It is well documented that Red and infrared light has a large effect on the energy generation every cell in your body but it often has the greatest effect on your skin.
The skin is the largest organ in your body and as fully encompasses your body it is the easiest place for you to treat using light therapy. As the surface of the body is surrounded by skin, it is the most readily accessible place for light therapy, and this is great news for balancing collagen production and reducing wrinkles.
Before we look at exactly why Red light therapy can help prevent and treat wrinkles it is important to understand how we get wrinkles and what factors affect the formation of them.
Why do we develop wrinkles?
Wrinkles and loose, sagging skin is an unavoidable aspect of aging. There are numerous factors that contribute to wrinkles. These factors range from your normal body processes to external factors such as lifestyle choices and diet.
Natural Body processes
Your skin is made up of a few distinct parts which all contribute to the health and look of your skin. Each change as you get older contributing to a more aged appearance.
The outer layer of your skin is called the epidermis. This is your bodies natural barrier to protect your skin from the world.
The epidermis is much like a snakeskin in that it sheds itself on average every 60 days. When your body replaces the epidermis the old skin cells flake off leaving fresh skin cells below.
As you get older, the body takes longer to replace these dead skin cells and this leaves your skin looking older and more hagged.
The dermis is the layer below the epidermis and contains collagen and elastic type fibers that combine to keep the skin taut, plump and free from wrinkles.
As you get older your body naturally loses both the collagen and the elastic fibers. You also lose the thin layer of fat that sits beneath your skin. The less elastic your skin become the more your skin wrinkles and ages.
In simple terms, collagen provides your skin with its strength and stretchiness. Your body produces this naturally but the amount it produces decreases as you get older. That is why babies have such tight and soft skin and older people appear with wrinkles. Once you hit the age of around 40, the amount of collagen your body produces decreases drastically.
Fibroblasts are what makes the collagen in your skin. They also pull against the collagen which helps to stretch your skin out and keep it taught and prevent your skin from effectively deflating. As you get older the speed with which fibroblasts create collagen decreases. Also, the connection between the fibroblasts and collagen start to break down, reducing their ability to stretch the skin.
External Factors leading to wrinkles
As well as your bodies natural processes, there are external factors that increase the speed fo your bodies natural aging process.
UV Light exposure
UVA light exposure has been shown to produce wrinkles. UVA light has a long wavelength that sinks deep into the skin. These rays break down the collagen within our skin and as explained above a degradation in collagen leads to wrinkles. To prevent this it is crucial that you wear sunscreen when exposing yourself to the sun.
Cold weather causes the blood vessels in our skin to narrow. Our bodies do this to prevent heat loss. Less blood to our skin means that our skin receives less moisture and this will lead to an increase in wrinkles over a long period of time.
There are a couple of different ways in which your choice of diet can affect the production of wrinkles.
Eat Anti-oxidants to banish Free radicals.
Free Radicals are rogue oxygen molecules that get into your cells. This occurs because every time you breathe in oxygen a tiny amount of it manages to get inside your cells and attack your DNA. This damage adds up over time, especially that received by the fibroblasts. Scientists say that consuming anti-oxidants helps to neutralize this effect as they attack the free radicals, preventing them from damaging your body.
Saturated and unsaturated fats
Diets that are high in polyunsaturated fats greatly increase the speed that wrinkles form. On the opposite side, saturated fats protect against this. The UVA rays mentioned earlier, combined with unsaturated fats kick start the aging process.
So how does red light therapy improve your skin?
So now that we know what wrinkles are and what causes them, how can red light help to reduce and prevent wrinkles?
Studies have shown that red light when applied to wounds and cuts, increases the speed of healing and greatly reduces the likelihood of developing a scar.
Scars are essentially created in the exact same way as wrinkles. They occur when the metabolic production of collagen is not optimum.
Red light prevents this by:
- Flooding the skin cells with ATP (energy), leading to an increase in cell production, better cell survival & regeneration and increase in tissue repair.
- Photodissociating nitric oxide from mitochondria which improves blood flow to the area exposed to the light and helps provide the required materials for repair.
- Reducing inflammation in the region it is used. Inflammation is a critical inhibitor of healthy repair.
Raising energy metabolism by using red light has been demonstrated to help with a variety of skin problems, like the hardening of our skin that occurs with aging and leads to wrinkles.
By utilizing red light therapy in your beauty regime you can help counteract your bodies natural aging processes and help to keep your skin looking as youthful as possible