When it comes to improving skin health, reducing visible signs of aging and enhancing skin tone and texture, a myriad of trends have come and gone.
Some of these movements have been backed by science. Others were simply fads that faded away as new devices, topical products, and treatment methods were developed, promising a more youthful and even-toned complexion.
Red light therapy is another such trend that is seeing a consistent rise in popularity today.
But is it worth the attention it’s receiving, and does it actually work? Moreover, what are the statistics of RLT’s global growth?
Read on as we delve deeper into the statistics and trends around red light therapy.
Red Light Therapy Stats In A Nutshell
- In 2021 the global light therapy market was worth $521.1 million
- By 2031 the light therapy market is expected to be worth $802.7 million
- Red light therapy is predominantly used to treat skin conditions
- North America is currently the biggest consumer of light therapy
- Europe currently has a higher demand for blue light therapies
- Patients using self-administered light therapy devices saw a 70% reduction in inflammatory acne
Understanding Red Light Therapy
Before you can understand why red light therapy is growing so rapidly in popularity, it’s important to know what this treatment entails and how it works.
Red light therapy, or RLT, is a therapeutic technique that uses wavelengths of low-level red light to treat a variety of cosmetic issues, ranging from wrinkles and fine lines to scarring and stretch marks. It’s also being used to treat slow-healing wounds, eczema, alopecia, and a range of other conditions.
RLT goes by many different names, including low level light therapy (LLLT), photobiomodulation (PBM), soft laser therapy, biostimulation, photonic stimulation, and low-power laser therapy (LPLT). This therapy is used both in cosmetic settings to treat skin issues, and in medical offices to treat more persistent conditions like psoriasis and even reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
There is plenty of research to suggest that red light therapy is more than a passing trend, too. A study posted in the journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery noted that RLT is a safe, non-thermal, and non-invasive skin tissue treatment with high rates of efficacy and patient satisfaction, particularly for anti-aging and collagen-boosting applications. Another paper found it to be an effective treatment to induce wound healing in non-healing lesions and injuries, including diabetic wounds.
A complete review published in Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery has also suggested a broad range of applications for RLT, including as a skin rejuvenation treatment to treat wrinkles, dyspigmentation, telangiectasia, and loss of elasticity; as a therapy for acne; as a treatment to reduce the recurrence of cold sores; as a therapy to reduce the appearance of keloids and hypertrophic scars; and as a treatment for burns and psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition.
Part of the reason behind this therapy’s widespread appeal is its high levels of safety and minimal risk. RLT poses extremely low chances of adverse reactions, and is quick, simple, non-invasive, and pain-free, while still being effective for a range of conditions. RLT also does not pose any recovery times, special pre-use preparatory requirements, or immediate or long-term side effects.
Growth of the Red Light Therapy Market
According to market statistics from Allied Market Research, the global light therapy market reached a value of $521.1 million in 2021. It’s expected to reach a value of $802.7 million by the year 2031, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 4.4% between 2022 and 2031.
This market covers a variety of light therapies, including red light therapy, and a range of devices that are used to deliver light therapy to patients on a global scale. The statistics show that all areas of the greater market, including the sale of light boxes, floor and desk lamps, and hand-held devices for skin treatment, are expected to grow considerably between 2022 and 2031.
Although the blue light device market segment dominated the industry’s sales in 2021, red light therapy tools are expected to become increasingly lucrative during this forecast period. They show a definite upward trend projected in sales and demand.
As for how red light therapy tools are used, the data shows that use for skin conditions dominated the market in 2021, and will likely continue to do so for the next decade. Allied Market Research notes that North America was the largest contributor to the global light therapy market in 2021, due primarily to an increase in seasonal depressive conditions and skin disorders. Europe provided the second-largest contributions in 2021, although blue light therapies were in higher demand in this region.
Future Applications of Red Light Therapy
The statistics above suggest that red light therapy tools will see rising demand over the next few years, and will continue to be used primarily by those seeking treatments for skin conditions. Research on LLLT and skin conditions has found plenty of promise in this treatment for addressing a plethora of skin concerns and improving blood flow, collagen production, and skin rejuvenation.
One study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology Online found that blue and red-based light therapies have notable effects on mild to moderate inflammatory acne lesions. Another study found that patients who self-administered light therapy treatments with a handheld device over a month experienced a 70% reduction in inflammatory acne by 8 weeks after their final treatment.
A research paper published in AIMS Biophys found that photobiomodulation (red light therapy) can effectively promote healing, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation – the latter which is a key driver behind chronic inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. The results suggest that the therapy can effectively reduce inflammation in a variety of bodily systems, thereby helping to improve cellular turnover and reduce the discomfort associated with these conditions.
Red light therapy even has the potential to treat stubborn stretch marks. A study in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery found that RLT is a safe, highly effective way to reduce the appearance of these marks by promoting collagen synthesis and assisting in the healing of immature striae.
With so many proven uses for red light therapy in cosmetic and practical dermatology, it’s unsurprising that the demand for RLT devices is expected to continue growing at a steady rate. Based on the stats and studies, in the next decade, these types of treatments look set to become increasingly commonplace.