In recent years, red light therapy (RLT) has emerged as a popular treatment option for various health and cosmetic issues, captivating the interest of many with its promise of non-invasive rejuvenation and healing. Often found in specialized clinics, wellness centers, and even in personal use devices, RLT is acclaimed for its potential benefits on skin health, muscle recovery, and overall well-being. Amidst this growing popularity, it’s essential to distinguish fact from fiction.

One common area of confusion involves red light therapy beds. While resembling tanning beds in appearance, these devices function entirely differently. They emit specific wavelengths of red light, aiming to rejuvenate skin and heal tissues without the harmful UV rays associated with tanning. However, misconceptions persist, not only about these beds but also about RLT as a whole. This article aims to debunk some of these prevalent myths.

Myth 1: Red Light Therapy is the Same as Tanning

A common misconception equates red light therapy beds with tanning beds, but they’re fundamentally different. RLT beds utilize low-wavelength red light, primarily for therapeutic and cosmetic benefits, without the skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation found in tanning beds. This key distinction means RLT offers a non-damaging way to treat the skin, contrary to the harmful effects associated with tanning.

Myth 2: Red Light Therapy Results are Immediate

Many believe that RLT provides instant results, but the truth is more nuanced. While, many feel changes immediately but the root cause Improvements from RLT often require consistent treatment over weeks or months. While some individuals may notice early changes, the full benefits are typically observed after a prolonged period of regular sessions.

Myth 3: Red Light Therapy is Only Cosmetic

Beyond cosmetic improvements, RLT has therapeutic applications. Its use in muscle recovery, pain relief, and potential mental health benefits are being explored. Studies have shown its efficacy in reducing muscle fatigue and improving injury recovery, indicating its role beyond mere skin deep benefits.

Myth 4: Red Light Therapy is Painful and Invasive

Contrary to some beliefs, RLT is non-invasive and pain-free. Unlike certain cosmetic procedures that require surgical intervention, RLT offers a gentle alternative for skin and tissue treatment, making it a preferable option for those seeking non-invasive therapies.

The FDA classifies Red Light Therapy as Class II exempt due to its non-invasive nature.  

Myth 5: All Red Light Therapy Devices are the Same

The effectiveness of RLT can vary significantly depending on the device used. Not all devices are created equal, and factors like wavelength, intensity, and duration of exposure play crucial roles in the treatment’s effectiveness. Consumers should be aware of these differences when considering RLT.


Understanding red light therapy in its true light is crucial for both consumers and practitioners. By dispelling these myths, individuals can make more informed decisions about using RLT. This journey into the world of red light therapy not only enlightens us about its diverse applications but also reminds us of the importance of evidence-based practice in health and wellness. As always, consulting with healthcare professionals is recommended for personalized advice tailored to individual health needs. In conclusion, while RLT may not be a miracle cure, its scientifically backed benefits and growing potential in various therapeutic areas make it a fascinating subject for ongoing research and application.

Research Studies:
Safety and Efficacy of Red Light Therapy:

A study published in PubMed investigated the safety and efficacy of red and near-infrared light sources for skin rejuvenation. This randomized controlled trial with 136 volunteers showed significant improvement in skin complexion, skin feeling, skin roughness, and collagen density in treated subjects compared to controls. This study supports the safety and efficacy of red light therapy in skin rejuvenation, contradicting the myth that all red light therapy is unproven or unsafe​​.

Photobiomodulation in Clinical Applications:

An article in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal reviewed the clinical applications of low-level light therapy (LLLT), also known as photobiomodulation. It detailed how red/near-infrared light enhances mitochondrial ATP production, cell signaling, and growth factor synthesis, which are essential for tissue repair and rejuvenation. This information refutes the myth that red light therapy’s benefits are unscientific or purely cosmetic​​.

Red Light Therapy for Temporomandibular Disorders:

A study focusing on the treatment of temporomandibular disorders with LED red light therapy provided evidence of its efficacy in pain relief and symptom improvement. Published in the Pain Research and Treatment journal, this study demonstrated the therapeutic potential of red light therapy beyond cosmetic applications, challenging the misconception that its use is limited to skin-related treatments​​.

Red Light Therapy in Melanoma Treatment:

Research on the application of red light phototherapy in inhibiting melanoma proliferation provides insight into its potential as a cancer treatment. The study, available on PubMed, showed that red light therapy prevented tumor growth and increased the expression of immune markers associated with favorable melanoma outcomes. This finding opposes the myth that red light therapy has no therapeutic value in serious medical conditions like cancer​​.