Does Red Light Therapy Tan You? Let's Find Out!

Woman using a red light therapy device while wearing a green robe and protective goggles

Red light therapy is the latest skincare trend that has been buzzing among millennials. Due to its non-invasive approach, many individuals are opting for red light therapy since it offers many remarkable skin benefits. From youthful appearance to diminished fine lines and wrinkles, red light therapy works wonders in restoring that youthful glow and making your skin appear fresh and vibrant. While many individuals praise red light therapy, some individuals are concerned about whether red light therapy tans you or not. Let’s find out in detail.


What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, is a therapeutic practice that uses low-level red wavelengths, ranging from 630 nm to 660 nm, to stimulate cellular function. The red light waves are harmless, unlike other UV rays and actually initiate many cellular processes that rejuvenate skin. Red light therapy has been used for various purposes, such as eliminating aging signs, healing inflammation, and reducing pain.

Woman relaxing on a couch while using a light therapy mask

Red light therapy works by sending red wavelengths via red light therapy skincare devices into the skin, where it stimulates mitochondria to produce ATP, the energy source that stimulates cellular processes in the body. The increase in cellular energy leads to increased collagen production and blood circulation, which repairs and heals skin and makes it appear fresh.


Does Red Light Therapy Cause Tanning?

To answer the most common misconception, does red light therapy cause tanning? The answer is NO. Red light therapy doesn’t lead to tanning, as opposed to UV tanning. Tanning results are due to exposure to UV radiation, which makes melanocytes produce more melanin in the skin and leads to skin tan and darkening. Red light therapy uses low-energy red wavelengths (630 nm–650 nm) that do not tan the skin but lead to skin benefits like improved skin tone, increased collagen production and so on.

On the other hand, ultraviolet rays are on the higher end of the spectrum and lead to increased melanin production, which darkens the skin.

However, it is important to note that red light therapy may lead to a sun-kissed glow as increased collagen production removes fine lines and rejuvenates the skin, making it appear hydrated and plumper. Since blood circulation is also increased, it gives a radiant and fresh glow to the skin. Yet, this does not lead to tanning or skin darkening.

Woman wearing a light therapy mask and working on a laptop

Studies have shown that red light therapy eliminates aging signs, promotes skin healing and actually reverses the effects of UV radiation on the skin. On the other hand, excessive UV tanning increases the risk of skin diseases like skin cancer, melanoma, and fatal conditions. It is advised to use the tanning bed sparingly.


How Red Light Therapy Affects Your Skin

There are countless red light therapy skin benefits, which makes it one of the most in-demand skincare treatments. Red light therapy offers.

Removes Wrinkles

With age and excessive sun exposure, the collagen and elastin fibers in our skin break down, which helps our skin remain taut. As collagen breaks down, our skin becomes loose and saggy, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. Red light therapy helps diminish wrinkles by amplifying ATP and collagen production. It also boosts blood circulation, which makes our skin appear fresh and supple.

Relieves Pain

In addition to skincare, red light therapy alleviates pain and inflammation by boosting blood circulation and promoting healing. In this respect, red light therapy is effective for relieving muscle soreness, joint pain, and chronic pain.

Contours Body

Another amazing benefit of red light therapy is body contouring. RLT helps reduce cellulite and initiate fat loss. The red light wavelengths target fat cells, making them shrink in size. This leads to a toned and sculpted appearance. Red light therapy, in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet, leads to a fit and toned body.

While there are countless benefits of red light therapy, there are certain misconceptions too. Some people believe that red light therapy burns skin due to its intensive heat. Well, that’s not the case, as the red light is not heat but low-level red wavelengths that emit a red glow and actually dissipate heat. Red light therapy is a safe and painless procedure with little to no side effects.



Red light therapy is a safe and non-invasive approach to treating aging signs and promoting healthy and radiant skin. It does not lead to tanning, as opposed to UV tanning, as red light therapy uses low-energy wavelengths that only promote cellular processes. Both these processes are distinct and serve different purposes.


FAQ About Red Light Therapy and Skin Tanning

Q: Can red light therapy cause tanning like UV light?

A: No, red light therapy cannot cause tanning like UV light. Red light therapy uses low-level wavelengths that do not affect melanin production, which is responsible for tanning. UV light, on the other hand, stimulates melanin production, leading to a tan.

Q: How does red light therapy differ from tanning beds?

A: Red light therapy and tanning beds serve entirely different purposes. Red light therapy aims to improve skin health by reducing inflammation, promoting collagen production, and healing damaged skin. Tanning beds use UV light to darken the skin by increasing melanin production, which can lead to skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Q: Is red light therapy safe for all skin types?

A: Yes, red light therapy is generally safe for all skin types. It is a non-invasive treatment with minimal side effects. However, it's always best to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment, especially if you have specific skin conditions or concerns.

Q: Can I use red light therapy at home?

A: Yes, there are many at-home red light therapy devices available. These devices are designed for safe and effective use in the comfort of your own home. However, it's important to choose a reputable product and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Q: Is red light therapy covered by insurance?

A: Coverage for red light therapy can vary based on the insurance provider and the specific medical condition being treated. It is best to check with your insurance company to determine if red light therapy is covered under your plan.

Reading next

Close-up of a closed eye with mascara on eyelashes
Close-up of a closed eye with mascara on eyelashes

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.