treatments.

Red Light Therapy and Collagen Production

Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein, and it’s essential for healthy skin, joints, bones, and hair. A growing base of peer-reviewed clinical studies are showing that red light therapy can increase natural collagen production.

Clinical studies demonstrate collagen increase with red light therapy: Creating collagen requires a lot of ATP energy from your body. [1] In a growing number of clinical studies, researchers are measuring much higher natural collagen levels in the models and patients treated with red light therapy, especially with near infrared light. [2,3,4,5] Several human trials and laboratory studies on red light therapy have identified a big boost in natural collagen stimulation, with clearer skin and faster healing results. [6,7,8]

This article goes into detail on collagen research and red light therapy.

Natural Skin Health Benefits of Red Light Therapy

joovv red light therapy improve skin health

Red light therapy with LED treatments is a safe, effective, and 100% natural addition to a skin health routine. Skin health professionals and clinical researchers have demonstrated positive results for red light therapy and reducing inflammation and swelling, fighting signs of aging, rejuvenating skin, improving the healing process for skin injuries and burns.

Red Light Therapy for Healthy, Rejuvenated Skin

A growing base of peer-reviewed research is showing how red light therapy treatments can rejuvenate skin, for a healthier, younger-looking complexion with fewer blemishes. A 2013 meta-analysis of red light therapy skin studies found:

Red light therapy rejuvenates skin: Researchers noted wavelengths of red light was effective for healing and skin regeneration, and reducing inflammation. [9]

Red light therapy for counteracting signs of aging: The analysis cited numerous studies showing how light therapy counteracts signs of aging like fine lines, and enhances skin tone, for an overall younger look. [9] A 2017 trial assessed 30 women ages 30-55 who tried red light therapy. The researchers concluded that red light therapy “had positive effects on wrinkle and moisture content of adult women's faces.” [10]

Huda Beauty wrote a piece on how red light therapy can help reduce cleavage lines, and other signs of aging.

Healing Cuts, Scars, and Wounds with Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy has shown promise for improving the healing process of skin injuries, wounds, and burns, in large part due to its anti-inflammatory effects and potential collagen-promoting properties.

Improved wound healing with red light therapy: A 2018 review examined numerous controlled trials on red light and wound healing. Researchers determined that red light therapy significantly increased tensile strength and wound contraction, for faster, more effective healing results across the body. [11]

Healing burns with red light therapy: Red light therapy has shown great results for healing burns and reducing the pain and inflammation from burns. Red light therapy improves burns by reducing inflammation and increasing new tissue formation. [12] A 2018 study also showed red light spurred development of new blood vessels, and stimulated fibroblasts (cells that aid in tissue repair). [13]

Who Uses Red Light Therapy for Skin?

Red light therapy treatments are used by some of the world’s best skincare professionals, like estheticians and dermatologists. Red light therapy is also popular with Hollywood celebrities like Jessica Alba, Emma Stone, and Chrissy Teigen. And with the A-list estheticians and facilists who count them as clients, like Shani Darden.

Red light therapy is one of my best tools for naturally improving skin tone and texture. I absolutely love full-body devices because they can treat your entire body at one time. If you want to look younger and feel better, I can't recommend it enough.*
joovv Shani Darden

Shani Darden

Celebrity Esthetician and Founder of Shani Darden Skin Care

Shape Magazine has written about Bella Hadid and other stars at the 2019 Met Gala using red light therapy devices for skin treatments before walking the red carpet. Elle Magazine has also written about the natural beauty benefits of red light therapy.

Leading estheticians use red light therapy: Cherie Callahan of Skin Revision Technologies is a leading professional esthetician in Arizona, and a former Skin Games champion. She uses red light therapy for full-body skin health treatments for her clients. Cherie has spoken about increasing revenue for her business by expanding her focus beyond just the head and neck.

Some beauty products are designed to just hide blemishes and aging, but my customers love red light therapy because it actually improves their natural skin and appearance by boosting their collagen levels and helping their skin rejuvenate from the inside out.*
joovv Cherie Callahan

Cherie Callahan

Esthetician and Founder of Skin Revision

Red Light Therapy for Acne, Hyperpigmentation, Psoriasis, and Eczema

Emerging clinical results are also showing the potential for red light therapy to have a positive effect on acne, hyperpigmentation, psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, and other difficult skin conditions. However, Joovv is not cleared by the FDA at this time for the treatment of these specific skin conditions.

Red light therapy for acne: Red light therapy is a natural, healing light treatment, not to be confused with the artificial blue light LED masks that have been recalled in some cases for the risks they pose.

A 2013 meta-analysis highlighted positive studies showing red and near infrared wavelengths of natural light improving acne outcomes. Of note, they explained that red light impacts sebum production, which contributes to acne, in addition to the control of cytokines, which impacts skin inflammation. [7]

Red light therapy for hyperpigmentation: Some leading estheticians, like Cherie Callahan, are using red light therapy to treat hyperpigmentation. Check out this FAQ with Cherie Callahan to learn more.

Red light therapy for vitiligo and depigmentation: Red light therapy also has a strong record for aiding the repigmentation of skin for people with vitiligo and other depigmentation conditions. [14]

Red light therapy for psoriasis and eczema: A recent study on red light therapy found “no adverse side effects and a resolution of psoriasis” for patients who weren’t helped by traditional skin treatments. [6]

Other Health Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Emerging clinical research is also showing the potential for other red light therapy benefits, like improved fitness and training, and better sleep and circadian rhythm. The initial research is also encouraging for brain and cognitive health, and mental health treatment, as well as for red light therapy and hormone health.

See all the health benefits of red light therapy on this page.

Side Effects and Risks of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy has been tested and analyzed in thousands of peer-reviewed trials. The consensus among medical researchers and the clinical community is that natural red light treatments are safe, well-tolerated, and produce little to no side effects.

Dermatology researchers from Harvard Medical School conducted a review of red light therapy in 2013 and praised its “noninvasive nature and almost complete absence of side effects.” [6]

Red light therapy does not use heat to induce a biological reaction, like some therapies, and should not represent a heat risk. People with specific photosensitivity concerns should check with their healthcare provider.

Check out Joovv’s FAQs for optimal red light therapy use to see details about other health concerns and potential risks.

Disclaimers and considerations: The information on this page is meant to educate readers about the science, research, and health benefits of red light therapy. Consult a trusted health professional for the diagnosis and treatment of specific medical conditions.

Joovv’s light therapy products are registered with FDA as class II medical devices for the treatment of pain, strain, and inflammation. Other health benefits mentioned in this article are for educational purposes only and not intended to support the safety or effectiveness of Joovv’s devices, and not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent a disease. The information presented is based on peer-reviewed clinical research, including information about emerging studies and scientific inquiries.

A Roadmap to Natural Skin Health with Red Light Therapy

Drop your email in the box below and we'll send you some natural tips for rejuvenating skin, reducing inflammation, and looking your best.

Sources and References:

[1] Hamblin M. “Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation.” AIMS Biophys. 2017.

[2] Brassolatti P, de Andrade ALM, et al. Photobiomodulation on critical bone defects of rat calvaria: a systematic review. Lasers in Medical Science. 2018 Dec.

[3] Pinheiro AL, Gerbi ME. Photoengineering of bone repair processes. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. 2006 April.

[4] Heo JH, Choi JH, Kim IR, et al. Combined Treatment with Low-Level Laser and rhBMP-2 Promotes Differentiation and Mineralization of Osteoblastic Cells under Hypoxic Stress. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. 2018 Nov.

[5] Tschon M, Incerti-Parenti S, Cepollaro S, et al. Photobiomodulation with low-level diode laser promotes osteoblast migration in an in vitro micro wound model. Journal of Biomedical Optics. 2015 Jul.

[6] Avci P, Gupta A, et al. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. Mar 2013.

[7] Wunsch A and Matuschka K. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. Feb 2014.

[8] Barolet D, Roberge CJ, et al. Regulation of skin collagen metabolism in vitro using a pulsed 660 nm LED light source: clinical correlation with a single-blinded study. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2009 December.

[9] Sadick NS. A study to determine the efficacy of a novel handheld light-emitting diode device in the treatment of photoaged skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2008 Dec.

[10] Kim HK, Choi JH. Effects of radiofrequency, electroacupuncture, and low-level laser therapy on the wrinkles and moisture content of the forehead, eyes, and cheek. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2017 February.

[11] Gál P,  Stausholm MB, et al. Should open excisions and sutured incisions be treated differently? A review and meta-analysis of animal wound models following low-level laser therapy. Lasers in Medical Science. 2018 Aug.

[12] da Silva Melo, Alves LP, et al. LED phototherapy in full-thickness burns induced by CO2 laser in rats skin. Lasers in Medical Science. 2018 Sep.

[13] Fiório FB, Albertini R, et al. Effect of low-level laser therapy on types I and III collagen and inflammatory cells in rats with induced third-degree burns. Lasers in Medical Science. 2014 Jan.

[14] Yu S., Lan CE, et al. Mechanisms of repigmentation induced by photobiomodulation therapy in vitiligo. Experimental Dermatology. 2019 February.