How Often Should You Do Red Light Therapy for Wrinkles?
Once you get your red light therapy device, how often do you do red light therapy for wrinkles and rejuvenation?
Do red light therapy for wrinkles between three and seven days a week. Why the range? It’s going to depend on your device’s features, and how you respond to the treatment. Rule of thumb is 10 minutes a day, five days a week.
You have to get the dosing right for red light therapy to work. So it’s important that you understand your device’s power, and your own skin’s response to the therapy. It’s not hard to do, but you need to follow these rules to get good results.
- Use a dedicated red light therapy facial mask such as the HigherDose, my favorite for its soft feel, and incredibly popular reputation. Use the device for ten minutes, 3-5 times per week.
- Or, if you’re using a tabletop or panel, calculate 25 to 50 joules, using the instructions below labeled “Slightly Less Simple Steps to Determining a Tabletop Protocol.” For example, to get a 25 joules dose with the MitoPRO 300, sit 6 inches away for 9 minutes, once per day. You can use it every day, but some people do better skipping two days per week.
Here is the HigherDose mask at HigherDose.com (opens in a new browser window)
Here is the MitoPRO 300 at MitoRedLight.com (opens in a new browser window)
Top Wrinkle Red Light Therapy for Wrinkles for 2022
This is the Mask I’d Buy My Mom or Daughter
Update: March 2023: Several months ago I posted this article about red light therapy face masks. At the time, I added no recommendation for which facial red light therapy mask to buy.
Now I have finally found one I like and recommend.
The HigherDOSE red light therapy mask is a soft silicone design that does not scratch or bite into the face. (Skip my explanation and go directly to the HigherDOSE page here.)
I’ll show you the specifications, and then tell you why I like them.
HigherDOSE Red Light Therapy Facial Mask Specifications
|Session Time||10 or 20 minutes|
|Frequency||3-5 times per week|
|Material||Medical Grade Silicone|
|Return Window||14 days|
If you’ve read my guides then you might know that I don’t really care about how many bulbs a device has. Manufacturers sometimes brag about “beam angles” and overstate irradiance (amount of photon energy to reach the skin at a specific distance). None of that matters.
The bottom line is that the distance from the device combined with the time required to get a dose tells us everything we need to know about a red light therapy device.
The HigherDOSE facial mask outputs good healing red and infrared wavelengths that stimulate collagen and elastin, and reduce wrinkles and acne (add blue light for a complete acne therapy).
You need only 10 minutes to get a dose of light from this mask, which translates to “this is a well-powered mask, above average because most masks are too weak to bother using.” More expensive masks take a lot longer, meaning they’re a lot cheaper under the hood.
The medical grade silicone sealed the deal for me. I will not wear a stiff mask that cuts and bites into the skin. I had cheap Halloween masks as a kid. I’m not interested in pretending to be Bat Man.
If the silicone sealed the deal, then the low price is gravy. I know of so-called high-end masks that I will not buy that cost 3x what this lovely device costs.
Is this something you’d like to see? Meet the HigherDOSE Red Light Face Mask on the HigherDOSE.com website. Enjoy.
at AmazonTime per treatment: 15 minutes
|HigherDOSE Red Light Mask
Does Red Light Therapy for Wrinkles Really Work?
In a 2020 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers studied the effects of a home-use red light therapy device on facial skin health. At 6 weeks into therapy, all 24 subjects had tighter skin in proportion to the elastin production increase the light produced. Their skin texture significantly improved by 8 weeks. There were no side effects.
A study on the safety of home red light therapy for skin found that there were no side effects besides temporary redness and hyperpigmentation, which faded after a short period. In that study, researchers tested huge doses up to 64 times the needed for wrinkle reduction.
Ng JNC, Wanitphakdeedecha R, Yan C. Efficacy of home-use light-emitting diode device at 637 and 854-nm for facial rejuvenation: A split-face pilot study. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Sep;19(9):2288-2294. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13613. Epub 2020 Jul 27. PMID: 32649063.
Jagdeo J, Nguyen JK, Ho D, Wang EB, Austin E, Mamalis A, Kaur R, Kraeva E, Schulman JM, Li CS, Hwang ST, Wun T, Maverakis E, Isseroff RR. Safety of light emitting diode-red light on human skin: Two randomized controlled trials. J Biophotonics. 2020 Mar;13(3):e201960014. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201960014. Epub 2019 Dec 8. PMID: 31483941; PMCID: PMC8887049.
When “Experts” Fail to Look at the Evidence
When I see so-called health experts with a huge reach into the public’s perception call red light therapy an “experiment” with “no evidence,” I want to throw the entire Library of Congress at their heads.
I mean, sure, there’s no evidence, except for the 8,237 papers published in scientific journals.
See my rebuttal of these ignorant comments in my article: Is Red Light Therapy a Gimmick? Answers You Need to Be a Confident Red Light Therapy Buyer
A Hungarian researcher accidentally discovered red light therapy in 1967. There’s over 55 years of science showing it heals the skin, in large part by producing collagen and elastin.
Why We Get Wrinkles
Collagen forms the matrix that gives skin a youthful appearance. Elastin is a more flexible version of collagen that prevents age-related sagging.
We lose the ability to make collagen and elastin with age. That’s partly from sun exposure, and partly from our cellular energy factories shutting down from years of use.
These cellular energy factories (called “mitochondria”) make packets of energy that our tissues use to construct collagen and elastin.
So bringing the aging factories back online helps the skin to heal itself.
The Anti-Wrinkle Solution that Revives Collagen and Elastin Production
Advertising for other wrinkle reduction methods will often claim a positive effect on collagen and elastin.
But no wrinkle-reduction therapy has the structural power to bring elastin and collagen production back online.
As these proteins are the holy grail of any anti-wrinkle therapy, red light therapy is most certainly superior to short-acting solutions such as wrinkle cream.
Wrinkle cream marketers invest billions in advertising messages the describe collagen and elastin. But do their products really have any effect on these proteins?
Wrinkle creams mostly tighten the skin, but not in any structural way. “If you’re looking for a face-lift in a bottle, you probably won’t find it in OTC wrinkle creams. The benefits of these products are usually only slight,” says the Mayo Clinic, one of the nation’s premiere medical facilities.
Retinol and vitamin C do have some bioactive effects, but they fade. These effects do not change the structure of your skin as the cells replicate.
Red light therapy, on the other hand, directly and immediately triggers collagen and elastin production. This activity reduces wrinkles. The renewed cellular allows natural repair mechanisms to resume activity.
As they did when you were younger, these proteins renew the skin with fresh, plump, healthy proteins. Red light therapy triggers the cells to make collagen and to make elastin. It’s not creating a temporary fix. It’s changing the protein structure of your skin, in exactly the manner it did when you were younger.
We lose the ability to make elastin and collagen in part because our cellular energy factories wind down after years of use. These factories (mitochondria) happen to be the exact target of red light therapy light packets.
The Red Light Brings Biological Energy Factories Back Online
Just as we absorb light from the sun in the skin to produce Vitamin D, and melanin that darkens skin in the sun, we absorb the light from red light therapy to produce collagen and elastin.
As we age, our cellular energy factories stop working as well as they did in our youth. Just as we need energy to make a car move, we need energy to make our bodies move. We need energy to make collagen and elastin.
Red light therapy light packets absorb in the heart of our cellular energy factories. The light “donates” energy to the cellular energy making process. With more biological energy, the normal and healthy skin rejuvenation picks up where it left off.
Red light therapy is nothing like wrinkle creams, which offer short term fixes and nothing structural to show for their work.
Rather than causing a small change that just reverses after a few days, red light therapy makes structural changes. The skin knows how to heal itself. The red light therapy gives it the energy to resume the protein creation.
How to Get the Best Red Light Therapy Wrinkle Reduction Results
To get the best results from your light, you need to prepare correctly, and then use the light for the right amount of time.
Preparing the Face for Wrinkle Reduction
In order for light therapy to have any effect at all, the light must absorb into the skin. Anything that blocks that light from entering the skin is blocking the healthy effects of red light therapy. Step one, then, is to clean the face of oils and makeup, and pat dry with a clean towel.
Simple Steps to Determine Your Face Mask Protocol
If you’re using a HigherDose mask, the protocol is simple.
Wear the mask for ten minutes, three to five times per week.
You don’t need to figure anything out because the dose is built into the instructions.
Have you looked at the HigherDose mask yet?
It’s sooooooo soft. View the mask in a new browser window here.
Slightly Less Simple Steps to Determining a Tabletop Protocol
But what if you’re using a tabletop or panel? What’s the protocol for wrinkles?
Use your device’s instructions as the baseline, and then alter the therapy based on your skin’s response to the light exposure.
To make this as simple as possible, let’s look at a real device and how to use it.
We’ll start with one of my favorite wrinkle red light therapy devices, the Mito Red Light MitoPRO 300. This is a tabletop red light therapy device. One of the reasons it’s my favorite, is that Mito Red Light figured out how to be truthful about dosing!
The MitoPRO is the first therapy device I recommend for multi-purpose therapy. It’s as good at quelling wrinkles as it is reducing joint pain.
Have you seen the MitoPRO 300 yet? Click here to view it at Mito Red Light’s site. (opens in a new browser window).
You see, most companies sell lights with inflated irradiance values. The 100 mW/cm^2 is a figure they get from the wrong type of measurement device. The red light companies compete with one another to make their products sound bigger, badder, and better.
The problem is, red light therapy is the low energy delivery of light. But it’s so ingrained in us to look for the most powerful device, these companies are bragging about values that really don’t make sense for red light therapy.
So what Mito Red Light did was to publish the certified value in joules. (I wrote all about this if you want to get into the nuts and bolts of dosing, read How Mito Red Light Solved the Thorny Problem of Irradiance (opens in a new browser window) .
Having fluence (photons delivered in joules) is even better than having irradiance.
For wrinkle therapy, you want 25-50 joules per session. The MitoPRO 300 has a fluence (joules per centimeter squared) of 2.7 when standing at 6 inches from the device.
- To get a 25 joules dose, it’s just 25/2.7 = 9.25 minutes.
- For a 50 joules dose, it’s 50/2.7 = 18.5 minutes.
Speaking for myself, as I age, I want my eyes, joints, heart and brain to keep working. If you feel the same way, you might be interested in these articles here on Best Red Light Therapy:
- Biohack Acne: The Complete Guide to Buying a Wrinkle or Acne LED Face Mask
- Biohack Testosterone: How to Use Red Light Therapy on the Balls for Testosterone Improvements
- Biohack the Brain: 12 Ways Red Light Therapy Beats Dementia
Red and Infrared Light Therapy for Wrinkles
Wrinkles respond best to red and infrared combined. So you will set the machine to run red and infrared (marked NIR for near infrared).
We have anecdotal data that the pulsing of the light might help accelerate the results, but not enough to create a protocol around that pulsing.
Use the device on non-pulse, or experiment if you like. You will probably get good results either way. Start with non-pulsed (continuous wave) just to prove that you’re getting results. When you’ve gone out a few months, if you want to experiment, try the pulsation feature to see if that works well for you too.
For an overview of red light therapy science for wrinkle reduction, see my article 12 Times that Science Reversed Wrinkles for Good. For the nitty gritty of the science, see Is Red Light Therapy Perfect for Wrinkle Reduction?
Balance Time and Distance
Red light therapy protocols are all about the combination of time and distance. If you are very close to a device, you get more of its light, so your treatment time is shorter. If you are at a distance, the light diffuses about the room and not on you, so you need more time to accumulate a dose of light.
Find Your Device’s Irradiance
Look for the device’s irradiance, which will look like this: “mW/cm^2” on the manufacturer’s website or the product box. The irradiance is a measure of power. It answers the question, “How much light reaches my skin in a second?
For example on the Pulse Tabletop product page, it says this device outputs 110 mW/cm^2 when at a distance of 6 inches. What do we do with this information?
Calculate a Target Dose of 5 Joules Using the Device’s Irradiance
It’s easier than it looks because I built a calculator (View the calculator on my EMFChannel.com website) to give you the exact treatment time you need for that power.
“Joules” (like “jewels”) is a measure of how much light reaches your skin. We’re going to start with 5 joules. We now have everything we need to figure how long to use the device.
Go to the calculator on my website emfchannel.com. Our irradiance is “110,” so enter that 110 milliwatts in the milliwatts input box.
Our target joules is “5,” so enter 5 in the target joules field.
The calculator will give you the number of seconds to use the light at that distance (of 6 inches).
Calculate Treatment Time for Wrinkle Therapy
Step 1: what is the “milliwatts per centimeter squared” value from the manufacturer? Answer: 110
Step 2: what is the distance of the light to the target from Step 1? Answer: 6 inches
Step 3: what are the target joules (which I gave you above)? Answer, we’re starting at 5 joules.
Step 4: Go to the treatment time calculator on my site emfchannel.com (opens in a new window)
Step 5: Enter the milliwatts (110)
Step 6: Enter the target joules (5)
Step 7: Get the calculator answer (45.45 seconds)
Are you surprised? Your treatment time is 45.45 seconds while having your face at a distance of six inches from the Pulse Tabletop device.
Building Your Red Light Therapy Wrinkle Protocol
We started with a dose of 5 joules. If you see results with this dose, then you’re done. If you go a month without results, then go to a target dose of 10 joules. That’s why I showed you how to use the calculator. You’ll enter 110 in the milliwatts field, and 10 in the joules field, and you’ll get a 90-second treatment time to get 10 joules.
To figure out the dose for any red light therapy dose, take that mW/cm^2 number, assume a target joules of 5, and boom, you have your treatment time.
How Often to Use Your Red Light for Wrinkles After the Initial Dose
After your month of doing 5 joules a day, look at your results. If you see great changes, stay the course. If not, then do the 10 joules as per the instructions above.