Red light therapy is well-studied for things like wound healing, inflammation, collagen production, and various related skin conditions including rosacea. Acne rosacea is a common inflammatory skin condition affecting mainly the central face. Its typical manifestations are generalized erythema, telangiectasia, edema, papules, pustules, or a combination of all. In 2004, the National Rosacea Society (NRS) Expert Committee published a report on the classification and staging of rosacea that gives a definition of rosacea. Four subtypes of rosacea can be recognized on the basis of different morphological characteristics. It’s usually benign, but it can be quite frustrating for those who suffer from it. This blog will explore the available research on red light therapy for rosacea and make a decision about whether or not red light therapy is effective for the treatment of this skin condition.
What is rosacea? Symptoms and causes
Rosacea often starts with a tendency to flush and blush frequently. In time, persistent areas of redness appear on the cheeks and nose. The chin, forehead, and neck can also be affected. Tiny blood vessels may be visible. There may be inflamed, red bumps and pimples (papules and pustules) on the cheeks, chin, or forehead. The skin is often very sensitive and may feel dry, rough, or swollen.
Causes of rosacea:
The exact pathology of rosacea is still unknown, but there are various reasons to trigger the breakout, such as an overactive immune system, heredity, environmental factors, or a combination of these. Second flare-ups might be triggered by hot drinks and spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, temperature extremes, the sun, emotions, exercise, drugs that dilate blood vessels, and cosmetic products.
The four subtypes of rosacea are recognized on the basis of different morphological features: erythematotelangiectatic, papulopustular, phymatous, and ocular. The erythematotelangiectatic subtype is the most common one, followed by papulopustular, phymatous, and ocular types, which are reported as less common. Clinical data showed that patients often harbor more than one rosacea subtype.
Clinical studies on the efficacy of red light therapy for rosacea
Red light therapy is a type of phototherapy that uses red LED lights to treat rosacea. Clinical studies have shown that this treatment is effective in reducing the symptoms of rosacea, and previous research has also reported the efficacy of red and blue lights for rosacea. Blue light (400–470 nm), due to its lower penetration, is useful in such skin conditions related to the epidermis layer of the skin, and thus it is able to interfere with human sebocytes proliferation, while red light (630 nm) is reported to have a significant effect on sebum production. Moreover, one study on rosacea-like mouse skin reported the efficacy of LED at 630 and 940 nm on the down-regulation of key inflammatory mediators in rosacea.
LED red light therapy interacts with the immune system
There is reported evidence of the efficacy of LED therapy in its interaction with the skin microbiome, and this could also have a significant impact on the etiopathogenesis of rosacea through immune response modulation. The microbial unbalance of the skin microbiota has been linked to rosacea clinical manifestations, even though the direct correlation is still under investigation. Authors reported the role of intestinal dysbiosis in promoting inflammation and impairment of normal lymphocyte function, potentially perpetuating chronic, low-grade inflammation. A higher incidence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth was observed when patients with rosacea were compared to controls.
LED red light therapy interacts with sebum secretion
In comparison with blue light, the red light wavelengths penetrate more deeply into tissue, and it has been shown that red light can affect the sebum secretion of sebaceous glands and keratinocyte behaviors, as concluded in this study. The true function of these glands has yet to be investigated, but there are some proposed theories, including those regarding antioxidant effects, antibacterial effects, and the transport of pheromones. It is not unusual for the skin of a patient with rosacea to have increased or enlarged oil glands, which are called sebaceous hyperplasia. This glandular enlargement and oily skin seem to develop and progress unless the rosacea is treated.
LED red light therapy for inflammation
Red light also has anti-inflammatory properties through its influence on cytokine production by macrophages, as demonstrated in this experiment. Therapeutic approaches to rosacea focused on symptom suppression by means of anti-inflammatory agents such as doxycycline. Red light therapy can address inflammatory diseases as an alternative to conventional treatments. As one treatment that hits the core of rosacea symptoms, red light therapy dramatically helps reduce the appearance of facial redness, flushing, and telangiectasia.
Clinical cases for rosacea
There are some important references that verified the effectiveness of red light therapy for rosacea. In this study, there are two cases of clinical trials that used red light therapy to treat rosacea.
Case 1: A 22-year-old Caucasian woman with a 5-year history of pink eruptions on her nose. She was diagnosed as having papulopustular rosacea subtype, moderate grade. A combined and sequential plan of blue (480 nm ± 15 nm, 300 J/minute) and red
(650 ± 15 nm, 100 J/minute) LED therapy regimen was planned for 15 minutes per trial, twice a week for a total of ten sessions through a quasi-monochromatic 120 LED system. The improvement result is shown in the following picture.
Case 2: A 68-year-old Caucasian man presented with a 7-year history of papulopustular rosacea, moderate grade, was submitted to LED therapy twice a week for a total of ten sessions, through a LED system of blue (480 nm ± 15 nm, 300 J/minute) and red (650 ± 15 nm, 300 J/minute) with sequential irradiation for 15 minutes.
Lastly, in this study patients subjective to the photodynamic therapy of red light therapy alone observed that clinical inflammatory lesions disappeared completely in all patients after 24 weeks. The lesions were irradiated with 100 mW/cm2, 80-90 J/cm2, LED red light (635 ± 15 nm) over 15 min in each session with four sessions at 10-day intervals.
Why choose Bestqool red light therapy devices?
Red light therapy is a treatment that uses red and near-infrared light to treat various skin conditions. Research has shown that using red light therapy can reduce the appearance of rosacea symptoms in some people. There are different types of devices available, so it’s important to choose the one that is right for you.
Choose a true medical-grade light therapy device
Bestqool red light therapy devices are FDA-registered to ensure medical-grade treatment. A medical-grade red light therapy device should be qualified from the following points: 1) The highest safety standards in the medical field, 2) The medical effectiveness of irradiance and wavelengths output, and 3) Efficacy and efficiency for treatments. Bestqool products are able to provide the most effective narrow band of red (at 660 nm) and near-infrared (at 830 nm) wavelengths, with a high level of irradiance by our advanced LED technology. A high level of irradiance as high as 100 mW/cm^2 as the direct output determines the efficacy and efficiency of light therapy treatment. Using 10 minutes of Bestqool products is equal to using 20 minutes of others.
Blue light therapy for rosacea
Numerous studies use a combinational light to treat rosacea, which shows a better result than using red light therapy alone. Blue light therapy also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can enhance the effect of red light therapy. Bestqool also provides light therapy masks with a combination of red, near-infrared, and blue lights for patients with facial rosacea symptoms. Consult with your physician before making the optimal choice for you.
Hamza Fazal is a reporter for The Hear UP. After graduating from the University of Abbottabad, Hamza got an internship at the NPR and worked as a reporter and producer. Hamza has also worked as a reporter for the Medium. Hamza covers health and science for The Hear UP.
How To Improve Your Dental Health In Your 50s
As you get older, your mouth ages and gets drier, increasing the chances of developing some of the most common dental health diseases. This is why many dentists recommend you take great care of your oral health in your younger years to keep them in optimal condition.
If you’re in your 50s, you’ll need to pay more attention to your mouth. This is because you’re at a higher risk of developing several dental health issues at this age. Most people in their 50s face tooth decay, loss, and darkening. Gum disease, bad breath, and dental-related illnesses like oral cancer are common for people aged 50 and over.
That said, there are several ways to improve your dental health in your 50s. Here are some tips:
- Consider Implants Or Dentures
It’s common to have one or more missing teeth at 50. If you don’t get implants or dentures, you may find the surrounding teeth naturally shifting to fill the left gap. Your jawbone might become weaker or degrade, making healthy teeth loose, and you may look older than you are.
If you have missing teeth, consult your dentist to prevent the above issues. They’ll explain the differences in dentures and implants and identify what suits you.
- Brush Daily
Daily brushing can improve your dental health. If you’ve done this for most of your life, don’t stop doing it as you age. It’ll help you prevent plaque and bacteria buildup, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
However, in your 50s, your gums and teeth have undergone significant wear and tear. It’ll be best to be gentler. Consider switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush, and don’t apply too much pressure when cleaning your teeth. This will prevent further wear and tear.
If you experience joint pain or have arthritis, normal brushing may be challenging. Thus, buy an electric toothbrush. It’ll make things much easier and even help you clean the difficult-to-reach areas, protecting your oral health better.
Since you’re at a higher risk of oral health issues, brushing your teeth after every meal is best. This is contrary to brushing twice a day as you were used to, but it enhances your oral health better at age 50 and above.
- Keep Flossing
Brushing may not eliminate all food particles or plaque from your teeth and gumline. This is because your toothbrush can’t sufficiently reach deep between your teeth to remove all unwanted substances. Flossing can help you eliminate food debris and plaque more sufficiently, lowering the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
When flossing, you need to make some adjustments. You should apply minimum pressure to prevent excessive wear and tear of your gums. Since bacteria and plaque are likely to accumulate much quicker at this age, you’ll need to floss more frequently. So rather than doing it twice a day like you were used to, consider flossing after every meal. It may help first to floss and then brush. This way, you’ll loosen all food particles and plaque, then get rid of them with brushing rather than leaving them in the mouth.
If you have arthritis, experience joint pain, or find it challenging to perform simple tasks, a hand-held flosser is better. It’ll make things easier and allow you to apply minimum pressure on your gums. Your dentist can also recommend other suitable options.
- Go For Regular Check-ups
Regular dental check-ups are also essential in enhancing oral health at age 50 and beyond. This way, your dentist will identify and treat any potential problems early. They’ll thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, promoting good health. They may also recommend cosmetic procedures that could benefit you, like teeth whitening and dental bonding.
- Drink More Water
Your teeth normally go through demineralization—losing minerals—every day because of what you eat and drink. Saliva contains phosphate and calcium, which helps with remineralization—natural teeth repair process that replaces lost minerals to keep teeth strong and prevent tooth decay. Saliva also covers your teeth, protecting them against bacteria that may lead to cavities and gum disease.
At 50, you may struggle with dry mouth. This can result from hormonal changes or some medications you may be taking. Therefore, take lots of water to stimulate saliva production and eliminate food particles from your teeth and gums. Chewing sugar-free gum can also offer the same benefits.
At age 50 and beyond, you’ll be at a higher risk of developing dental issues like bad breath, gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, and discoloration. Dental health-related illnesses like oral cancer are also common at this stage. In this article, you’ve learned that taking care of your teeth and gums can significantly improve your dental health at age 50 and beyond. So, get dentures or implants in case of missing teeth, and ensure daily brushing and flossing. Drinking lots of water and going for regular oral check-ups can also help. These steps will help you maintain optimal oral health at age 50 and as you get older.
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]