Acne Treatment: Does Red Light Therapy Help With Acne?

Woman checking out her acne while frowning

You thought you had it going pretty well. Because the last time you checked— which was yesterday—the coast was clear. But when you got up this morning and checked in the mirror, you saw small red bumps again! How frustrating is it to invest so much time and effort in caring for your appearance, only for your look to be marred by acne?

If you have persistent acne, it can be quite the heart breaker and mood dampener. But do not despair! There are quite a few things you can do to help diminish the appearance of acne—and help boost your confidence—like red light therapy!

Acne and Red Light Therapy 

Let's first get to the bottom of how acne happens. If you're an acne sufferer, you may not be entirely to blame for it. One can get acne simply by losing out in the genetic lottery. But, there are other factors that you can't pin on your parents' parents, such as fluctuating hormone levels during puberty. Your hormones can also shift if you're having your period, going through pregnancy, and menopause. Stress can also cause them to go haywire. Another way you can get acne is by using the wrong facial products or being in highly humid environs.

Your folks' sebum-prone genes (which may have been passed on to you), the hormonal changes, stress, and high humidity—all these can make your skin's oil production go into overdrive. Add to that the grease from your skincare goop, and you have perfectly "oiled" glands that can clog your pores away. As a result, you end up with the dreaded acne that comes as blackheads, whiteheads, small red or pink bumps, and pimples, which may even lead to scars. When you think of all these, plus the fact that acne is such a common condition, it can be pretty depressing. But don't give up. There just may be light at the end of the tunnel—specifically, red light.

What is Red Light Therapy? 

If you've tried all sorts of products and treatments but ended up discouraged with the results, it may be high time to try Red Light Therapy.

Red Light Therapy is an innovative treatment using cutting-edge technology. During treatment, your face or body is exposed to low levels of red or near-infrared light. Infrared light, sometimes called infrared waves, is part of a range of electromagnetic (EM) radiation frequencies that can travel through the air and solid objects and even through the vacuum of space!

That kind of power is what enables the infrared waves to penetrate deep, releasing healing energy onto your skin and muscle tissues down to the cellular level. Your eyes can see the infrared waves, but your body can definitely feel the heat.

A woman in a sauna blanket

Does Red Light Therapy Help Acne? 

The oil, dirt, and dead skin cells that get trapped in your pores can result in severe clogging. This creates an environment where bacteria can thrive and mushroom into acne. To get rid of acne-causing bacteria, you have to get rid of the bacteria, which Red Light therapy can do.

When you go into treatment, the deeply-penetrating infrared red light kills the bacteria, which are sensitive to it. The electromagnetic waves also interact with the skin and form toxins (they can be on your side this time) to finish off the pesky microbes.

It's not just bacteria that are "allergic" to infrared light. So is inflammation, which is another aggravator of acne. Infrared light works your cells to soak up all the healing energy, which powers them to repair and restore damaged tissues and muscles.

This calms the inflammation and promotes collagen production, making infrared light equally potent in preventing future breakouts. 

An added bonus is that infrared light can shrink those hyperactive oil glands, resulting in less oil on your face.

Woman lying in a sauna blanket while working

What Happens During Red Light Therapy? 

Can't wait to get started? Here's what to expect during a Red Light therapy session. 

During Red Light therapy, a gadget or machine is used to direct light-emitting diodes or LEDs onto your face (or any body part you choose) to deliver red and near-infrared light. And voila—your cells start absorbing all that wonderful light energy to heal and rejuvenate.

It may be a good idea to see your dermatologist first before you proceed with any kind of powerful treatment, such as Red Light therapy. For the most part, though, the infrared light emitted during the treatment is considered a safe and non-invasive light that can benefit most skin types.

A brunette woman with hands in hesitant gesture, wears striped casual sweater

Frequently Asked Questions 

To give you more confidence to start soaking up the fantastic benefits of Red Light therapy, here are the answers to some of the questions you may have.

#1. Is red light therapy painful? 

No, it isn't. In fact, the heat from the infrared light can be so soothing and calming that you may fall asleep.

#2. How long and how often should the sessions be?

We recommend about 10 to 20 minutes per session to give your skin time to soak in the health-boosting benefits from the Red Light therapy. Do this 3x to 5x a week for about a month, and you'll see the visible difference when you look in the mirror. Consistency is key to more radiant and glowing skin.

#3. What do I need to do before the start of the red light therapy?

Nothing much, really. Just make sure to wash your face clean and get ready to have a most enjoyable and relaxing treatment.

#4. How soon will I see the results?

Results are visible instantaneously. After just one session, you can already see your skin glow up. For that maximum beauty boost, incorporate it into your regular skincare regimen.

#5. Can I continue with my usual facial creams?

Avoid using products with retinol that can cause facial thinning BEFORE your therapy, as the infrared-light-and-retinol combo may cause irritation. However, Red Light therapy can enhance what your usual beauty products can do for you (even those with retinol) AFTER the treatment.

#6. Should I avoid certain activities or kinds of food?

You may continue to eat your favorite foods. But, of course, consuming more anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory veggies and fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats will help get your acne out of the way more than sugars and bad carbs can.

#7. How much will it cost me?

The typical range is from $60 to $70 for every session at a doctor's office or wellness spa. While this looks relatively affordable, it can add up to several thousands of dollars over time. It may be better to purchase a high-quality gadget or machine, which can have a higher upfront cost but may turn up to be a more financially-savvy investment in the long run.

#8. Is it better to have it at home or at a wellness center?

While you can do the therapy at a clinic or spa, the luxury of being able to have your Red Light therapy at home is something else. You can really unwind and let loose in the comfort of your private space without having to worry about the time or the commute home. 

Portable Red Light therapy devices, such as HigherDOSE Red Light Face Mask and HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket, can give you the mobility that fits into your active and busy lifestyle. HigherDOSE offers a wide array of carry-anywhere devices that will allow you to enjoy the benefits of infrared light from anywhere you choose. Read more about the HigherDOSE infrared technology product line and find out how it can work wonders for your skin and your overall wellness.