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Red Light Therapy for Psoriasis

by Jazmine Roxas | June 24, 2023
As you're keenly aware, psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide, causing physical discomfort and emotional distress. This blog post will explore how to treat psoriasis, the potential uses of red light therapy for psoriasis, explain how it works, red light therapy benefits, and how to incorporate the powerful technology into a treatment plan.
psoriasis treatments

Understanding Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the skin, leading to a rapid accumulation of skin cells. This accelerated growth cycle results in thick, scaly patches that can be silver or red, often causing discomfort and significant itchiness. While psoriasis can manifest on any part of the body, it is most commonly found on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. The patches vary in size and severity, and can occasionally be covered by scales or plaques that bleed when scraped or bumped. The exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to an immune system malfunction that causes inflammation, triggering new skin cells to surface too quickly. Understanding the differences between these types can assist in better management and treatment strategies:
  • Plaque Psoriasis: This form is identified by its dry, raised lesions that are red and covered in silvery scales. These patches, or plaques, commonly appear on the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back. Plaque psoriasis can be itchy and sometimes painful. The coverage can be minimal or extensive, and the severity can fluctuate with environmental factors, stress, and health conditions. Treatment typically involves topical treatments, phototherapy, and systemic medications tailored to the severity of the condition.
  • Guttate Psoriasis: Often triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat, guttate psoriasis is marked by small, water-drop-shaped sores that appear primarily on the trunk, arms, legs, and scalp. These lesions are smaller than the typical plaques of psoriasis and are more prevalent among children and young adults. This type may resolve on its own without treatment or may transition into chronic plaque psoriasis. Light therapy and medications may be used to manage symptoms when necessary.
  • Inverse Psoriasis: This type occurs in body folds such as behind the knees, under the breasts, in the groin, and in armpits. It is characterized by bright red, shiny lesions that may be aggravated by friction and sweating. Inverse psoriasis is particularly uncomfortable and prone to fungal infections due to its location in skin folds.
  • Pustular Psoriasis: Less common but highly inflammatory, this type of psoriasis is characterized by white pustules (blisters of noninfectious pus) surrounded by red skin. The pus consists of white blood cells. It can be localized to specific areas of the body, such as the hands and feet, or can be generalized, covering most of the body. Treatment options include topical therapies, systemic medications, and hospitalization in severe cases, especially when the pustules cover a large body area or are acutely painful.
  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This is the least common but most severe form of psoriasis. It involves widespread inflammation and exfoliation of the skin over much of the body surface. It can lead to severe pain and significant fluid and protein loss, making it potentially life-threatening. Immediate medical attention is often required, and treatment usually involves a combination of systemic medications and supportive care.
Each of these types of psoriasis can significantly affect a person's quality of life, necessitating individualized treatment plans and ongoing care to manage not only the physical symptoms but also the psychological impact of living with chronic skin conditions.
The persistent itching and pain that often accompany the scaly patches and plaques can be relentless, disrupting sleep and daily activities. For many, the visibility of the condition leads to significant discomfort, exacerbating feelings of embarrassment and self-consciousness. This self-awareness often heightens in social settings or during activities that expose the skin, such as swimming or exercising in public gyms. The emotional toll of psoriasis is substantial and can lead to serious mental health challenges. Many individuals experience increased levels of anxiety, fearing the public’s reaction to their visible symptoms. Depression is also common among those with psoriasis, driven by ongoing distress and the chronic, incurable nature of the disease. The psychological strain can be compounded by the unpredictability of flare-ups, which may occur even when managing the condition carefully. This constant worry can create a feedback loop, where stress itself becomes a trigger for more severe symptoms, leading to further anxiety and isolation.
red light therapy for psoriasis

Red Light Therapy: An Overview

Red Light Therapy (RLT), also known as photobiomodulation, was first developed from NASA experiments conducted in the late 20th century. These experiments were aimed at finding ways to grow plants in space and to assess the potential healing effects of light on astronauts' injuries. NASA's findings revealed that specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light could stimulate cellular activity and accelerate healing. This discovery has since been adapted for use in various medical and cosmetic treatments. The specific wavelengths typically range between 630 to 670 nanometers for red light and 810 to 850 nanometers for near-infrared light. These bands of light penetrate different layers of skin, reaching muscles, nerves, and even bones.

Applications of Red Light Therapy

Its increasing popularity can be attributed to its effectiveness in treating a variety of health conditions and enhancing overall wellness without significant side effects. From skincare and pain management to muscle recovery, RLT offers a broad spectrum of benefits, making it a sought-after solution in both clinical and home settings:
  • Skin Health: Red Light Therapy (RLT) significantly boosts skin health by delivering deep-penetrating red light to various skin layers, which stimulates the production of collagen—a vital protein for maintaining youthful skin elasticity. RLT also combats inflammation, often a root cause of skin conditions like acne and eczema. By promoting better circulation and increasing cellular activity, it enhances skin tone and texture, leading to a more even complexion and smoother skin. Regular sessions can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, as well as expedite the healing of scars and blemishes, thus providing a comprehensive solution for maintaining vibrant skin.
  • Pain Relief: By reducing inflammation and energizing cells' mitochondria, red light therapy provides significant pain alleviation advantages. This activation boosts cellular energy production, enhancing the body's natural repair processes. RLT is especially useful for chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and tendinitis, and for acute pain post-injury or surgery. Many patients report not only immediate relief from discomfort but also a decreased dependence on pain medications over time. The therapy's ability to facilitate a natural healing process makes it a valuable tool for pain management.
  • Muscle Recovery: By enhancing blood circulation and reducing oxidative stress in muscle tissues, RLT speeds up the recovery process, helping to alleviate muscle fatigue and soreness after strenuous exercises. This quicker recovery allows athletes to perform at higher levels and reduces the risk of injuries, making RLT a critical component in sports performance enhancement and rehabilitation strategies.
  • Other Uses: Beyond its applications in skin care, pain relief, and muscle recovery, Red Light Therapy holds potential in several other health-related areas. Research continues to investigate its effects on cognitive functions, hair growth, and wound healing. Early studies indicate that RLT may improve brain health by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation, which could help in managing cognitive decline. It has also shown potential in stimulating hair follicles, promoting hair regrowth, and accelerating the healing rates of wounds.
The scope of Red Light Therapy is vast, with ongoing research continually uncovering new benefits and applications. Its ability to address a diverse range of health issues with minimal side effects makes it an attractive option for those seeking alternative or supplementary treatment methods. Whether used in a medical setting or at home, RLT stands out as a powerful tool for improving quality of life through enhanced health and wellness.

Red Light Therapy for Psoriasis Treatment

Red Light Therapy for psoriasis utilizes specific wavelengths of light that penetrate the skin and directly target affected cells. These wavelengths are carefully chosen to stimulate cellular processes, including the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary source of energy for cells. As the cells receive more energy, they can function more efficiently, ultimately reducing inflammation and promoting the healing of psoriasis-affected skin.

Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Psoriasis

RLT has emerged as a promising adjunctive treatment for managing psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin condition. This non-invasive therapy harnesses the power of red light to bring about numerous benefits that can improve the skin's appearance and the patient's quality of life:
  1. Reduced Itching and Pain: By targeting and soothing nerve endings in the affected skin, RLT reduces the uncomfortable sensations that often plague psoriasis sufferers. This can make daily activities and sleep more comfortable, particularly for those with extensive or severely painful psoriatic patches. The therapy's ability to alleviate these symptoms non-invasively is especially valuable for those looking for alternatives to traditional pain relief methods, which may have side effects or limited effectiveness.
  2. Improved Quality of Life: Regular sessions of Red Light Therapy can lead to a marked improvement in the quality of life for individuals with psoriasis. As the visible symptoms and physical discomfort decrease, patients often experience enhanced self-esteem and an increase in positive social interactions. The non-invasive nature of RLT means that treatment is not only effective but also stress-free, contributing further to the overall well-being of the patient. The psychological benefits of reduced symptoms can be profound, as they often lead to greater social engagement and personal satisfaction.
The impact of Red Light Therapy extends beyond mere symptom management; it offers a holistic improvement in the lives of those it treats. For conditions like psoriasis, where both physical and emotional distress can be intense, the benefits of RLT provide a beacon of hope. Patients appreciate the dual effects of physical symptom relief and emotional uplift, making RLT a preferred choice for those seeking gentle yet effective treatment options.

How to Use Red Light Therapy for Psoriasis

When selecting Red Light Therapy devices to help with your eczema, Solawave has a couple of different options depending upon your preferences. The Radiant Renewal Skincare Wand is our newest and most powerful tool yet! It harnesses four technologies (Red Light Therapy, Galvanic Current, Therapeutic Warmth, and Facial Massage) in one compact device. We spent two years improving upon everything we learned with the original Wand. This means the new Wand is upgraded, offering twice as much Red Light Therapy output. It also features Galvanic Current to boost the benefits of serums and creams, while successfully incorporating the changes most often requested by users of our original Wand. 
Our original device, the 4-in-1 Skincare Wand with Red Light Therapy, sold out seven times and was the #1 skincare tool of 2022 (by Men’s Health). It also features four powerful skin-health-boosting technologies. If you’re looking for an easy, hands-free experience, try our Wrinkle & Acne Clearing Light Therapy Mask. Sit back, relax, and get spa-grade results in as little as ten minutes. Pre-programmed treatments include Red or Blue Light Therapy depending on your skin’s needs.
Red Light Therapy offers a promising, non-invasive treatment option for psoriasis treatments. By reducing inflammation and promoting skin healing, Red Light Therapy can help alleviate the physical and emotional toll of this chronic skin condition. As at-home red light therapy becomes more accessible, those affected by psoriasis can explore this treatment option to improve their quality of life. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment to ensure it's appropriate for your specific needs and circumstances.

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