Red light therapy is a non-invasive, painless treatment that harnesses the power of red light to help improve the appearance of stretch marks. It works by increasing skin elasticity and boosting collagen production, reducing the viability of stretch marks. Red light therapy also helps promote healing and skin regeneration, making it an ideal treatment for a variety of skin conditions.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks can be a common source of insecurity for many people, and they occur when the skin stretches beyond its natural elasticity. The severity of stretch marks is influenced by various factors, including genetics, the amount of stress on the skin, and the level of cortisol in the body. Produced by the adrenal glands, cortisol weakens elastic fibers in the skin and makes it more prone to developing stretch marks.
While stretch marks can affect anyone, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of developing them. These include being female, having a family or personal history of stretch marks, experiencing rapid growth during adolescence, being pregnant (especially at a young age), rapidly gaining or losing weight, using corticosteroids, undergoing breast enlargement surgery, using anabolic steroids during exercise, or having a genetic disorder like Cushing syndrome or Marfan syndrome. It's worth noting that not everyone with these risk factors will develop stretch marks, and some people may develop stretch marks without any of these risk factors.
Types of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks can vary depending on how long you've had them, what caused them, and where they are on your body. Common types of stretch marks include:
- Striae Rubrae: reddish-purple marks that appear when the skin is stretched quickly and are a result of blood vessels showing through the skin.
- Striae Albae: white or silvery marks that occur when the skin has been stretched for a longer period, and the blood vessels are no longer visible.
- Striae gravidarum: appear due to the rapid stretching of the skin as the baby grows, and they commonly appear on the abdomen, breasts, hips, and thighs. Striae Gravidarum can be reddish, pinkish, or purple in color at first and can fade to a silver or white color over time. They are considered a normal part of pregnancy.
However, there are other types of stretch marks to consider as well. Striae Nigrae are dark gray or black stretch marks that are more common in individuals with darker complexions. Striae Caerulea are dark blue/purplish stretch marks that also occur in individuals with darker complexions. Finally, Striae Atrophicans refer to the thinning of the skin associated with stretch marks, which may occur in individuals with Cushing's syndrome, after prolonged use of corticosteroids, or after a surgical procedure.
Traditional Treatments for Stretch Marks
There are many topical cream treatments available, but none can completely get rid of stretch marks. The most common treatment is the use of creams and lotions applied to the skin. However, not all of these products have been proven to be effective for treating stretch marks. Trofolastin and Alphastria creams show various results in preventing stretch marks as does using tretinoin cream to treat stretch marks.
What Is Red Light Therapy and How Does It Work?
Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation or low-level laser therapy (LLLT), is a non-invasive and increasingly popular treatment for a variety of skin conditions. This technique uses low-level wavelengths of red light to penetrate deep into the skin, stimulating and energizing cellular activity without causing any damage to the skin's surface. By promoting cell metabolism and boosting collagen production, red light therapy treatments can help improve the appearance of wrinkles, acne and acne scars, and persistent wounds, leading to healthier and more vibrant-looking skin. Unlike other types of light therapy, red light therapy is gentle and safe, making it an attractive option for those looking for a non-invasive alternative to traditional skin rejuvenation treatments. Beyond red light therapy benefits for the skin, many have also found it beneficial to use red light therapy for hair growth, joint pain, inflammation, and more.
Red Light Therapy for Stretch Marks
Does Red Light Therapy Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
One of red light therapy’s skin benefits is that it offers a promising solution for reducing the appearance of stretch marks. While no treatment can eliminate them completely, research has shown that this therapy can be effective. With consistent use, patients may experience noticeable improvements in the appearance of their stretch marks.
How Red Light Therapy Improves the Appearance of Stretch Marks
So how does red light therapy work to improve the appearance of stretch marks? A review of several studies found that striae distensae or stretch marks, initially appear as raised, swollen marks (striae rubrae), but they become white and atrophic (striae alba) after some time due to the breakdown and reorganization of collagen and elastin in the skin. This is where red light therapy steps in to help increase elasticity in the skin and create new collagen to improve the appearance of stretch marks. A study found that LED phototherapy can help rejuvenate the skin by increasing the amount of collagen and elastic fibers. The therapy also activated fibroblasts and increased the levels of certain proteins and mRNA while decreasing others. The treatment was safe with no adverse effects reported. Overall, the study concluded that using 830nm and 633 nm LED phototherapy is an effective way to rejuvenate the skin.
Does Red Light Therapy Tighten Skin?
Yes, in addition to improving the appearance of stretch marks, red light therapy has also been found to enhance skin firmness and elasticity, which can lead to tighter, more youthful-looking skin.
Red Light Therapy Treatment Process
How Long Does It Take for Red Light Therapy to Work on Stretch Marks?
The timeline for seeing improvement in stretch marks with red light therapy treatments can vary based on individual factors, such as the severity and age of the stretch marks. However, some studies suggest noticeable improvements within 8 to 12 weeks of consistent treatment.
Recommended Treatment Duration and Frequency
It is generally recommended to undergo red light therapy sessions two to three times per week, with each session lasting about 15 to 20 minutes. As reviewed in a targeted study of striae alba, most participants saw a notable improvement in stretch mark appearance by the eighth week and significant skin rejuvenation by the twelfth week. The treatment should continue for at least two to three months to see optimal results.
Choosing the Right Red Light Therapy Device
Lifepro's Red Light Therapy Devices
Lifepro offers a range of high-quality red light therapy devices designed for home use. When choosing a red light therapy device for skin rejuvenation, it's important to select one that has the right wavelengths of light. Red light therapy devices typically emit light in the range of 630 red nanometers to 830 near-infrared nanometers (nm) so make sure to choose a device that starts at or above 630 nm.
Features to Look for in a Red Light Therapy Device
When choosing a red light therapy device, consider features like light intensity, treatment surface area, and safety measures. Lifepro's red light therapy devices stand out for their adjustable light intensity, and generous treatment surface area, ensuring a safe and effective treatment.
Precautions and Safety Tips for Red Light Therapy
Potential Side Effects and Risks
As mentioned before, red light therapy is considered a safe option to treat skin conditions from acne scars and wrinkles to the appearance of stretch marks. However, some people do experience mild symptoms like skin irritation, sensitivity and redness after their treatment most of whom the symptoms will disappear relatively quickly. This can be especially true if you’re using red light therapy for eczema or have sensitive skin already. But it is important that after each treatment, you avoid direct exposure to sunlight or any UV light to avoid skin damage. If you have a history of skin cancer or an increased risk of skin cancer, consulting a medical professional before undergoing red light therapy is highly recommended.
Tips for Safe and Effective Use:
- Keep your skin clean before treatment.
- Use protective eyewear to avoid bright light exposure to your eyes.
- Follow the device instructions for distance, duration, and frequency.
Embrace the Power of Red Light Therapy with Lifepro
With Lifepro's user-friendly red light therapy devices, you can take control of your skin health at home. While red light therapy can't entirely erase stretch marks, it offers a promising way to improve their appearance and boost your skin's overall health. As with any skin treatment, remember to be patient with the process and celebrate gradual improvements.
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- Avci, P., Gupta, A., Sadasivam, M., Vecchio, D., Pam, Z., Pam, N., & Hamblin, M. R. (2013). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery, 32(1), 41.
- Lee SY, Park KH, Choi JW, et al. A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, and split-face clinical study on LED phototherapy for skin rejuvenation: clinical, profilometric, histologic, ultrastructural, and biochemical evaluations and comparison of three different treatment settings. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2007;88(1):51-67. doi:10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2007.04.008
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- MyMed. How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks: Types of Stretch Marks. https://www.mymed.com/health-wellness/interesting-health-info/how-to-get-rid-of-stretch-marks/types-of-stretch-marks. Accessed April 30, 2023.
- National Eczema Association. Phototherapy. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/phototherapy/. Accessed April 27, 2023
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