Light wavelengths, whether emitted by the sun or man-made devices are actually a form of electromagnetic energy. Scientists measure these wavelengths in nanometers with each nanometer equal to one-billionth of a meter. (Picture a yardstick divided into a billion slices and each slice is equal to one nanometer.)
The light that is visible to the human eye is in the range of 400 to 700 nanometers. Exposure to these wavelengths can have a powerful impact on human physiology. For example, blue light, which is in the 400-500 nanometer range, is effective for treating acne, as exposure to precise ranges of blue light actually destroys the bacteria on the skin that causes some forms of acne. Red light, which is found in the 600-700 nanometer range is effective for stimulating the production of collagen (the skin’s main structural protein), wound healing, increasing circulation and the release of adenosine triphosphate (cellular energy commonly known as ATP).
While the benefits of exposure to red-light energy have been studied for more than 100 years, we can thank the scientists at NASA for developing devices that harnessed the power of red-light energy and in turn, led to the practical application of such devices. NASA scientists were experimenting with light-waves for plant growth in order to provide a sustainable food supply for long term space missions. In doing so, it was ascertained that such wavelengths, including red light, could also be beneficial in treating wounds to the skin, etc. (At zero gravity, wounds do not heal as well or as fast as they do on earth.)
Their research proved that exposure to red-light wavelengths at 633-660 nanometers, was highly effective in treating wounds. However, it was also observed that the normal tissue surrounding the wound area also appeared to improve in texture, elasticity and moisture content. Fast forward to 2018 and we find that today, many companies have tapped into NASA’s research and developed a variety of commercial systems and applications that utilize the power of red-light energy to help enhance the appearance of the skin and restore that youthful glow.
Today, you can find red-light systems in use at your local day spas and wellness centers, beauty and tanning salons, as well as by dermatologists and plastic surgeons. And while most people use red-light systems to treat areas of the face and neck – they can be used effectively on the entire body.
Many companies have developed commercial systems and applications that utilize red-light energy to help enhance the appearance of the skin and restore a youthful glow.
How Red-Light Energy Works
When the skin is exposed to red-light energy, the energy is absorbed by the tissue causing the release of ATP. This form of bio-stimulation leads to a host of beneficial reactions and responses including increased blood circulation – which leads to more oxygen to the cells, the formation of new capillaries, the natural production of collagen and fibroblasts, and reduction in inflammation and puffiness.
Exposure to red-light energy also causes the collagen cells to absorb and retain moisture. As the cells beneath the skin ‘plump’ in size, they fill-in wrinkles and fine lines on the surface of the skin.
The process is gradual and often requires exposure of two or three 20-minute sessions per week for four to eight weeks. Once results are achieved, one or two weekly sessions are required to maintain results. And just like exercising to build muscles, if you stop your red-light treatments, the fine lines and wrinkles will return.
Safe, Gentle and Effective for All Skin Types
Red-light energy poses no harm to the skin. It contains no UV light (the wavelength found below 400 nanometers) and can be used by people of all ages and skin types. Reactions and response times will vary with each individual user and some people will notice results faster than others.
Many people report that exposure to red-light energy also reduced dark spots on the skin while also firming and toning the skin. Others, including myself, report feeling a “runner’s high” after receiving red-light treatments. This is believed to be due to the release of ATP – which can help boost energy throughout the entire body.
And equally important, when used correctly, you cannot “overexpose” the body to red-light energy. However, after about 20 minutes of exposure in the 633-660 nanometer range, the skin has absorbed all the red-light energy it can effectively process. Therefore, longer exposures have not demonstrated additional benefits or results.
To achieve maximum results, it is also important to maintain a healthy diet, drink plenty of water and avoid activities that can lead to the premature aging of the skin, including smoking and overexposure to the sun.
Photo courtesy of UV BioTek