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Red Light Therapy Side Effects

Red light therapy isn’t new, but more and more patients are embracing this non-invasive treatment for everything from skin health to muscle recovery. Also referred to as LED therapy or photobiomodulation therapy, light therapy penetrates the skin with specific light wavelengths that trigger reactions at the cellular level. Everyone responds differently to red light treatment, but many people celebrate its ability to promote wound healing, refresh skin, and even speed up athletic recovery.

As beneficial as light therapy can be, it comes with some side effects and risks. These are generally mild and not an issue for most people, but even so, it’s important to weigh the risks against its benefits. In this guide, we’ll explain the most common light therapy side effects and share helpful precautions to help you get the most out of treatment.

The Basics of Red Light Therapy

Low-level light therapy (LLLT) exposes your skin to low wavelengths of red light. This specific wavelength of light is helpful for boosting collagen production in the skin, which is why so many people swear by red light therapy as a non-invasive wrinkle treatment.

Other types of light therapy, like laser treatments, use intense light and heat to get results. That works well, but the more intense the light and heat, the more side effects there will be. Red light therapy, on the other hand, uses a low-level light that’s gentle and effective, penetrating just deeply enough to have an effect on cellular function without causing pain or damage.

People use red light therapy for all kinds of things, including:

  • Hair growth
  • Skin health
  • Pain relief
  • Muscle recovery

Some research suggests infrared light therapy can help with mental health issues like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), too

Whether you’re in it for aesthetic purposes, like anti-aging treatments, or medical reasons, like pain relief, many people see results with consistent light therapy.

Of course, the outcome of treatment depends on the quality of thelight you’re using. Krysus HP uses NovoTHOR infrared therapy beds, which combine red light and near-infrared light to treat your entire body. There’s no need to worry about setting a timer or managing anything yourself: our professionals handle everything for you in a single 30-minute session. Many of our customers love the non-invasive treatment for improving their skin health and relieving pain.

 

The Five Most Common Side Effects

Red light therapy has significantly fewer side effects than more intense light treatments. With that said, it isn’t entirely without side effects. Learn about the most common side effects from light therapy and how to minimize them when possible.

1. Headaches

Some people report headaches after light therapy. This is usually due to exposure to bright light, although a history of headaches or migraines can make you more susceptible to these headaches.

You can avoid headaches during treatment by:

  • Wearing eye protection
  • Closing your eyes
  • Taking over-the-counter headache medication, like Tylenol or Aleve, before your session

Avoid light therapy if you have a bad headache or migraine, especially if you’re sensitive to light. Quality treatment centers like Krysus HP will be happy to reschedule you for a different day.

2. Eye Strain

Just like staring at the sun can damage your eyes, staring at an intense red LED light can also damage them. Proper eyewear is essential for the entirety of your treatment to prevent eye strain or damage. Krysus will always provide you with special glasses for treatment, so please wear them the entire time to protect your eyes.

3. Skin Conditions and Irritation

Skin irritation is the most common side effect of light therapy. It’s not unusual to experience some mild redness, itching, or irritation if you have sensitive skin or other skin conditions.

Red light devices at home have been known to cause blisters, but that’s usually because people don’t follow the usage guidelines. Going to a professional infrared light therapy treatment center like Krysus will help you avoid skin irritation because we follow strict safety protocols.

We always recommend starting with shorter light therapy sessions at first to see how your skin reacts to the treatment. If you experience irritation after a session, reduce the session duration or frequency to prevent irritation. Consult with a dermatologist or your healthcare provider if you have any questions about infrared light therapy and skin conditions.

4. Medication Interactions

It isn’t common, but some medications increase the side effects from near-infrared light therapy. Medicines like lithium, melatonin, some antibiotics, and tretinoin can make you more photosensitive, for example. If your medication makes you more sensitive to light, talk to your doctor before trying infrared light therapy. This treatment is very gentle, but taking certain medications could put you at a higher risk of redness and irritation, so always check with your healthcare provider

5. Insomnia

If you struggle with insomnia, chat with your doctor before trying infrared light therapy. Some people think the exposure to infrared light helps them sleep, while others report difficulties sleeping after their session.

 

How Side Effects Compare To Other Treatments

Headaches, eye strain, and skin irritation are the most common infrared light therapy side effects. It’s important to remember these side effects are usually minimal, and near-infrared light therapy is generally considered safe, especially compared to alternatives.

Other types of light therapy, like UV therapy, have more pronounced side effects. UV uses ultraviolet light to treat conditions like psoriasis, jaundice, and eczema, although it can cause burns, age the skin, and increase your long-term skin cancer risk.

Laser light treatments also use powerful beams of light to get results. However, laser treatments are much more painful—many patients say it feels like being hit with a rubber band. Not only that, but the treated areas are often red, raised, and swollen after treatment. Laser treatments also prevent you from taking a hot shower, working out, and otherwise enjoying the rest of your day.

There are also plenty of pharmaceuticals that reduce inflammation, improve skin health, and reduce muscle stiffness. infrared light therapy certainly isn’t a replacement for medical treatment, but medications come with way more side effects than near-infrared light therapy. Nausea, headaches, and more serious health risks require constant monitoring and tweaking your dosage to get the best outcome.

The side effects are usually mild and rare. Most people enjoy it without any discomfort. Compared to alternatives like laser treatments, UV therapy, and medications, it has a much lower risk.

Infrared light therapy can’t replace medical treatment, but its mild side effects make it a solid option, especially if you’re looking for a non-invasive treatment without a lot of scary complications.

 

Precautions You Should Follow

Side effects are few and far between, but following these simple precautions will set you up for success.

Follow Standard Safety Protocol

Infrared light therapy uses low-level light for treatment, but it can still be hard on your eyes. Always wear eye protection during red light treatments, regardless of whether you’re doing a full-body treatment or a spot treatment.

If you’re new to near-infrared light therapy or are worried about skin irritation, start with shorter sessions and gradually increase their duration. If you notice any irritation or discomfort, shorten your session duration or space out your treatments.

It’s also important to maintain a consistent distance from the light source. There’s no need to press yourself up against the LED lights. That could lead to irritation or inconsistent results, so follow the treatment center’s guidelines.

Go to a Professional Center

It’s tempting to buy a red light device to use at home, but for the best results with minimal side effects, go to an approved light therapy treatment center like Krysus. Our NovoTHOR whole-body light pods are designed for gentle, effective treatment as much as once daily.

There’s something to be said for professional guidance, too. Our professional, knowledgeable team will help you get the most out of light therapy and offer advice to minimize negative side effects.

Manage Your Personal Risks

Most people are unlikely to experience any negative side effects, but certain medications or medical treatments could put you more at risk. For example, if you have diabetes or a history of skin cancer, always check with your doctor before booking a red light treatment session.

Experience the Health Benefits Firsthand

For most people, the benefits of infrared light therapy significantly outweigh the side effects. You might experience mild issues like headaches or skin irritation, but for the most part, this treatment is gentle and safe. Whether you want clear skin or help recovering from an intense workout, light therapy is a great addition to your daily or weekly routine. Why not give it a try?

Book Your Infrared Session Today

Experience an infrared light therapy session at Krysus to witness the benefits firsthand. Book your red light treatment now