Are All Red Light Therapy the Same?

With the increased popularity of red light therapy, many ambiguities bother people regarding this trend. Although people refer to red light therapy as one thing, there are different types based on the wavelength of the particular light bulbs. Therefore, the longer the wavelength, the deeper it penetrates the skin.

So, are all red light therapy the same? If you want to ensure that you are using the right photobiomodulation therapy device, keep reading this ultimate guide. We will explain everything you need to know regarding which red light therapy is the most efficient and provides the best benefits.

Let’s start!

Are All Red Light Therapy the Same?

Are All Red Light Therapy the Same?

In the past decade, red light therapy has been seen as a groundbreaking discovery and innovation with multiple benefits, the most significant being its potential anti-aging effect on the skin.

However, as its fame rose among thousands upon thousands of people, many companies started producing different types of red light therapy light bulbs and devices that target the specific health concerns of the people.

Although more variety means better options and results, people become confused about whether all these devices work the same and, most importantly, whether all red light therapy is the same. 

So, the short answer is no. Depending on the type of red light therapy bulbs, there are a few bulbs with different wavelengths, some of which are not even suitable for light therapy. These bulbs have been designed using different technologies, which makes them fundamentally different from each other.

The difference

The main thing behind the different light bulbs is that you do not want to look for a bulb with a bigger wattage, but you want more light that is “pushed” with greater power.

The reason behind this is that when light enters the skin, it needs a direct path to the skin. More importantly, it needs enough energy to help “push” this light into the skin’s layers as much as possible.

So, with this information on hand, it is clear that not every type of lightbulb is the same and efficient when it comes to red light therapy, so people must choose carefully the type of product they will use.

Lastly, if you are interested in reading the specifics of the different types of red light therapy and finding out how to choose the best wavelength bulb that would have the most effect on your concern, be sure to keep reading as, in continuation, we uncover all that and much more!

Types of Red Light Therapy Bulbs

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What you need to know

As certain companies only want to make a profit, regardless of the consequences, they started offering various types of lights claiming they were the best for red light therapy. Even worse, these claims are usually made without scientific proof, research, experiment, or evidence.

The first and more important thing you need to know is that shining a bulb that emits NIR or/and red light on the skin is simply not enough. Many factors influence the efficiency of the light, such as whether the light is too diffused or even if the light source is too weak. 

As the main goal is for the skin to absorb enough light protons, you need to make sure that you use the right wavelength of light with enough energy behind it to more easily and deeply penetrate through the skin and reach even the deepest layers and tissues.

More clearly, the red light wavelengths, from 630 nm to 660 nm, can absorb about 3 mm (0.11 inch) into the skin. On the other hand, the NIR light wavelengths, from 810 nm to 850 nm, can absorb about 10 mm (0.39 inch) into the skin, reaching the underlying soft tissue, the connective tissue, and the bone. 

Read More: Will Any Red Light Work for Red Light Therapy?

Types of Red Light Therapy Bulbs

You have unfortunately been misinformed if you have also read the false marketing that all red light therapy bulbs are the same.

There is a great difference between fluorescent, halogen, incandescent, and light-emitting diodes (LED), so that’s why we are here to put an end to that false information once and for all.

Halogen and incandescent technologies

With these types of lights, only 10% turn to light in the incandescent, and only 20% in the halogen converts to light. The rest of the energy is lost as heat, which is enough of the reason never to use this type of light for red light therapy.

As neither of these lights can deliver specific NIR or/and red wavelengths, they are useless and can cause more damage than good.

Fluorescent technology

Although this technology is cheap and does not generate UV radiation or heat as the previous lights, it is still inefficient and has many downsides, especially in RLT.

LED technology

With a tight wavelength span, long-lasting compact bulb, and very little heat, LED has the most significant advantages compared to other light technologies. Additionally, LED devices have directional light and can generate a wide spectrum of visible wavelengths without filters.

Which Technology Is the Most Efficient for Red Light Therapy?

After briefly looking at all three types of light technologies, LED is the clear winner. As this method of producing red light is the most efficient, you may see the most benefits and have no side effects if you use it correctly.

The main thing you need to look for is the highest possible light energy output per irradiance, displayed as mW/cm². We are sure you may see the results from the red light therapy in no time.


So, are all red light therapy the same? In this article, we paid special attention to each type of red light therapy separately to help you with this question.

This way, the next time you want to do red light therapy, you will be equipped with the appropriate knowledge and be able to choose the most efficient red light therapy tool that would give you the most efficient results.

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