Today, science has proved that LED red light therapy has essentially the same effects as clinical red laser treatment in many applications. The at-home red light therapy device brings great convenience and desirability; however, the number of devices that emit therapeutic doses of light is growing quickly. With so many red light therapy devices on the market, it can be difficult to make the best choice to get you the best red light therapy effects at home to meet your particular needs. What kind of RLT devices can truly generate effective results? What is a clinical-grade red light therapy device? What is the difference from the result of a professional red light therapy device? You definitely need to know the answers to these questions before making a purchase decision, and this blog will be your guide.
Clinical-graded red light therapy devices
One of the most critical things to make sure of first is whether or not the devices have been reviewed by the official regulatory bodies, such as the FDA, WHO, ETL, UL, and any other agency that regulates the manufacture of medical devices for safety and efficacy.
Safety first: The FDA clearance is particularly important.
There are literally hundreds of RLT devices out there, with each of them claiming to have a versatile effect, from aesthetic application, including hair loss, to physical therapy, from skin conditions, such as acne, wrinkles, or other aging signals, to lesions deep in organs. But you need to know that the red light therapy device you are purchasing has been appropriately tested for efficacy and safety. A key step in achieving FDA clearance is what is called the 510(k) process, which is typically used Class Ⅱ devices — the type of medical devices that are well understood by agancy body and/or potentially less hazardous to patients. If a medical device is concluded by the agency that the manufacture has demonstrated the device is substantially equivalent to a legally marketed device, the device is cleared for commercialization.
As a professional skincare device, does the FDA credential really make a difference? Is there any difference between superficial treatment and deep skin treatment? Do devices with FDA credentials work any better than those that don't?
The answer is it is indeed importnat. The FDA regulates any "medical claims" made by device manufacturers. Before any medical claims can be legally made by a device manufacturer, those claims must be reviewed by the FDA for both efficacy and safety. The FDA does not test devices manually; however, they thoroughly analyze the data submitted by manufacturers based on their previous knowledge of this type of medical device to ensure that the claims being made about it are justified. By choosing FDA-cleared medical devices, you are assured that authoritative oversight has been conducted. FDA clearance means that the device you are purchasing has been confirmed to be efficacious and safe when used as directed. In order to receive FDA clearance, each component of the device must pass inspection, so you can be rid of doubts about whether you will receive the effects it claims when using it as directed.
RLT device of poor quality cannot deliver desired therapeutic effect
It is worth noting that there are many at-home red light therapy devices that cannot be credited as professional, and only the professional LED treatments can demonstrate the powerful effect of light therapy for collagen boosting and so forth. RLT is a well-studied treatment, as many studies have thoroughly reviewed all aspects or parameters related to its effect, so there is already no mystery behind it and customers can speculate on the effects of a RLT device based on the product parameters and features.
A low-quality RLT device may fail to produce the claimed effects for a variety of reasons, including:
1) non-optimal wavelength
As one important study compared the effects of different wavelengths within the huge range from around 530 nm to around 980 nm, each group of target wavelengths was well tested at different doses. It revealed that the optimum wavelength was around 630 nm, and the optimum NIR wavelength was around 830 nm. In some cases of wound healing, however, results revealed a significant difference between NIR and visible wavelengths, with visible wavelengths being more effective than NIR. But it is worth noting that it doesn't mean the accumulation of dose can compensate for non-optimal wavelengths, as the target pathway can only be triggered by certain wavelengths and the target chromophore only accepts designated wavelengths, as suggested in this study.
For example, if the target is cytochrome c oxidase, it is widely accepted that red light at 630 to 670 nm or near-infrared light at 780 to 940 nm will have positive effects, while outside of this range there is no shown effect. If the desired chromophore is ion channels within cells, the wavelengths that best affect the calcium channels are in the range of 420 to 540 nm.
2) the false claim of irradiance
The higher output power density only means it has a higher potential to deliver high levels of light energy per second. For safety reasons, the power density can degrade with distance; this is why different devices recommend staying away from the source to avoid potential damage from the high level of light energy, such as redness or photon-aging. Although in one review the most optimal dose is suggested to be within the low-level range of 1 to 5 J/cm2, in some cases of study, a higher dose was observed to have a higher potential to stimulate cell increases, as the peak was around 10 J/cm^2 and the decrease was around 50 J/cm^2, contrary to the suggested low-level dose.
However, even more studies showed that delivering the same fluence at a lower irradiance over a longer period of time was more effective due to the biphasic response, a result of the positive proliferation effect and the opposite. As this study found, as the number of photons increased beyond a particular level, the cellular stimulation disappeared, and if the number of photons was even further increased, inhibition and cellular damage occurred. The biphasic response theory comes from the fact that as the doses of light become excessive, ATP reserves within the cell begin to be depleted, compromising the positive cellular function and causing the production of excessive reactive oxygen species, which can be toxic, the release of excessive free NO, which can damage cells, and the activation of a cytotoxic mitochondrial-signaling pathway leading to apoptosis.
So except for the contraversory part of a higher level of dose, the widely accepted protocol agrees upon the range of a low-level dose, according to the review. It suggests that biostimulation will occur in the range of 0.5 to 1 J/cm^2 in an open wound and in the range of 2 to 4 J/cm^2 in a target through overlaying skin, while for superficial targets the doses tend to be around 4 J/cm^2 within the range of 1 to 10 J/cm^2, and for deeper seated targets the dose should be 10 to 50 J/cm^2, which is safety-guaranteed.
The following images list the parameters of effective treatments for targeting different tissues and cell types.
Does this imply that higher irradiation or light density output is preferable? Does it mean that a higher dose is better?
With more and more manufacturers claim to produce highest irradiation of products, and cause the competition of irradiation parameters, does it means a device with soly high level of irradiation can be medically professional?
There is no fixed value of dose or fluence that always produces a positive PBM effect, as many studies have demonstrated, because optimal doses are directly related to various factors such as wavelengths, type of treatment, irradiation or power density, depth of actual target tissue, and even more. The fact is that any manufacturer can only design the device with fixed parameters; there is no one-size-fits-all design schema. That is why many manufacturers will produce different schemas of design, such as those for target treatment or overall body treatment.
Another basic concept relevant to the successful application of PBM is the RoscoeBunsen law, which is also covered in this review. This concept states that the most important parameter in PBM is the total quantity of photons basorbed by the target cells, and it doesn't matter how fast or slow the accumulative process is. Within a certain range of parameters, roughly from 1 to 100 J/cm^2 at power densities from 1 to 100mW/cm^2, the linear reciprocity with time accumulation exists.
It does not imply that a device's irradiation is always suitable for any treatment, but a device with a higher irradiation has a greater potential to handle a variety of treatments, as long as the safety guard instructions are followed.
A red light therapy device of low density can't produce actual positive effects, while a device of too high light density may negate effects or casue danger.
The wise option for manufacturers is to choose a higher and more potential irradiance parameter for versatile treatment and a more specific safety-guarantee irradiance parameter for targeted treatment. So as long as different directed distances are maintained, a higher potential light irradiance can be adjusted to treat a variety of lesions. A professional RLT device will sensibly pay attention to their claims about parameters and give instructions for using it, so that you can truly receive effective and efficient treatment.
3) The advanced development of LED technology
Low-level laser therapy was originally discovered during a failed tumor-reduction experiment on mice, and the original LED model had no therapeutic effect because LED technology has to ensure the range of wavelengths and uniformity of the emitting source. The material of semiconductor chips and a power density controller are critical in this regard. As LED technology advanced, many of the light technologies in consumer products are now outdated and should be obsoleted, considering burdening a patient with outdated, misused technology creates a greater likelihood of non-compliance and lower quality results. There is a study that highlights the significance of power density controller technology.
Does red light therapy at home devices really work?
The science behind red light therapy is the PBM triggered by absorbed photons, as indicated in this study. Many studies that utilized LED light sources to conduct clinical trials also revealed the efficacy of LED, which is determined by the physical characteristics of the light-emitting sources instead of the form of the devices. The pioneering study from the NASA report has established the effectiveness of LED light therapy, and there should be no doubt about the availability and desirability of LED light treatment. Professional light therapy devices tend to be larger machines in a set position in a clinic, and yet the advancement of LED technology makes it possible to compact professional light therapy within a reasonable size of an at-home device.
This study provided a summary of the effective parameters of LEDs for validated treatments.
Quality at-home LED light therapy can result in smoother skin, reduced wrinkles, more moisture, a more even skin tone, and a reduced risk of side effects. Interest in recent advances in the use of LEDs has led to their clinical application for a variety of medical and cosmetic uses. Numerous studies have demonstrated significant results for the treatment of medical conditions, including mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris, wound healing, rosacea, skin rejuvenation, brain health, memory restoration, and even more. Go to the article "The Ultimate of RLT" to get exact references for each case.
As a noninvasive and nonthermal light treatment, phototherapy achieves a therapeutic outcome by the accumulative absorption of photons, not by heat. The therapeutic effect is determined by the parameters of wavelengths, and you can get references of light parameters from this article.
There are the exact data applied in the study:
Mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris: using 633 nm red light 20 minutes per session with 96 J/cm^2
Wound healing: using 633 nm red light therapy for 20 minutes per session with 96 J/cm^2; or using the combination of 633 nm and 830 nm light therapy, each for 20 minutes per session with 98J/cm^2 and 55 J/cm^2 respectively.
Psoriasis: using the combination of 633 nm and 830 nm light therapy for 20 minutes per session at 126J/cm^2 and 60J/cm^2 respectively.
Skin rejuvenation: using solely 633 nm red light or a combination of 633 nm red and 830 nm near-infrared light therapy for 20 minutes per session at a similar dose.
In a nutshell, what determines the effectiveness of red light therapy is if the at-home device can deliver the optically effective wavelength, the uniformity of light to sustain the light density and irradiation, and the potential irradiation ability to deliver an adequate dose. The current LED technology is capable to achieve, with wavelengths are dependent on the material of semiconductor chips and uniformity of irradiation is relied on the power density controller. Advantages of LEDs include no laser safety considerations, ease of home use, the ability to irradiate a large area of tissue at once, possibility of wearable devices, and much lower cost per power consumption, so LED red light therapy provides an at-home approach to enjoying a medical-grade therapeutic treatment as same as in a clinic.
One of the most important aspects of LED phototherapy devices is their safety. which is even highlighted by the skin-contact treatment in some medical cases. All Bestqool light therapy devices are FDA-registered and ETL-certified, and we only deliver products that pass safety testing and are compliant with the highest standards of electrical devices. All Bestqool products have no EMFs emitting at 3 inches distance which is validated manually by professional devices, the truly safest RLT device in the market.
Our products also use professional LED bulbs, to deliver the most effective target wavelength and potential irradiation. In the Y series of products, our products are able to achieve the irradiation as high as 105mW/cm^2 at 6 inches, and as the design model of overall treatment for versatile purposes, with such high irradiation, you can adjust the distance from sources to allow different density and dose for the variety of medical conditions. What's more, in the Y series, our products are also equipped with a digital control system and timer controller for safety concerns. Side effects of overuse may include inflammation, tissue damage, or the negation of improvements.
Our Bestqool products are designed for professional use in medical settings to ensure the efficacy and efficiency of your at-home RLT experience. With a three-year warranty we offer for all series of products, you can get rid of your worries of their quality.