Red light therapy is emerging as a safe, natural, non-invasive, and highly effective way to treat cellulite. But there are many that will ask themselves "Does red light therapy work on cellulite?" Red light therapy utilizes light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs to safely bathe the body in red and near-infrared (NIR) light waves.
Red light therapy beneficially alters cellular function to promote health, skin rejuvenation, and significant fat loss. Learn more about the amazing fat-burning effects of red light therapy at our other blog about red light and weight loss.
Here’s how red light therapy works on cellulite:
Increased cellular metabolism and energy: As light photons are absorbed by the mitochondria (energy centers of cells), energy production in the cells is stimulated. This leads to cells that are healthier and more resilient.
Increased collagen production: Red light stimulates fibroblast production (fibroblasts are the precursors to collagen), which will help thicken skin as well as the underlying connective tissue, and restore elasticity. Once skin becomes more elastic and thicker, subcutaneous fat is more contained and less likely to push outward.
Increased elastin production: Elastin is a structural protein that gives skin and connective tissues their elasticity. Once damaged, it often does not regenerate, which is why photoaged or sun-damaged skin becomes loose and saggy. Red light therapy activates growth of fibroblasts, which leads to abundant elastic and collagen fibers.
Fat leakage: Red light causes fat cells to “spring a leak” by forming small openings in the cell walls, which releases fatty acids known as lipids. One study by Boston researchers found that 80% of lipids were released from fat cells after just four minutes of exposure to red light. Within six minutes, nearly all the fat had been released.
One clinical trial on the effects of red light therapy on cellulite involved 20 female participants aged 25 to 55. The women were split into two groups: one that engaged in high-intensity treadmill training along with 850nm NIR light therapy, and a treadmill-only control group. The treadmill-plus-red light therapy group achieved a significant reduction of cellulite, whereas the treadmill-only group did not.
In another study that involved nine female participants, red and NIR light therapy was used along with an anti-cellulite gel to treat cellulite in the thighs and buttocks. After 24 15-minute red light therapy treatments, Those who were treated with the gel/red light therapy combination showed significant reduction in cellulite.
It’s important to note, however, that at the 18-month evaluation (15 months after treatment) five participants reverted to their pre-treatment cellulite levels. This means that maintenance treatments are needed for ongoing cellulite reduction and to maintain results.