Infrared vs Red Light Therapy

Infrared vs Red Light Therapy: Which Is Better?

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The idea of using light to treat different ailments and conditions is nothing new. Even before scientists identified the connection between light therapy and healing, people have recognized the beneficial nature of sunlight on both physical and mental health.

However, light therapy has come a long way from the sunlight and ultraviolet treatments of the 1800s.1 Today, experts have honed in on specific benefits from light’s different wavelengths—in particular, red and infrared light. 

These two kinds of light therapy may sound similar, but they work in unique ways. Curious about the infrared vs. red light therapy debate? In this guide, we’re taking a deep dive into how each treatment works so you can determine which is right for you.

What is Infrared Therapy?

Infrared therapy is a treatment that helps promote healing and reduce pain using the power of infrared light—a type of electromagnetic radiation that’s just beyond the spectrum of visible light. In other words, it’s light that’s invisible to the naked eye. 

During infrared light therapy, infrared wavelengths penetrate deep into your skin to energize your cells. It’s important to note here that infrared light can reach cells up to seven centimeters beneath your skin—much deeper than any visible light.2 As such, it can affect your nerves, muscles, bones, and more. In fact, because it’s so powerful, you can use infrared therapy to target all kinds of inflammation. 

By energizing your cells, infrared light can boost cellular activity, increasing blood flow and circulation throughout your body.2 As a result, oxygen and nutrients may flow more freely throughout your body, helping your tissue heal and regenerate at a rapid pace.  

Interestingly, even though you can’t see infrared light, you can feel the heat that it emits. However, when used appropriately, the heat won’t burn or damage your skin. 

Benefits of Infrared Therapy

Infrared therapy simultaneously targets several layers of skin, muscle, and tissue. You can use it to treat anything from skin imperfections to chronic pain. Additionally, the way it stimulates your cells can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.


Infrared light emits heat, making it a powerful tool for detoxification. Just like traditional saunas allow you to sweat out impurities, infrared light tools generate heat that raises your body’s temperature, activating your sweat glands. As your body’s core temperature rises, you can enjoy a deep sweat that promotes detoxification by excreting heavy metals.3 Try one of Lifepro’s infrared sauna blankets or portable saunas to enjoy your own at-home detox. 

Pain Relief

Inflammation is a common culprit of pain, especially when it comes to chronic conditions like arthritis. Infrared therapy emits infrared wavelengths deep into your joints, helping to reduce inflammation and encourage your cells to regenerate. As such, it may help relieve pain in your knees, elbows, hands, and even your jaw joint. 

Cardiovascular Support

Infrared therapy can boost your circulation, directly supporting your cardiovascular health. In fact, the increased heat, cell activity, and blood flow can mimic the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. 

Although infrared therapy shouldn’t replace cardio workouts, it can serve as a great low-impact supplement to an active lifestyle.

Stress Reduction

Infrared heat encourages your body to release endorphins, which, simply put, make you feel good.4 Endorphins can create a feeling of calm and relaxation, helping reduce stress and tension throughout your body.

Skin Health

While infrared rays work their magic deep in your tissue, they also work on the surface of your skin. Activating your skin cells encourages them to produce nourishing chemicals like collagen and hyaluronic acid,5 which make your skin more elastic, bouncy, and smooth. 

Because it promotes healing, infrared light can even speed up the process of healing acne and other abrasions, all while reducing the chance of scarring.

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy, uses visible red light to target cells closer to the top layer of your skin, helping rejuvenate the skin and promote healing.6 Similar to infrared light, red light can encourage the cells to become more active, producing helpful substances like collagen and elastin. When you stimulate your cells with red light, they can even boost the generation of mood-enhancing hormones like dopamine and serotonin.2

Red light wavelengths have a lower frequency than infrared wavelengths and only reach about five millimeters into the skin, so they’re ideal for cosmetic issues like cellulite, scarring, acne, and wrinkles.7 However, red light can still be a helpful tool in pain management by stimulating blood flow in the target area.

Learn more about red light therapy for joint pain and red light therapy for skin tightening in our blog.

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy may be less intense than infrared therapy, but it still produces results. In fact, by targeting the top layers of your skin and tissue with red LED lights, you can experience a range of benefits.

Skin Rejuvenation

If you’re dealing with issues like scarring, cellulite, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, or even just dull skin, you can overhaul your complexion with red light therapy.5 The boost in collagen can slow down the effects of aging on your skin, giving you a firm, bright complexion, similar to the effects of more invasive treatments like Botox. Along with reducing the appearance of existing wrinkles and imperfections, you can also keep your skin plump and smooth to prevent future issues. Learn more about red light therapy vs. Botox to learn more about the different treatment options.

Hair Growth

Increased blood flow is known to enhance hair growth, which is why tools like head massagers and rosemary oil can give you thicker, longer hair. Because red light therapy also improves blood flow, it can have the same effect. In fact, studies show that applying red light to your scalp encourages hair growth for both men and women.8

As such, red light therapy can help combat the natural hair loss and thinning that comes with age, and even stimulate hair growth for people with certain types of alopecia. Learn more about red light therapy for hair growth in our blog.

Wound Healing

Red light therapy is proven to support faster tissue formation for superficial wounds.9 By funneling oxygen to damaged cells, red light bolsters your natural immune response. This means you can use red light therapy for wound healing, helping acne wounds and other abrasions heal more quickly and with less pain. What’s more, by speeding up the healing process, you reduce the chance of developing a scar.

Pain Management

Studies show that red light therapy can alleviate muscle and joint pain.10 By reducing overall inflammation, it calms your nerves to provide you with relief. It can also help you manage acute pain, such as muscle soreness, and long-term conditions like fibromyalgia. 

Cognitive Enhancement

Along with its cosmetic and physical health benefits, red light therapy can support your mental and cognitive health. When you apply red light to your scalp or nose, it can emanate into your brain.6 Just like energizing your skin cells can heal your skin, directing red light at your brain can help heal damaged brain cells. As a result, red light therapy can help lift your mood, decrease symptoms of depression, enhance your memory, and more.11 Learn more about red light therapy for brain health in our blog.

Comparing Infrared vs. Red Light Therapy

Infrared and red light therapy can target similar issues. However, selecting the right treatment for your unique needs can help you achieve your health and cosmetic goals more efficiently. 

Suitability for Different Health Goals

Start by thinking about what you want to achieve from light-based therapy. Sometimes, there’s a clear-cut answer for which option is better. For example, if you exclusively want to target cellulite and wrinkles, red light therapy is a great option. Meanwhile, if you experience chronic joint pain, infrared therapy may be a better option. 

The Synergy of Combining Both Therapies

You may not be sure which option is best if you want to target multiple different issues. A great compromise is to look for devices that allow you to adjust wavelengths and frequencies. Many red light therapy devices can emit the full range of red light, including near-infrared wavelengths. This can allow you to access both infrared and red light therapy benefits by simply adjusting your settings. 

By switching between red light and infrared light therapy, you can intensely target the top layers of your skin while still treating deeper muscular and joint issues. These compounded benefits can help maximize your circulation, blood flow, and energy levels. 

Whether you use multiple devices or a device with both red and infrared settings, you can tap into the full benefit of light therapy by alternating red and infrared treatments. 

Incorporating Light Therapies into Your Routine

Both infrared and red light therapy are most effective when you make them a regular part of your routine. Just two or three 20-minute sessions each week can put you on the path to healing and rejuvenation. 

Consider seamlessly incorporating light therapy into your schedule by pairing it with other parts of your weekly routine—Lifepro can help. We offer a range of infrared and red light therapy devices that make it easy to master light therapy at home. 

For instance, wearable devices like red light bands and masks allow you to access red light therapy while reading a book or doing the dishes. Alternatively, you can commit extra time to your nightly skincare routine to use a handheld device on specific problem areas. You can even cozy up with an infrared sauna blanket to detoxify and relax as you wind down before bed.

Explore Lifepro's Infrared and Red Light Therapy Devices

Now that you've read up on the effects of infrared vs red light therapy, you can pick the right method for you. Whether you prefer red light or infrared light, Lifepro devices give you the tools you need to benefit from light therapy from the comfort of home. From LED light masks and infrared sauna blankets to panels and wands, you can tap into a full range of light frequencies to rejuvenate your skin, lift your mood, alleviate pain, and enhance your overall well-being. 

Shop our collection today to get started.



  1. History Physio. History of Light Therapy. 
  2. Neuropsychiatry. Transcranial Low-Level Laser Therapy for Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease.
  3. Health. What Is a Heavy Metal Detox? And Do You Need One?.
  4. Mental Health Center of America. Heat Exposure (Infrared Sauna).
  5. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Low-level red and infrared light increases expression of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in skin.
  7. Research Gate. Lasers in Medical Science.
  8. National Library of Medicine. Role of Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) in Androgenetic Alopecia.
  9. National Library of Medicine. Effects of low-power light therapy on wound healing: LASER x LED
  10. Low-intensity LASER and LED (photobiomodulation therapy) for pain control of the most common musculoskeletal conditions.
  11. Harvard Health Publishing. Light therapy: Not just for seasonal depression?


Joel Gottehrer

Joel Gottehrer is the Co-Founder of Lifepro Fitness and has dedicated his life to helping people transform theirs. With over 12 years of experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and owner of two personal training studios, Joel has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping transform lives. After suffering from physical injuries, Joel and his business partner, Abraham Brach, came together with a common goal to alleviate the pain caused by their injuries.

They continued to find themselves disappointed with the results stemming from various products promising to relieve their pain, and with that – Lifepro Fitness was born. Joel's mission is to have a positive impact on millions of lives with the Lifepro brand. Whether it's finding new and innovative ways to help people recover from injuries or developing products to improve overall wellness, Joel is always looking for ways to push the boundaries. Thanks to his commitment to help people live their lives free of pain, Lifepro has been able to do this for thousands of people since its founding in 2017.

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