Can You Overdo Red Light Therapy?

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LED Light Therapy has become an extremely popular non-invasive beauty and pain management therapy. By shining specific frequencies of light on the skin, these treatments target wrinkles, acne, pain points, and other areas that need attention.

Many have found these treatments to be super effective! But then the question gets raised: Can you overdo red light therapy? How much is too much? Do bad things happen if you use light therapy too frequently?

The good news is that the answer to that question is basically no, you can’t overuse light therapy. We’ll dig into the details below!


What is LED Light Therapy?

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LED, or light-emitting diode, therapy is a skincare treatment that uses varying wavelengths of light in different colors. The LED’s color depends on its frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum.

Different frequencies (colors) of LED light produce different beneficial effects for the skin:

Red LED light acts on fibroblasts, which are skin cells that play a role in the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that makes up a large part of connective tissue, helps the skin maintain elasticity and recover from injury.

More collagen means that your skin will look smoother and fuller, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, spider veins, etc. Often these treatments are combined with a serum for additional power.

Red LED light is also thought to reduce inflammation while improving circulation, giving you a healthy glow.

Blue LED light is most often used to treat acne. It targets the sebaceous glands, which are necessary for lubricating your skin and hair so that it doesn’t dry out. Overactive sebaceous glands can lead to oily skin and acne. Blue light may also kill acne-causing bacteria.

It’s important to note that blue LED light therapy only helps with inflammatory acne, which develops as inflamed, red bumps and pustules. It will not treat blackheads or cystic acne which is triggered by hormones because LED light therapy does not treat the underlying hormonal trigger. 

For a deeper dive into how light therapy works, and its benefits, see here.

Where can you get LED therapy?

LED light therapy was once only available from dermatologists and specialized skincare clinics.

But now, there are many places you can get light therapy — from Planet Fitness’ Total Body Enhancement machines to right in your home!

Is LED Light Therapy Safe?

Hydraskincare LED Light Therapy Device

Unlike other types of phototherapy, LEDs do not contain ultraviolet rays and are safe for regular use. They are not tanning beds, (though there are some manufacturers that combine red light therapy and tanning beds).

LED light therapy doesn’t cause burns that other anti-aging treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy can.

It is safe for all skin colors and types.

LED Light Therapy Dangers

Side effects are rare, but those with sensitive skin may experience inflammation, redness, and rashes.

The major contraindications for the use of LED light therapy are diseases that involve the retina of the eye, such as diabetes, and the use of photosensitizing medications like lithium, melatonin, phenothiazine antipsychotics, and certain antibiotics.

People with a history of skin cancer and systemic lupus erythematosus should also avoid LED light therapy treatments unless discussed with your doctor first.

If you are taking medication or have an active skin or eye disorder, talk to your dermatologist about whether LED light therapy is a good option for you.

Can You Overdo Red Light Therapy?

If you are using an at-home LED therapy mask, panel, or other home treatment, and you follow the instructions for the use of your particular product, there should be no problem with overuse.

You’re not going to burn your skin if you use the treatment frequently, assuming the unit is not a combination tanning bed/light therapy device.

You should always pay close attention to your eyes, though. Ensure they are properly protected.

How Often Can You Use LED Light Therapy?

The benefits, much like using a retinol product, are cumulative. This means that you need to be consistent with it to get your desired results.

You are not going to get results overnight and you are not going to get results if you use it once a month.

With an LED light therapy mask or panel, generally daily sessions should have you on your way to clearer, healthier skin in a few weeks. 

How long those daily sessions should last will depend entirely on the mask you are using – not all at-home LED light therapy treatments are the same. Depending on the amount of LED lights in your mask, session times could vary from 3 to 20 minutes.

Read and follow the instructions for your specific product and you will never have to worry if you are overdoing it.

Which Light Therapy Devices Are Worth Trying?

We’ve put together several reviews and product guides of different light therapy devices. Check these out!

Take Away

Can you overuse LED light therapy? LED Light Therapy is safe and as long as you follow the instructions on your product and protect your eyes. You have nothing to worry about.

Just make sure you check with your doctor or dermatologist if you are currently taking any medication, or have any type of skin or eye disorder before deciding to try it out.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).