Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes rapid skin cell buildup, resulting in inflamed, scaly patches on the surface of the skin. It affects over 8 million Americans and can be stubborn to treat. So, you may wonder whether red light therapy could help manage their psoriasis symptoms.
This in-depth guide covers the basics of psoriasis, how red light therapy works, supporting evidence for its efficacy, treatment protocols, expectations to set, and considerations for marketing this option to psoriasis sufferers looking for relief.
Psoriasis stems from an overactive immune system that accelerates the growth cycle of skin cells. Normal skin takes 28-30 days to regenerate, but in those with psoriasis, it happens in just 3-4 days. The rapid buildup causes raised, inflamed patches covered with silvery-white scales or plaques.
These psoriasis plaques most often occur on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp. They can range from tiny and localized to widespread inflamed lesions covering large portions of the body. Outbreaks flare periodically, often triggered by stress, skin injuries, infections, or certain medications.
Around 10-30% of those with psoriasis eventually develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes painful swelling in the joints. The condition can also increase the risk for other chronic inflammatory issues like heart disease, diabetes, and Crohn’s disease.
While not life-threatening, psoriasis often significantly impacts quality of life. The unsightly lesions cause emotional distress, discomfort, and social challenges. Stubborn outbreaks are difficult to control, so sufferers are often eager to find solutions beyond just topical steroid creams.
This is where emerging science shows red light therapy could help.
Red light therapy, sometimes called photobiomodulation, uses specific wavelengths of visible red and near-infrared light to stimulate beneficial cellular responses in the body. These wavelengths penetrate deep into tissues where they:
These effects combine to help resolve the underlying causes of psoriatic lesions – immune over-activity, inflammation, and rapid, low-quality cell growth. The light essentially helps “reboot” these functions back to normal.
Red light therapy is completely non-invasive and drug-free. Sessions involve simply exposing the affected areas of skin to clinical-grade LED light panels. Treatments are painless and carry virtually zero side effects when properly administered.
Now let’s look at what studies reveal about red light therapy’s effectiveness specifically for psoriasis relief.
While larger-scale human trials are still needed, early research in humans and lab mice indicates that red light therapy holds promise for improving psoriasis:
While more controlled human studies are still needed, these early results suggest red light reduces psoriasis symptoms by addressing the underlying immune reaction and skin cell overgrowth driving plaques. The fact that benefits lasted weeks to months post-treatment implies it may help retrain the immune system in the long term.
Plus, with no adverse effects, red light therapy can be a far safer option than medications or other mainstream psoriasis treatments – a key selling point for your business.
If you decide to offer red light therapy for psoriasis clients, standard treatment protocols might include:
Session Duration: Start with 5-10 minutes daily and incrementally increase to 15-20 minutes per area treated. Go as long as 30 minutes for stubborn plaques if skin tolerates without irritation.
Frequency: At least 5 days per week is ideal initially. Once plaques resolve, reduce to 2-3 days weekly for maintenance.
Wavelengths: Combine near-infrared (750-850 nm) to target immune cells with some red light (620-670 nm) to stimulate skin repair.
Target Areas: Directly treat any active plaques, plus lymph nodes/vessels to improve drainage and immune response regulation.
Other Tips: Have clients wash with an antimicrobial cleanser before sessions to prevent any infection risk on broken skin. Keep treated areas well hydrated afterward.
Monitor progress weekly. Clients should see initial clearing of thin plaques after 2-4 weeks if using 5-7 days per week. Thicker plaques usually take 6-8 weeks to fully resolve. Maintenance treatments help prevent recurrence.
Some plaque patches may temporarily worsen as inflammation surfaces before improving – so counsel clients to expect an adjustment period. Any truly bothersome reactions can be managed by temporarily reducing session length and building back up slowly.
While individual results vary, on average, most psoriasis patients see improvements such as:
Some patients find red light therapy eliminates outbreaks altogether when used preventatively. Others see their psoriasis downgraded from moderate-severe to a mild, easily managed form. Relapses reduce in frequency and intensity. Many are able to reduce or stop topical steroid creams and other medications.
However, psoriasis is highly individual – for some, it is chronic and progressive without cure. Red light typically will not fully resolve lifelong, advanced cases. But it can still help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Be sure to advise clients to keep expectations realistic based on their history.
Red light therapy works best for psoriasis patients who are:
Those with very advanced widespread cases may still benefit but should not expect full resolution. In these instances, red light can be used as a supplemental therapy to reduce medication dependence.
Be sure to consult doctors about using red light therapy with any immunosuppressant drugs, as it may allow lowering dosages. Also advise clients not to stop prescribed medications without medical guidance. Check for any contraindications too.
Here are some tips for effectively marketing red light therapy to attract psoriasis clients:
Responsibly marketing red light therapy as a convenient, non-invasive solution for psoriasis relief while setting realistic expectations will attract the right clients to your business. Be sure to thoroughly train staff on protocols and cautions for treating psoriasis clients before promoting this specialty service.
The big advantage of red light therapy over medications is its exceptional safety with virtually no negative side effects. The only risks come from improper use such as:
When administered correctly, the only side effects are occasional mild redness or tingling that resolves quickly. Red light is gentler than even natural sunlight.
Simply take reasonable precautions like:
With these simple measures, you can offer red light therapy for psoriasis clients with confidence in its safety and tolerability. Be sure to set expectations upfront around the process and share guidelines to minimize any irritation.
In conclusion, emerging research suggests red light therapy is a promising treatment option for reducing psoriasis symptoms naturally – without drugs or side effects. While not a guaranteed cure, especially for severe cases, it can be an excellent addition to traditional therapies or an alternative for those looking to avoid medications. With appropriate protocols and reasonable expectations set, offering red light to your psoriasis customers presents a compelling new service line for your aesthetics business.