Updated January, 2020.
Red light therapy has been popular in many tanning salons and aesthetic clinics. It is being advertised as a Full-Body Skin Rejuvenation Treatment, Anti-Aging, Anti-Wrinkle, and offers Pain Relief. It also claims to correct stretch marks, scars and adult acne. It is believed that certain wavelengths of red light produce therapeutic relief. Many versions, from handheld devices, masks, and red light beds are available nowadays. However, is it safe and UV-free?
What is UV Light?
Ultraviolet light is a form of electromagnetic radiation. It has a wavelength from 10nm to 350nm. It is naturally present in sunlight, tanning lamps, black lights and mercury-vapor lamps. Too much exposure to UV light causes sunburn, suntan, and freckling and poses a high risk of developing skin cancer. Although it has a negative effect on our health, it is also the one responsible for producing Vitamin D, or “sun vitamin.”
Does UV light has health benefits?
UV radiation exposure stimulates the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D increases absorption of calcium from food. Having adequate levels of Vitamin D is important to treat a number of diseases such as Rickets, Lupus vulgaris, Psoriasis, and Vitiligo.
The World Health Organization says that 5 to 15 minutes of sun exposure of face, hands and arms two to three times a week during the summer months is sufficient to keep vitamin D levels high. People who live closer to the equator, where UV levels are higher, can have even shorter periods of exposure to the sun.
What are the risks of too much UV exposure?
Although there are many benefits of UV exposure, the harmful health risks accompanied by it outweighs it. Overexposure to UV radiation affects our skin, our eyes and probably our immune system.
Our exposure to UV radiation accumulate over a lifetime and our behavior towards sun exposure now will determine our chances of getting cataracts or skin cancer later in life! Skin cancer incidence is strongly correlated with the duration and frequency of sun exposure and use of tanning beds too!
Does the Source of Red Light Matter?
Many tanning salons offer a full-body bed with red light. These are powered with fluorescent bulbs that still produce UV rays. Although it can do a full body treatment at one go, it also emits UV radiation that can produce changes at the cellular level.
Custom-made LED bulbs are safer to use and these can be manufactured specifically to be UV-free. So yes, the source of red light matters.
Does Red Light Tanning Make you Tan?
Red Light Tanning doesn’t make you tan. It is a term coined to mean basking under red light to target aging skin concerns. Even though red light beds do not produce tanning, it uses fluorescent bulbs that still emit UV rays. Although it is unclear how strong or what wavelength the red light beds emit, it is still unsafe as it increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
Using a lamp with custom-made LED bulbs are safer to use because these are UV-free. It will not make you tan because there are no UVA or UVB that changes the skin’s color.
UVA penetrates the skin and causes sun damage or age spots in the long run. UVB on the other hand usually burns the superficial layers of the skin or what we often call “sunburn.”
Those who have had severe sunburns at a young age has a family history of skin cancer and people with very fair skin, freckles and moles, and red hair has a higher rate of developing skin cancer. If you want to enjoy the benefit of Red Light Therapy, you have to choose methods that don't emit UV rays.
Can you combine tanning and red light therapy?
You may do tanning but honestly, it defeats the purpose of having to do red light therapy. According to Ashley Bell, the resident esthetician at Trophy Skin, “Sun exposure is not good for your skin, and neither is the tanning bed because it gives off the UVA and UVB rays.”
90 percent of fine lines and wrinkles, and discoloration comes from sun damage, the other 10 percent is just natural aging. So if the person is using Red Light Therapy to help their skin, but going to damage their skin with tanning, they won’t ever really get ahead, but instead just be in the same position.
What is a Safer Alternative?
Trophy Skin is committed to producing safe and effective at-home solutions to common skin problems. With the advent of red light therapy, Trophy Skin developed RejuvaliteMD Anti-Aging Red Light Therapy. It is powered by 120 LED bulbs that are UV-free.
The LED panel is evenly divided to contain a different spectrum of red lights to combat aging. Red (660nm), Yellow (590nm), Amber (630nm), and Infrared (880nm) are different wavelengths of red light that work great in reducing signs of aging by creating fibroblasts, elastin, and new collagen. It also decreases the enzymes that break down collagen, thus improving the skin’s elasticity.
RejuvaliteMD is FDA-cleared and is safe to use at home. It has a built-in auto shut-off timer that will turn off after 5 minutes. With as little as 5 minutes a day, you can combat fine lines and wrinkles and reverse sun damage safely. For better results, you can use it up to twice a day, a minimum of 5 days a week, for the first 60 days.
Don’t be fooled into stepping into the harmful UV-rich red light. Choose RejuvaliteMD and bask under safe and UV-free red light.
Post updated for 2019.