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Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that uses low wavelength red light to reportedly improve your skin’s appearance, such as reducing wrinkles, scars, redness and acne. It’s also touted to treat other medical conditions.
To date, there’s a lot of ongoing research, publication of small studies and a much discussion on the internet about the effectiveness of red light therapy for all types of health uses. Results of some studies do show some promise, but the full effectiveness of red light therapy has yet to be determined.
Other names you might hear to describe red light therapy include:
- Low-level laser light therapy.
- Low-power laser therapy.
- Non-thermal LED light.
- Soft laser therapy.
- Cold laser therapy.
- Biostimulation, photonic stimulation.
- Photobiomodulation and phototherapy.
There are a lot of variables to consider when thinking about red light therapy:
- Is RLT covered by my health insurance? Red light therapy is typically not a covered treatment. You may want to call your health insurance company before seeking treatment.
- How many treatments will I need? You’ll likely need ongoing treatments. This is not a one-time treatment for most skin conditions. You’ll need to be seen one to three times a week for weeks or even months. Also, is there a need for additional touch-up treatments? This may add up to a lot of time and considerable out-of-pocket costs.
- Will I achieve the desired results? Everyone’s skin is different so results can vary. Also, the wavelength of the red light source ranges. The wavelength affects how deeply the light penetrates your skin. The wavelength of the red light device being used in a doctor’s office versus in your at-home device could affect your desired result.
- Do you trust the experience of the person providing the red light therapy? For example, is a tanning salon a place you feel comfortable receiving this treatment or might it be better to first be seen and possibly treated by a medical professional?
- Is red light therapy an appropriate treatment for my skin condition? Are other, more scientifically vetted approaches a better choice for my skin condition? See your healthcare provider to confirm a diagnosis and discuss appropriate treatment options.
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