With so many new skincare devices emerging, it’s easy to dismiss some as passing trends that provide little benefit for your skin. However, LED (Light-Emitting Diode) devices have a lot of science behind them and have even been studied by NASA!
I’ve teamed up with CurrentBody to explain all about red light therapy for collagen production and introduce you to my favorite at-home red light therapy device. It’s currently 20% off in their Black Friday sale (which has started today) with my code CBLAURA.
*Please note that this is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. This article may also contain affiliate links which means that I might earn a commission on any products purchased through these links – at no extra cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
LED light therapy uses different wavelengths of visible light (i.e. white light) to change the behavior of the cells in your skin.
The most common wavelengths used for LED light therapy are:
- Blue LED: 450-500 nm
- Yellow LED: 570-590 nm
- Red LED: 610-760 nm
- Near Infrared: < 760nm
Each of which offer different benefits for your skin. For example, blue light therapy can kill acne-causing bacteria and is useful at helping to clear breakouts, while red and near-infrared light therapy can encourage the healthy growth of new skin cells, reduce inflammation, and boost collagen production – all of which help to promote healing.
Research suggests that LED light therapy can also help improve other skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and actinic keratosis.
There are 3 key factors that are necessary for LED Light Therapy to work:
- Molecules that are activated by light when they absorb it
- Oxidative stress that results from the activation of these molecules.
The light-activated molecules in your skin are called chromophores. When a photon of light is absorbed by one of these molecules it creates a chemical change in your skin cells which boosts their metabolism and gives them more energy to multiply.
Chromophores are selective when it comes to the wavelength of light they absorb which is why different wavelengths of light have different benefits for your skin.
The Research Behind Red Light Therapy For Collagen Production
Red and near-infrared light therapy is probably the most well-researched in terms of its skin benefits due to its ability to promote wound-healing.
Some research suggests that red light therapy can increase human skin cell growth by 155-171% which can enhance wound healing, improve training injuries in Navy SEALs, and reduce pain.
One of the key processes involved in healing wounds is the production of new collagen which means that wound-healing studies can highlight potential anti-aging skincare products and ingredients.
Tests on human skin cells have shown that collagen production can remain increased as long as 21 days after treatment with red light therapy.
It can also lead to improved complexion and smoother feeling skin.
When it comes to anti-aging, research suggests that red and infrared LED light therapy can reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 36% and increase elasticity by up to 19%.
Another study found that 81% of people that used a combination of red and near-infrared light therapy reported fewer wrinkles around their eyes (crow’s feet).
Some skincare ingredients may help you get faster results from your red light therapy when you use them together. For example, a clinical study found that applying a green tea skincare product before red light therapy increased the effects of the light therapy, with results being seen in one month compared to 10 months with red light alone.
Green tea extracts contain polyphenols that act as powerful antioxidants. It’s theorized that they enhance the anti-aging effects of red light therapy by balancing the number of reactive oxygen species (ROS, a type of free radical) that are created during the process.
Although free radicals are usually considered a bad thing (e.g. those created from UV radiation contribute to premature aging), they’re also created as part of your body’s normal metabolic processes (i.e. you need some free radicals).
Not enough ROS = no increase in collagen production
Balanced ROS = increase in collagen production without damage to skin cells
Too much ROS = damage to existing collagen as well as skin cells.
In theory, the antioxidants in the green tea ensure that you’re keeping the ROS production in the balanced range. Although it’s unlikely that you’re going to create too many ROS from red light therapy alone – unless you’re seriously over-using it.
How To Use Red Light Therapy For Collagen Production At Home
There are a number of different at-home Red LED Light Therapy devices but my personal favorite is the CurrentBody face mask.
It uses red and near-infrared wavelengths of light (the ideal wavelengths for anti-aging) to reduce wrinkles by 35% in just 4 weeks, as well as targeting:
- Pigmentation (dark marks, etc.)
In their own study, 95% of users said that their skin tone, texture, and firmness improved after using the CurrentBody LED Light Therapy mask
To get the best results out of the CurrentBody face mask, use it for 10 minutes, five times a week, after cleansing and gently exfoliating your skin.
You can also apply a green tea serum, like this one, prior to using the face mask in order to enhance the effects of the red LED light therapy as discussed above. In theory, you can use any kind of antioxidant as long as it’s photostable – i.e. not ascorbic acid or retinol (vitamin A).
If you’d like to supercharge your skin hydration, you can also pair the LED face mask with this Hydrogel Sheet Mask.
I personally like to apply the hyaluronic acid serum, followed by the green tea serum, then apply the mask for 10 minutes before applying the glow serum, and daily restoring serum. I find this works really well before an event as it evens my skin tone and gives my skin a really nice glow.
The daily restoring serum doubles up as a primer and provides a really nice base for my make-up, especially if you like a soft, dewy look.
The CurrentBody LED Light Therapy mask is easy and convenient to use, you just have to charge up the battery (it comes with US, EU, and UK plug adaptors which I thought was a really useful touch) and attach it to the mask once it’s fully charged.
The head strap means that you can move around and get stuff done while you’re wearing it, however, it’s quite nice to take 10 minutes to lie down and relax while it does its thing. Plus, the first time I used it I didn’t tighten the strap enough so it left a little red mark on my nose – I haven’t had that issue since though.
I’m really impressed with this device and it’s now a staple in my skincare routine.
If you would like to try out the CurrentBody LED Light Therapy Mask (it would also make an amazing Christmas present for any skincare enthusiast in your life), you can get a massive 20% off in their Black Friday sale (started today) using my code CBLAURA.