Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

LLLT can include light emitting diodes (LED), lamps and fluorescent tube devices. This form of therapy appears to help the inflammation of rosacea. LED is one example of a gentle form of light which can be used. There are also infra-red and near infra-red forms of light therapy being reported as effective. Drop by here to find out the latest about this emerging treatment area.

Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby Ijw » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:52 pm

Hi there,

I purchased a Britebox Revive red and near infared light box 3 weeks ago. I started of using it 3 minutes a day for the first week, for the second I upped the time to 7 and then 10 minutes, then for the third week I went for the full 15 minutes a day.

I have moderate rosacea, flushing in the general butterfly area but no p & p's. When I started to use the led's in the first week I was fine, my skin looked slightly flushed after use but all good. In the second I was also fine but no posotives results were being seen. In week 3 however the redness of the rosacea affected butterfly area seems to have gotten worse.

My question is this, what am I doing wrong (is 15 minutes at 8 inches away too much) or could this be a natural step in the healing process?

I am now into my fourth week and my face seems to sting ever so slightly (not very much at all but still worrying). The redness is still present from the third week and at this point i can't tell if my skin is getting better or worse.

If anyone could help me, give advise or could tell me their story then it would be much appreciated.

Thank you :)
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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby Naturaltreatments » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:27 pm

From reading other peoples' experiences with red light therapy and my own, I would suggest it would be worth cutting back a lot on your use of red light therapy. At the beginning of the process, for many users 'less is more'. You might not expect to see positive results for a month or more. I would say you should go back to 3 minutes per day or even every other day. Many people find doing a small amount at the beginning far more beneficial than doing a lot. Fifteen minutes sounds like its too much for your skin at the moment - many people never go beyond 10 minutes per day. Personally, I have not found a formula that works for me using red light therapy, but for those who have, it often involves using red light very sparsely for the first few weeks. The instructions that come with the Britebox are probably not quite right for those with rosacea (I know they suggest you should see benefits within 3 weeks, but with rosacea you probably have to use the machine less than they recommend and be more patient.)
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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby CrabbyCathy » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:35 am

I have also heard that near-infrared light penetrates deeper than just the plain red, so that could also be a consideration.
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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby Ijw » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:42 am

Thank you, both of you for your advice :)

I will reduce my time dramatically and see how that works. I have 3 weeks left before the 60 return policy runs out, so I really want to figure this out quickly...

Could it be the near infared that is just too strong and it needs far lower treatment times than the regular red LEDs?

Is red and near infared better than just red? Because if I have to reduce my time to say 3 mins everyday, will I still be getting a descent treatment, or perhaps would it be more beneficial if I bought an all Red LED lamp and therefore was able to spend more time underneath?

Thank you and sorry about all the questions. :)
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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby Aurelia » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:40 am

Hi Ijw and welcome! (wave)

I've never tried the infrared or near infrared (IR and NIR), but they are supposed to be much stronger than the plain red LEDs, so they work more quickly. For many people, that is a major consideration.

The earliest red LED lamps were so weak, so gentle, that they took months to show any major improvement and people often stopped using them for that very reason. The earliest models were hand-helds that slowly treated one small area of the face at a time, so larger "arrays" were made to cover a wider area, then IR and NIR were added to achieve stronger results even more quickly. So if you switched to a plain all-red LED lamp, you could certainly spend more time using it for treatments, but would you really want to?

Have you read the Q&A one of the world's top laser specialists did for us three years ago about LEDs, NIR, etc?
http://rosacea-research.org/wiki/index. ... berg%2C_MD

As well as running a couple of laser clinics, Dr David J. Goldberg is a clinical professor of dermatology and director of laser research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and his publications list is seriously impressive. "Dr. Goldberg has published over 125 academic papers and has contributed to over 10 academic textbooks. He has authored textbooks on laser dermatology, laser hair removal, laser facial rejuvenation, photodamaged skin and skin wrinkle fillers. He has also co-authored two books for the general public: Light Years Younger and Secrets of Great Skin. Dr. Goldberg is active in professional societies and was elected president of the American Society for Lasers in Medicine & Surgery. He has also served as chairperson of the Ethics Committees of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He has sat on the board of directors of the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the International Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Goldberg was recently elected to the board of directors of the American Academy of Dermatology and Secretary to the board of directors of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He also serves as a co-vice-president of the Skin Cancer Foundation."

I included that to give you an idea of his importance in the field.

To simplify Dr Goldberg's comments, he recommends red and near-infrared LED treatments for rosaceans with swelling or inflammation, including inflammation sometimes caused by seborrheic dermatitis. "Red and near-infrared LED have a major impact on many cells that cause inflammation. Basic rule is yellow LED for mild redness, red LED for more inflamed rosacea, combination of red and near-infrared for inflammation and swelling."

However, his clinics use really strong professional machines that are nothing like the little devices rosaceans use at home. Hence - "We generally provide a series of 5-7 LED treatments. They are given 2-4 weeks apart. Yellow LED treatments take only seconds; red and near-infrared are 20 minute sessions. There is no evidence that too much LED can be given. We are always careful in people who take photosensitizing drugs. Home units generally are not powerful enough to lead to same results as medical quality units. Also the danger in home units is the lack of appropriate eye protection especially for deeper penetrating red/near infrared LED."

I hope that will be of some help to you.

Lastly, I also think it would be sensible for you to use your lamp for shorter periods of time, or even return it if you have any doubts.

Kind regards,

Aurelia
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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby Ijw » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:51 am

Thank you, you are all so very helpful on this forum.

That was an interesting read... I'm not quite sure what passes for inflammation, I have red cheeks and a red nose and I flush quite badly everyday, meaning that my nose is sometimes deep red and extremely hot.

Would that be classed as inflammation, enough to need NIR?

Thank you Aurelia :)
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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby Aurelia » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:33 pm

Hi Ijw,

Ijw wrote:Thank you, you are all so very helpful on this forum.

We try, so thanks very much for noticing. :)

Ijw wrote:I'm not quite sure what passes for inflammation, I have red cheeks and a red nose and I flush quite badly everyday, meaning that my nose is sometimes deep red and extremely hot.

Would that be classed as inflammation, enough to need NIR?

Let's break that into two sections: Is it inflammation? Is it enough to need NIR?

Is it inflammation?
I'm sure you are aware that we aren't doctors, so none of us can answer medical questions, just offer comments based on experience, whether our own or on what we have seen and heard and read. Our view is that it is always best to get professional medical advice from a registered physician.

Having said that, I think the four classic signs of inflammation are accepted as: redness, warmth, swelling and pain. That stems from the way the body's immune system rushes defenders to the site of an infection or injury to fight off the "bad guys", as it were.

You describe redness and warmth. Rosaceans who think their skin is inflamed might not report pain, but their skin is often raised as if puffed up or a little swollen. Are you aware of anything like that?

Is it enough to need NIR?
I honestly don't know. My preference is always to seek medical advice on medical problems, then advice from a board such as ours for minor matters related to implementing that advice. However, I appreciate that not everyone sees things from the same perspective.

In your shoes, I think I'd use gentle, old-fashioned red LEDs rather than IR or NIR and just take things at a slower pace, but I'm no expert. I would also advise bearing in mind that no one treatment has ever worked for all rosaceans, and red light therapy is just the same as all the others in that respect.

Kind regards and best of luck,

Aurelia the cautious
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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby Ijw » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:45 pm

Hello again :)

yes I am aware of when my nose flushes (which is every night :( ) that it does become puffy and sore to touch, so I guess I have inflammation.

I have been to the doctors before and he said that I am far too young to have rosacea, but as we all know it can happen at any age. (information I got from this helpful forum ;) ) but anyway I asked to see a dermatologist who when I saw him proceeded to tell me everyting that I did not have and said that if he new how to treat it he would be a rich man. So he was completely useless!

Then the final piece of advice he gave me was to wait and see if I get p+p's, and in his words "that's when you will know you have Rosacea"...
So as you can imagine after that encounter I was terribly distressed and felt helpless.
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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby Peter » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:39 pm

Hello Ijw

All the replies you have received make sense to me and I can understand why you want this to work. I saw your post yesterday but was reluctant to respond immediately mainly because there is an idiot out there writing on his own Forum, who will use any case of someone having adverse effects with RLT as an excuse to repeat all his stupid scaremongering about red light for rosacea and to put down anybody giving out advice and help. It’s about time someone in authority within the US had the guts to take this nuisance on and stick him out where he really belongs. Some of his remarks about respected members of the rosacea community are nothing short of slanderous and must look extremely odd and highly unprofessional to anybody else looking in. I suppose the only good news is that his Forum really is a grave yard and most people appear to just ignore it.

Anyway as you only have a short period left to decide if RLT is helping, then my advice would be to cut back to 5 minutes a day and use your lamp every other day for the next couple of weeks to see if that helps. If it does and you decide to keep the unit then you may have to follow this regime for several months before slowly increasing the time and frequency of use. I helped someone else on another Forum who was having similar issues and they discovered after my suggestion that not washing their face before using the Britebox unit made them more tolerant to it. I know Britebox make all sorts of claims about their lamp but unfortunately a clinical trial has never been carried out on the effect of red light with rosacea, so really it’s up to the individual to work out for themselves if it’s going to be a treatment option for them. If possible I would recommend you keep your GP or Dermatologist advised that you are using RLT just in case they have any comments or observations to make. Also it always helps to have a second opinion on whether your rosacea is improving, especially as some of the changes can be very subtle and not always obvious. A reduction in redness and softening of the facial skin is always a good indication that RLT is being beneficial. Having said this it appears from your last post that they both seem completely out of touch, so my advice would be to find a Dermatologist with a proven track record of treating rosacea and who knows what he is talking about. Rosacea can occur in younger people and the early you can find a treatment that can help then the better the chance of nipping this condition in the bud. You may find this article posted on here worth a read:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=327&st=0&sk=t&sd=d&start=20

It’s a well know fact that there is “no one fits all” treatment for rosacea so you have to be prepared to experiment to see which treatment suits you best. Some people with severe vascular rosacea find that they are hypersensitive to just about everything and that includes bright lights – if you are one of these people then I would suggest that you do not use RLT. Worth noting that some have reported back that they think it’s the IR part of the Britebox unit which could be irritating their rosacea, so as Aurelia mentioned it might be prudent to try switching to a gentler all red LED source.

Hope this helps and good luck.

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Re: Using Red and Near Infared LED and having adverse reactions

Postby CrabbyCathy » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:22 pm

Ijw wrote:
I have been to the doctors before and he said that I am far too young to have rosacea, but as we all know it can happen at any age. (information I got from this helpful forum ;) ) but anyway I asked to see a dermatologist who when I saw him proceeded to tell me everyting that I did not have and said that if he new how to treat it he would be a rich man. So he was completely useless!

Then the final piece of advice he gave me was to wait and see if I get p+p's, and in his words "that's when you will know you have Rosacea"...
So as you can imagine after that encounter I was terribly distressed and felt helpless.


Oooh, I hate when I hear that this has been told to people. (doh) My best friend has had rosacea since she was 12 or 14, around there. Another member of this board has a young daughter with it, and countless other members are in their teens and 20's.

Definitely see another derm if you can, before your rosacea progresses to the p&p state, although, some people just have the flushing type and never do get the p&p's.

Everyone has given wonderful advice in this thread :)

Have you also thought about looking into medications for the flushing? Some members use Clonodine, Brominidine, beta-blockers. All best discussed with your derm, but an option to think about.
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