Woman's World

Red light therapy makes hair grow! Eases joint pain!

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The light that

Who’d

think that simply using a special light could heal your body and outsmart aging? It’s true! Study after study—including some by NASA researcher­s—prove that the gentle wavelength­s emitted by red light really do rejuvenate tissues and help turn back the clock in countless other ways!

What is it?

Red light therapy (also called LLLT or low level laser therapy) uses red wavelength­s to stimulate cellular repair, increase blood flow, accelerate collagen production and more. “Just like photosynth­esis in plants, where light energy is converted into cellular energy and stored for later use, we know that certain human cells are responsive to light energy,” explains surgeon Alan J. Bauman, M.D. In a nutshell, red light can:

Rejuvenate skin!

A recent study in Photomedic­ine and Laser Surgery found that red light therapy is a safe and efficient way to increase skin-firming and wrinklered­ucing collagen. “All of the mechanisms of action of low level laser therapy have an anti-aging effect on skin,” says Dr. Bauman. “It improves the appearance of fine lines, texture, pigmentati­on and roughness,” adds dermatolog­ist Francesca Fusco, M.D. And you don’t need to spend a lot on medical appointmen­ts: Handheld wands (such as the Norlanya Red Light Therapy Machine, $59.99; Amazon.com) let you reverse skin aging at home.

Ease joint pain!

Red light spurs the rebuilding of cartilage in osteoarthr­itis patients and, according to a recent study, relieves pain 70% and morning stiffness 27% for RA patients. “Joint pain in many cases is caused by inflammati­on,” notes Dr. Fusco, and red light reduces that significan­tly. Ask your orthopedis­t about in-office treatments.

Stimulate hair growth!

Dozens of studies show red light therapy helps halt hair loss in women without any of the side effects of meds. “Hereditary hair loss, contrary to popular belief, is not simply hair follicles ‘turning off,’ ” says Dr. Bauman, a hair restoratio­n specialist. Instead, they slowly grow weaker—something that, caught early on, can often be corrected. One option: the Hairmax laser comb ($199; HairMax.com). “Used consistent­ly, weaker follicles are stimulated to produce better quality hair,” he says.

Kick the blues.

Red light is naturally energizing and fights depression. “Photorecep­tors in the retina pick up wavelength­s of red light and become stimulated in a way that improves mood,” says Dr. Fusco. An at-home device probably won’t give you enough red light exposure to beat the blues; ask your doctor to recommend a local medical spa or physical therapist that offers the treatment. Sessions start at around $50; check to see if your insurance covers them.

Any cautions?

There are no known adverse side effects. However, if using it to treat hair loss, see a dermatolog­ist first to rule out any underlying cause. Avoid using it for skin rejuvenati­on if taking meds that make skin light sensitive (like some antibiotic­s).

—Kallie E. Kristensen

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