Biohack Your Beauty Routine: Is LED Light Therapy the New Anti-Aging Secret?

Red LED light therapy


Who doesn’t want to turn back the hands of time and slow skin aging? Years of sun damage and the effects of time are imprinted on your face. Still, it’s not all bad! You’re wiser than you were in your early twenties, right? You’re exercising and eating a healthy diet. You’re also trying to get more sleep and manage stress. But what about those fine lines and wrinkles that show when you smile or frown, despite your youthful-appearing body?

Fortunately, we know more about skin aging these days. Skin creams, like those that contain retinol or peptides, can soften fine lines and wrinkles and there are other ways to soften those signs that require no needles or knives. One of the more popular of late is LED light therapy. What is it and what can it do for your skin?

What is LED Light Therapy?

LED, or light-emitting diodes, is a treatment that uses varying wavelengths of light, like red and blue, to affect aspects of physiology, like skin health. The blue end of the spectrum, higher energy waves, are effective for treating acne while the red end of the spectrum releases light waves that target aging skin, like fine lines. Studies show red light stimulates collagen production to help rebuild a stronger skin support system. Dermatologists say red light can diminish fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful appearance. It’s a way to get smoother, more youthful skin without the inconvenience and risk of an invasive procedure.

How Effective is LED Light Therapy?

What does science say? Studies show red light LED therapy has benefits for skin anti-aging. In one study, subjects who underwent treatment with red light LED therapy had subjective improvement in skin quality. Blinded researchers also noted a decrease in fine lines and wrinkles in before and after photographs of the subjects treated with red light LED.

Other research shows that red light therapy boosts collagen production. Since collagen is the protein in the dermis that gives skin its support and resistance to wrinkling, these findings support the anti-aging benefits of red-light LED therapy. If you get a series of LED red light treatments, you may notice a modest tightening of the skin and enjoy a more youthful appearance.

What makes red light so effective? A study found that tiny organelles inside skin cells, called mitochondria, absorb red light. Since these are the energy producers of the cell, the red light boosts their production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of all cells.

So, red light therapy re-energizes cells, including fibroblasts that produce collagen. Younger skin cells naturally have more ATP, but you can boost the energy content of your own skin cells through red light LED therapy. Cells already have receptors for red light, so they’re primed to respond to it. So, you’re reawakening your skin cells, particularly those that build collagen and elastin, when you expose your skin to red light.

Is Red Light LED Therapy for Skin Safe?

You might wonder if red light rays are safe for your skin. The energy used for red light therapy is lower energy, unlike the ultraviolet rays of the sun that are high energy. Therefore, they won’t burn your skin. According to Harvard Health, red light LED is safe for short-term use. The biggest precaution is to protect your eyes from the light.

Most people who get LED light therapy do it in a supervised setting, like a skin spa dermatologist’s office. As you would expect, the light feels warm but isn’t painful. Some people who get this therapy even enjoy the warmth of the light. You can also buy LED light home devices, but these aren’t as powerful as treatments you get in a dermatologist’s office.

Yet you can still get benefits from home LED devices if you use them several times per week and choose a device that provides enough power. You can find devices where you hold the device next to your skin and ones that cover your face and are hands-off.

Another benefit of a LED light session is there is no downtime. You can go back to school and work after a session with only a little mild redness that goes away quickly. The procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes. The price varies from $25.00 up to over $250.00. However, it can get expensive since you will need maintenance sessions to retain the benefits.

If you’re taking certain medications that make you photosensitive or sensitive to light or if you have an active skin condition, you shouldn’t get a red-light LED treatment, but the treatments are safe for most people.

The Bottom Line

Red light LED therapy is another non-invasive therapy that stimulates collagen and skin repair without downtime. It may take several sessions to see results and you will need to return for maintenance sessions if you get the therapy at a salon or clinic. Plus, it’s only one approach to age-proofing your skin. Don’t forget to do the basics to protect your skin against aging such as wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater that blocks UVA and UVB rays.


  • Wunsch A, 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. Photomed Laser Surg. 2014;32(2):93-100. doi:10.1089/pho.2013.3616.
  • “LED lights: Are they a cure for your skin woes? – Harvard ….” 01 Oct. 2019, health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/led-lights-are-they-a-cure-for-your-skin-woes.
  • “LED light therapy: What is it, and does it work?.” 06 Apr. 2020, .medicalnewstoday.com/articles/led-light-therapy.
  • Wunsch A, 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. Photomed Laser Surg. 2014;32(2):93-100. doi:10.1089/pho.2013.3616.
  • “LED Light Therapy Overview: Cost, Recovery, Before & After – AEDIT.” 28 Sept. 2021, https://aedit.com/procedure/led-light-therapy.
  • “Does Red Light Protect Aging Eyes? – American Academy of Ophthalmology.” 15 Aug. 2020, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/red-light-protect-aging-eyes-rlt-pbm-near-infrared.

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