Our skin is a visible reminder of what we’ve been through in our lives. Trauma, injury, pregnancy, disease… even what we’ve eaten and where we’ve lived – it all shows up on the body in the form of lines, scarring, lumps, bumps, sunspots, and, yes, stretch marks.
While true beauty comes from within, there’s no denying that imperfections on your skin can get you down. In some cases, it can really knock our confidence, causing anxiety, depression, and stress.
If you’re looking for a gentle, natural solution for stretched skin, infrared light therapy (also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), can help. This non-invasive treatment penetrates the skin to rejuvenate dermal cells, leading to silky smooth skin that glows from the inside out.
Sound intriguing? Continue reading to learn how infrared light can erase marks and imperfections for healthier, happier skin.
What are stretch marks?
Simply put, stretch marks are a type of scar caused when the skin expands too rapidly, stretching the proteins that make up our dermis and causing the skin cells to rupture and tear. The body activates its healing mechanism to close up the tear, but it’s working in a hurry – more concerned with mending the injury to keep out infection than how it looks.
The result is a shiny, silvery area of scar tissue that may fade over time but is very unlikely to disappear completely.
Stretch marks can be red or white. They may become irritated, sore, and/or itchy. While stretch marks generally occur on the denser parts of the body, such as the belly, thighs, and butt, they can happen anywhere.
Stretch marks are commonly associated with pregnancy but, the truth is, they can appear for all sorts of reasons – growth spurts, muscle gain, etc. Another common cause is weight loss or weight gain. Sometimes our waistline changes so fast our skin can’t keep up.
Piling on the pounds in a short span of time can also stretch the stomach, giving those tell-tale tiger stripes, just as dropping weight rapidly (via dieting or weight loss surgery) can leave us with loose skin that struggles to tighten up.
How are stretch marks treated?
Remedies for stretch marks vary, and results are notoriously inconsistent. You might try any of the millions of cosmetics products on the market for scars – body scrubs that promise to eliminate stretch marks within weeks, supplements claiming to reduce scarring, special teas, and tinctures. And despite the plethora of available options, by the end of their treatment, most people find they’ve merely shrunk their wallets more than their stretch marks!
You may even have come across a diet that claims to banish stretch marks for good or a new workout routine to target those stretch mark-prone problem areas. Don’t be fooled – while healthy lifestyle changes do have the power to transform your overall health, the chances of them eradicating your scars forever is slim to none.
Ok, so what about medicinal creams? The most popular of these is retinoid cream for stretch marks. These ointments stimulate collagen in the skin cells but are only effective if used at the earliest stages and, even then, results can vary.
Some sufferers turn to cosmetic surgery, but this isn’t for everyone. Every surgery comes with risks; procedures can be expensive and require a lot of preparation and recovery time.
Thankfully, there’s a safer, non-invasive, less expensive treatment available – red light therapy.
Who would have thought that simply sitting under a special red light-emitting device could reduce the appearance of stretch marks and encourage natural healing deep within the skin layers? In fact, in one study, infrared light treatment outperformed topical oils and creams – giving better, longer-lasting results when used to reduce stretch marks.
How does red light therapy help stretch marks?
Exposure to infrared light works on stretch marks in many different ways to ensure your skin gets an all-natural, healthy boost that leaves it feeling (and looking!) better than ever.
Red light operates on a lower wavelength than white or blue light, which means it can penetrate further into the skin without damaging it. Our cells respond well to this kind of light, taking in the energy to repair and restore any wear and tear– particularly to the skin.
So how exactly does red light therapy work for stretch marks?
1. Red light therapy repairs damaged tissues
Red light activates stem cells – the building blocks of our body that can repair and heal damage. Exposing our cells to LLLT can actually encourage tissue regeneration, helping with wound healing, acne, and scarring.
2. Red light therapy improves skin tone and texture
There’s a reason red light therapy is a popular anti-aging treatment. It’s clinically proven to reduce lines, wrinkles, and all those spots, rough areas, and pigmentation patches that occur as we get older.
Given its established use as a natural cosmetic treatment, it’s no surprise that infrared light is showing tremendous promise as a way to smooth out scars like stretch marks, reducing that bumpy, uneven surface and making them less visible.
3. Red light therapy increases collagen production
Research shows that LLLT encourages our skin cells to release collagen – one of the most important proteins for skin health. Collagen is responsible for our connective tissue, helping keep our skin supple, flexible, and looking healthy.
4. Red light therapy restores skin’s thickness
Exposure to red light doesn’t just repair our skin; it makes it thicker and firmer. How? By increasing its elasticity and restoring the elastin fibers that make it strong and supple.
Does it really work? Stretch marks before and after red light therapy
Red light therapy really does lessen stretch marks and improve the look of the skin. But don’t just take our word for it…have a look for yourself!
Several studies confirm that red light treatment produces visible results… sometimes in just a matter of weeks. In one trial, both patients and doctors noticed the difference, with satisfied participants reporting better quality of life and more satisfaction with their bodies afterward.
How can I use red light therapy for my stretch marks?
Red light treatment isn’t just safe and effective; it’s also extremely convenient thanks to the number of available options on the market as this popular treatment enters the mainstream.
There are plenty of easy-to-use red light devices for you to choose from, from LED lamps to handheld heaters. Pick what’s right for you to get your therapy in your own home, on your own time. With home, personal devices, you can fit in a red light session after breakfast, while the kids nap, even when watching a movie. It couldn’t be easier!
Of course, you always have the option to visit a salon or spa to get your treatment – if you prefer to have an experienced professional on hand to administer it. If that’s the case, there are plenty of salons now offering infrared saunas or appointments if you want to target certain areas and have a more one-on-one service.
You can also pop down to your local gym (more and more are starting to offer red light) to fit in your therapy after a workout. Planet Fitness now offers infrared therapy via its Total Body Enhancement machines, available at most Planet Fitness franchises.
The machine, also known as the Beauty Angel, resembles a stand-up tanning booth. It’s an enclosed pod that lets the light hit all areas of your body at once, making Planet Fitness an ideal place to get your red light therapy for stretch marks.
Is red light therapy safe to use?
Infrared light is safe and generally well-tolerated, regardless of age or health.
Also, if you’re pregnant and wondering if red light therapy will be safe for you and your baby, don’t worry. Studies indicate that this type of treatment is, in fact, safe during pregnancy, yet if you still have concerns, it’s definitely worthwhile to check with your primary caregiver.
Overall, red light therapy is considered low-risk with minimal chance of adverse reactions. It’s gentle, quick, and pain-free. At most, you may feel a relaxing warm sensation as the light gets to work. There’s no recovery time, no special preparation, and, best of all, no side effects.
Catch your stretch marks early with a blast of red light, and you may very well gain the upper hand on an otherwise nagging condition. Even if they’ve been hanging around for a while, this healing therapy can work wonders – reducing redness, smoothing lines, repairing damage, and giving you stronger, tougher, healthier skin.
So ditch the quick fixes that never measure up, and don’t rush into surgery or fall for the latest ‘magic’ cream – give your skin a regular dose of all-natural red light and watch those maddening marks melt away!