Scientific research on the effects of red light therapy for skin rejuvenation, rosacea, acne, and other skin conditions:

Red Light Therapy Research

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) in Dermatology

Conclusion We are now part of an exciting era in which complex subcellular reactions can actually be influenced favorably with the help of sophisticated configured LED ballistic photons to obtain excellent outcomes in a variety of skin conditions. Safer than sunlight, this new low level light therapy allows for the treatment of patients without pain, downtime or side effects. On the basis of sound photobiology principles, scientific and clinical studies conducted so far have shown promising results. The future seems limitless for LED therapy with innovative methods such as photoprophylaxis, photopreparation, and home use photoregulation

Facial Rejuvenation in the Triangle of ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species)

Earlier we demonstrated that extended periodic irradiation with intense 670 nm light, generated by light-emitting diodes (LED), significantly reduces facial wrinkle levels.

The use of light-emitting diode therapy in the treatment of photoaged skin.


The majority of subjects displayed “moderate” (50%) or “slight” (25%) response to treatment at investigator assessment. Treatment of the periorbital region was reported more effective than the nasolabial region. At 12-week follow-up, 91% of subjects reported improved skin tone, and 82% reported enhanced smoothness of skin in the treatment area.


Good response to LED therapy has been shown in this modest sample. Larger trials are needed to assess optimum frequency of light treatments and overall treatment time.

Red light phototherapy alone is effective for acne vulgaris: randomized, single-blinded clinical trial.


The percent improvement in noninflammatory and inflammatory lesion counts of the treated side was significant compared to the control side (p<.005). VAS decreased from 3.9 to 1.9 on the treatment side and the difference between the treatment and control sides was significant at Week 8 (p<.005).


This study shows that red light phototherapy alone can be a new therapeutic option for acne vulgaris.

Phototherapy with blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris


The percent improvement in noninflammatory and inflammatory lesion counts of the treated side was significant compared to the control side (p<.005). VAS decreased from 3.9 to 1.9 on the treatment side and the difference between the treatment and control sides was significant at Week 8 (p<.005).


This study shows that red light phototherapy alone can be a new therapeutic option for acne vulgaris.

Phototherapy with blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris.

We have found that phototherapy with mixed blue-red light, probably by combining antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action, is an effective means of treating acne vulgaris of mild to moderate severity, with no significant short-term adverse effects.

Combination blue (415 nm) and red (633 nm) LED phototherapy in the treatment of mild to severe acne vulgaris.


Twenty-two patients completed the trial. A mean reduction in lesion count was observed at all follow-up points. At the 4-week follow-up, the mean lesion count reduction was significant at 46% (p=0.001). At the 12-week follow-up, the mean lesion count reduction was also significant at 81% (p=0.001). Patient and dermatologist assessments were similar. Severe acne showed a marginally better response than mild acne. Side effects were minimal and transitory. Comedones did not respond as well as inflammatory lesions.


Combination blue and red LED therapy appears to have excellent potential in the treatment of mild to severe acne. Treatment appears to be both pain- and side effect-free.

Light-emitting diode phototherapy at 630 +/- 3 nm increases local levels of skin-homing T-cells in human subjects.


Transmission electron microscopy revealed mild fibroplastic changes in fibroblasts, with no acute inflammatory changes throughout the treatment session. Qualitative PCR showed the presence of both Th-1 and Th-2 T-cells, and quantitative PCR showed an increase in the numbers of both types of skin-homing T-cells, much more so for Th-2 than for Th-1.


Visible red LED irradiation appears to activate the skin-homing immune system.

Studies on the effects of this technology for pain management and healing:

NASA Light Technology Successfully Reduces Cancer Patients Painful Side Effects from Radiation and Chemotherapy

“NASA is proud to be a part of the HEALS technology medical advancements that  are improving the lives of cancer patients and providing new, innovative medical  applications,” said Helen Stinson, technical monitor for the NASA HEALS  contract. “It’s exciting to see the spinoffs from NASA’s science and technology  initiatives continually improve the quality of life for people here on Earth.”

In a two-year clinical trial, cancer patients undergoing bone marrow or stem cell transplants were given a far red/near infrared Light Emitting Diode treatment called High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate, or HEALS, to treat oral mucositis — a common and extremely painful side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The trial concluded that there is a 96 percent chance that the improvement in pain of those in the high-risk patient group was the result of the HEALS treatment.

“Using this technology as a healing agent was phenomenal,” said Dr. Donna Salzman, clinical trial principal investigator and director of clinical services and education at the Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy Unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. “The HEALS device was well tolerated with no adverse affects to our bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients.”

NASA Light Emitting Diode Medical Applications From Deep Space to Deep Sea

Long term space flight, with its many inherent risks, also raises the possibility of astronauts being injured performing their required tasks. The fact that the normal healing process is negatively affected by microgravity requires novel approaches to improve wound healing and tissue growth in space. NASA LED arrays have already flown on Space Shuttle missions for studies of plant growth and the US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proved human trials. The use of light therapy with LEDs can help prevent bone and muscle atrophy as well as increase the rate of wound healing in a microgravity environment, thus reducing the risk of treatable injuries becoming mission catastrophes.

Submarine atmospheres are low in oxygen and high in carbon dioxide, which compounds the absence of crew exposure to sunlight, making wound healing slower than on the surface. An LED array with wavelengths combined in a single unit (670, 720, 880 nm) was delivered to Naval Special Warfare Group-2 in Norfolk and a data collection system has been implemented for musculoskeletal training injuries treated with NASA LEDs. Data collection instruments now include injury diagnosis, day from injury, range of motion measured with goniometer, pain intensity scales reported on scale 1-10, girth-circumferential measurements in cm, percent changes over time in all of the aforementioned parameters, and number of LED-treatments required for the subject to be fit-for-full-duty (FFD). Data have also been received from Naval Special Warfare Command (Norfolk & San Diego) where 18-20 patients per day are being treated with NASA-LEDs and results indicate >40% improvement in musculoskeletal training injuries. Data has also been received from the USS Salt Lake City (submarine SSN 716 on Pacific deployment) reporting 50% faster (7 day) healing of lacerations in crew members compared to untreated control healing (approximately 14 days).

Light therapy and advanced wound care for a neuropathic plantar ulcer on a Charcot foot.

Light therapy is a relatively novel modality in wound care. I used a light-emitting diode (LED) and superluminous diode (SLD) to deliver low-intensity laser light as an adjunctive treatment to a patient with a chronic diabetic foot ulcer. Standard treatment of conservative sharp debridement, off-loading, bioburden management, and advanced dressings was delivered in a WOC clinic setting. This combination of therapies resulted in closure of the neuropathic plantar ulcer within 8 weeks.

Effect of NASA light-emitting diode irradiation on wound healing.


LED produced in vitro increases of cell growth of 140-200% in mouse-derived fibroblasts, rat-derived osteoblasts, and rat-derived skeletal muscle cells, and increases in growth of 155-171% of normal human epithelial cells. Wound size decreased up to 36% in conjunction with HBO in ischemic rat models. LED produced improvement of greater than 40% in musculoskeletal training injuries in Navy SEAL team members, and decreased wound healing time in crew members aboard a U.S. Naval submarine. LED produced a 47% reduction in pain of children suffering from oral mucositis.


We believe that the use of NASA LED for light therapy alone, and in conjunction with hyperbaric oxygen, will greatly enhance the natural wound healing process, and more quickly return the patient to a preinjury/illness level of activity. This work is supported and managed through the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center-SBIR Program.

Light-emitting diode treatment reverses the effect of TTX on cytochrome oxidase in neurons.


Light close to and in the near-infrared range has documented benefits for promoting wound healing in human and animals. However, mechanisms of its action on cells are poorly understood. We hypothesized that light treatment with a light-emitting diode array at 670 nm (LED) is therapeutic in stimulating cellular events involving increases in cytochrome oxidase activity. LED was administered to cultured primary neurons whose voltage-dependent sodium channels were blocked by tetrodotoxin. The down-regulation of cytochrome oxidase activity by TTX was reverted to control levels by LED. LED alone also up-regulated enzyme activity. Thus, the results are consistent with our hypothesis that LED has a stimulating effect on cytochrome oxidase in neurons, even when they have been functionally silenced by TTX.

Evidence of changes in sural nerve conduction mediated by light emitting diode irradiation

…it can be concluded that LED irradiation, applied to intact skin at the described irradiation parameters, produces an immediate and localized effect upon conduction characteristics in underlying nerves. Therefore, the outcome of this in vivo experiment yields a potential explanation for pain relief induced by LED.

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