A Guide to Red Light Therapy: 9 Commonly Asked Questions

February 16, 2021 Red Light Therapy Questions Answered

Chances are, you’ve heard about LED light therapy. It’s regularly featured in the news, and everyone from celebrities to professional athletes and Instagram influencers are hopping on the red LED light therapy (also known as RLT) bandwagon and adding it to their skin care routines and treatment options.

Although the benefits of LED light therapy might seem like a modern-day miracle, it’s not a new concept to the medical community. In fact, RLT was first discovered more than 100 years ago.

However, as LED light therapy has grown in popularity, so have questions surrounding its efficacy and treatment potential. 

What is LED Light Therapy?

 In its most basic definition, red LED light therapy is the application of specific energy wavelengths to the body to upregulate cellular performance and achieve therapeutic benefits, including treatment for anti-agingpain management, wound healing and even hair restoration.

 LED light therapy has been studied and tested in hundreds of clinical trials over the past few decades, and it has proven to be a safe and effective treatment option with no negative, harmful, or long-term side effects. 

What Does RLT Do?

 As the manufacturer of the most medically credentialled LED device on the market today, we’ve encountered many questions over the past decade.

Questions about red light therapy? We’ve got answers.Questions about red light therapy? We’ve got answers.

Below are answers to the 9 most commonly asked questions about red LED light therapy:

How Long Has Red LED Light Therapy Been Around?

 Red LED light therapy first gained prominence in 1903, when Danish physicist Niels Ryberg Finsen was awarded the Nobel Prize for his invention of light therapy for skin tuberculosis. However, red LED light therapy has come a long way in the 100+ years since.

 NASA scientists first used RLT to stimulate plant growth on space stations in the 1980s, and then began wondering “what can light therapy do for astronauts?” shortly thereafter.

Astronauts are required to work in very irregular conditions, and they often become susceptible to health risks such as muscle and bone atrophy and delayed wound healing during long-term space missions. This observation led scientists to discover that human cells require gravity to stimulate growth, and any fluctuation in gravity will disturb overall cellular function.

 Using that logic, NASA tested red light therapy on astronauts, and found that it had the ability to improve cellular function and combat the effects of living in zero gravity environments. According to a NASA-led abstract from 2002, “LEDs stimulate the basic energy processes in the mitochondria (energy compartments) of each cell,” and an LED blanket device was found to be effective in the prevention of bone and muscle atrophy. Based on NASA’s findings, the medical community at large began to recommend RLT for its therapeutic treatment potential. 

What is Red LED Light Therapy?

 Red LED light therapy is the application of specific wavelengths of light energy to human tissue to obtain therapeutic benefits. Red wavelengths penetrate deep into the skin’s dermal layer to specifically target cells at the source. The energy absorbed by the cells is then used to naturally improve cellular performance. The visible results include an improvement in the tone and texture of the skin.

 Similar to low-level laser therapy, low-level light therapy delivered via light emitting diode (LEDs) devices,  has the potential to treat a variety of skin as well as pain conditions. You might have heard people refer to RLT in a number of ways:

  • Low-Level Light Therapy
  • Light-Activated Biostimulation
  • Phototherapy
  • LED (Light Emitting Diode) Therapy
  • Photobiomodulation

No matter what you call it – the science behind red light therapy is the same. 

How Does Red LED Light Therapy Work?

 Like plants absorb sunlight to power photosynthesis and boost tissue growth, human cells can absorb light energy to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Red light therapy also boosts circulation to deliver oxygen and nutrients to living tissues. 

Red light therapy is similar to photosynthesis.  Cells absorb red, blue, and near-infrared light wavelengths to power performance.

Similar to photosynthesis, cells absorb red, blue, and near-infrared light wavelengths to power performance.

In other words, human cells can absorb particles of light (photons) and transform that energy into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main source of energy that cells need to power metabolic processes. The resulting elevation of ATP is then used to upregulate cellular performance and repair tissue damage. When your body absorbs particular wavelengths of light energy, it converts that energy to produce more ATP, thus boosting the body’s natural ability to regain and maintain vitality. 

What Can Red LED Light Therapy Do?

 RLT is constantly being tested to evaluate its efficacy for a number of different treatments, and the FDA currently recognizes light therapy as a proven solution for skin issues related to acne and anti-aging, as well as pain management and hair restoration.

 There is evidence to suggest RLT can also treat/relieve the following conditions:

  • Delayed wound healing
  • Hair growth in people with alopecia
  • Pain from carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis
  • Faster healing of diabetic foot ulcers
  • Inflammation from psoriasis
  • Fine lines, wrinkles, and sun spots
  • Recurring cold sores from herpes virus
  • Scar tissue formation/appearance
  • Muscle and joint recovery after physical activity
  • Itching from eczema
  • Reduces chemotherapy side effects
  • Muscle stiffness and spasms
  • Reduce appearance of stretch marks

 The list of red light therapy benefits is impressive, and it has the potential to grow as additional clinical trials are performed. 

Is RLT Safe?

 Red light therapy is safe and clinically proven for the treatment of a variety of skin and pain management conditions. Red light therapy is also non-toxic, non-invasive, and an affordable alternative to prescription drugs and harsh topical skin treatments. Unlike other types of light therapy treatments, low-level light therapy LED machines do not contain ultraviolet (UV) rays, so there is no risk of cancer-causing damage to skin tissue. In comparison to low-level laser therapy, LEDs generate negligible amounts of heat and are not considered a significant risk to the general population. 

What Are the Side Effects of Red LED Light Therapy?

 In general, side effects from RLT are rare. If they do occur, they typically involve temporary redness of the skin in the treated area. Side effects are minor and do not last long.  Red light therapy treatment is non-invasive, painless, requires no recovery time, and can be used on all skin types and tones. 

How Much Do Red LED Light Therapy Treatments Cost?

 Rates vary depending on where you live, but one 30-minute session at a dermatologist’s office can range from $25 - $85 or more.  When investing in a quality device, remember that not all devices are created equally. Select an FDA-cleared option to ensure the efficacy, safety and results of professional-grade equipment.

 If you’re looking to incorporate RLT into your weekly self-care skin routine, it’s recommended that you purchase a professional-grade device. All factors considered, spending a little extra on high-quality light therapy is well worth the investment.

 Take the Celluma SKIN, for example, which simultaneously treats both acne and aging. If you were to use Celluma SKIN 3x per week for a year, the total cost breakdown would equal approximately $10 per treatment. After 2 years? Only $5 per treatment, a bargain by any standard.

Celluma SKIN addresses both acne and aging using LED red light therapy

Celluma SKIN addresses both acne and aging in a single device.

How often should I use red light LED therapy?

RLT is more effective if you keep up with treatments on a regular basis. For anti-aging, for example, most professionals recommend 2-3 treatments per week, so visiting a professional office that often can be inconvenient and expensive. 

Where can I buy a red light LED therapy device?

There are a number of RLT devices on the market – you can even find products on Amazon. However, much like other “too-good-to-be-true” deals, you should be cautious before you buy.

If you want to invest in red light therapy, it’s worth the money to buy an FDA-cleared device; that way, you’ll actually see results from consistent treatment. Inexpensive, non-regulated devices are often ineffective, or stop working after a month or two.

Bottom line? Do your research and trust the professionals. Purchase a reputable device that has a proven track record of success – one that professional dermatologists and estheticians use with their patients every day. 


Although RLT has been around since 1903, it has recently become a mainstream method that people use to treat a wide variety of concerns. Celluma manufactures FDA-cleared, professional-grade light therapy devices that can be used in-office or for treatment at home and on-the-go. Our portable, lightweight designs are ideal for storage and travel, and our patented flexible technology ensures you can conform the LED light close to your body for maximum absorption and optimal efficacy.


Our red light therapy devices improve health at the cellular level by accelerating the repair and replenishment of compromised tissue cells. While similar devices claim to do the same, they often require you to buy multiple panels and accessories in order to treat specific conditions or accommodate different body parts.


Alternatively, Celluma offers a convenient solution in a versatile, all-in-one system you can trust.  If you’re ready to try red light therapy for yourself, Celluma is the #1 choice globally. Celluma devices are inspired by light and proven by science to improve cellular health and reduce the signs of aging, relieve pain, speed healing, and so much more.

 You can shop our wide range of award-winning red light therapy devices here:

 If you have any questions about which device is right for you, feel free to call our team of experts at (714) 978-0080.



Matt Kovach