Psoriasis: How Can Red Light Therapy Help?Last Updated:
Psoriasis affects you not just physically, but psychologically. The outward appearance of psoriasis can trigger feelings of self-consciousness and cause you to withdraw, isolate, and avoid social interaction. Many psoriasis patients report feeling hopeless and having a low sense of self-worth, anxiety and even depression. Relationships are affected, and sexual dysfunction or suicidal ideation can result.
Routine daily activities like dressing and bathing can be interrupted due to the painful symptoms of psoriasis.
Related Read: How red light therapy can help relieve pain.
Red light therapy represents a symbol of hope for all those suffering from psoriasis. Its potential as an effective new alternative for relief is promising.
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Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease with no known cure.
Psoriasis is caused by a rapid overproduction of skin cells. More cells are produced than can be shed, so they accumulate on the skin’s surface. Itchy red patches that are sometimes covered with thick, silvery scales appear. Affected skin can crack and bleed. Other symptoms include:
- painful lesions and soreness
- stiff, swollen joints
- thick, ridged nails
- premature aging
Risk factors and triggers of psoriasis include:
- skin injury such as a cut or burn
- bacterial, viral, or fungal infection
- vitamin deficiency
- alcohol or drug abuse
Traditional Psoriasis Treatments
Since psoriasis is not currently curable, treatments strive mainly to relieve symptoms, enable you to live a normal life and restore skin to a healthier condition. Traditional treatment options include:
Prescription or Over-The-Counter Topical Remedies — These include medicated anti-itch and moisturizing creams containing ingredients such as Vitamin D, corticosteroids, coal tar, salicylic acid, zinc oxide, and immunosuppressants.
Prescription or Over-The-Counter Oral or Injectable Medications — Methotrexate, cyclosporine, and retinoids are common ingredients.
Ultraviolet (UV) Phototherapy Using UVA or UVB Rays — Yes, light therapy is already a prevalent treatment for psoriasis! UVA and UVB rays can be used together or separately, and in conjunction with other medications. UV phototherapy is a proven effective form of treatment. 
UV light, however, is thermal (heat-producing) and is capable of burning your skin and causing cell damage, wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer. UVA and UVB therapy is usually administered in a medical setting by a doctor or other health professional. Some devices are available for at-home use, but a prescription is usually required. Due to the health risks involved with UV phototherapy, it is generally not a safe or advisable treatment for at-home self-administration.
Red light therapy, on the other hand, is 100% safe for all ages and skin types, FDA-approved, and can be safely self-administered at home. Red light-emitting diode (LED) and near-infrared (NIR) light contain no UV rays, cannot harm your skin or cells, and create no adverse physical reactions.
Red Light Therapy for Psoriasis
Also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), red light therapy exposes your skin to red LED and/or NIR wavelengths that penetrate to the cells below. The mitochondria (energy production centers of cells) absorb the red light and heighten cellular energy. This stimulates collagen and elastin production, promotes healing, and boosts your skin’s firmness and elasticity. Improved skin health and texture are the keys to psoriasis relief.  
Immune response within your skin is elevated. Red light reduces inflammation, provides better oxygen flow to cells, kills bacteria, and improves skin hydration and overall cell function. These effects work together to jump-start and enhance your body’s natural ability to heal itself. The resulting relief from debilitating psoriasis side effects allows you to get back to living a normal life, free of emotional and physical discomfort.
Red LED and NIR light promote natural healing without the damaging and dangerous side effects of UV phototherapy. More studies are in progress, but research already shows that red light therapy shows great promise for treating psoriasis due to its strong cellular penetration and the resulting increase in cellular energy. 
What Are the Best Wavelengths for Treating Psoriasis?
Red LED wavelengths ranging from 610 to 700 nanometers (nm) are generally recommended for the treatment of psoriasis. In various clinical trials, 630nm in particular has shown to be beneficial for Psoriasis. For more severe symptoms, near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths of 830 to 855 nm can also be helpful. Frequently, a combination of red LED and NIR wavelengths is the most successful course of treatment.
At-home red light therapy devices are available in a variety of wavelengths and combinations thereof.
What Else Can You Do to Relieve Psoriasis Symptoms?
Many natural home practices and remedies can help you find relief from psoriasis.
A healthy diet and proper hydration are closely tied to overall skin health. Drink plenty of water and eat a diet rich in lean proteins, leafy green vegetables, vitamins, and antioxidants. Limit your sugar, caffeine, and alcohol consumption.
Avoid harsh skincare products and laundry detergents. Choose milder options that are free of perfumes and dyes.
After bathing, gently blot your skin with a soft towel rather than rubbing. Apply cool compresses to your skin, moisturize your skin daily, and wear clothing made of soft, natural fibers (like cotton) rather than synthetics.
Since stress can aggravate psoriasis, it is important to have a good stress-relief regimen in place. Exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and other relaxation techniques are good stress-relievers.
Alternative Natural Treatments and Herbal Remedies
Psoriasis sufferers have reported success in treating their symptoms with:
- Apple cider vinegar (as a beverage, wet wrap, bath additive, and scalp tonic)
- Dead Sea salt or Epsom salt
- Tea tree oil
- Colloidal oatmeal as a topical treatment or bath additive
- Applying cream to the skin and wrapping it in plastic wrap (such as Saran Wrap)
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements or fatty fish like salmon or tuna
- Oregon grape (also known as barberry, it is actually a type of evergreen plant used in many skin creams)
- Aloe vera gel
- Capsaicin (cayenne pepper powder) as a numbing topical treatment
- Sunlight (a great source of Vitamin D, but in small doses to prevent UV damage)
Whichever home remedies work best for you, their effects will be enhanced by the therapeutic and healing benefits of red light therapy.
While red light therapy cannot cure psoriasis, it can have profound effects on its symptoms. Best of all, you can safely administer red light therapy in the privacy and comfort of your own home, on your own schedule, and with no recurring costs.
-  Phototherapy in psoriasis: a review of mechanisms of action – PubMed (nih.gov) (opens in a new tab)
-  Low-level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) in Skin: Stimulating, Healing, Restoring (opens in a new tab)
-  A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase (nih.gov) (opens in a new tab)
-  A clinical review of phototherapy for psoriasis – PubMed (nih.gov) (opens in a new tab)