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What Do You Do After Red Light Therapy?

Aftercare is often a crucial part of therapeutic treatments, whether it’s a cosmetic chemical peel or a surgical correction for joint pain. But therapies like red light therapy fall into that rare category in which the benefits are real, but the recovery protocol is minimal.

Skincare Treatment

Photobiomodulation (PBMT) is one of the least-invasive types of clinical skincare treatments out there, which means aftercare is fairly minimal. Going into a session free of sunscreen or makeup will help the healing rays penetrate more deeply. Yet you don’t need to avoid skincare products after your session. In fact, red light therapy is designed to make those products more effective!

Among the therapeutic products that PBMT helps amplify are serums or creams containing anti-aging ingredients such as vitamin C, retinol, and peptides. Unless your skincare professional advises against it, use them just after you finish your red light therapy for boosted results.

Perhaps you’re using PBMT to help fight acne and scarring because your skin is too sensitive for other treatments or chemicals. Red light therapy is valuable for reducing acne and repairing scarring by itself. But when sensitivity isn’t an issue, skincare products containing beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and/or salicylic acids are great post-PBMT aftercare options.

In terms of the order of using products following a PBMT session, the lighter anti-aging or healing serums and light eye creams go first. Next, apply your moisturizing cream or ointment. A face roller is an effective tool for helping these products penetrate more deeply. If you are applying these products in the morning, put makeup, then sunscreen, on last.

Chronic Joint Pain & Injury Therapy

The good news is that PBMT can help with a range of health issues, including joint pain and muscle soreness. The even better news? If you’re recovering from an injury, you don’t have to alter your doctor-approved daily schedule to accommodate red light therapy.

In fact, red light therapy can even be used to aid warm up or cool down from your workout, depending on where both activities fall in your daily routine. For those days when PBMT falls before your exercise, you’ll likely notice that your muscles are gently warmed up. On the other hand, a post-workout PBMT can help repair those tiny muscle tears that are an important part of strength training.

But while you don’t need to do anything special after a PBMT session, you should be aware of not pushing past your own limits. Healing from injury or a chronic condition can take time. Your doctor or physical therapist can advise you when to halt strenuous or even moderate activity, as well as when to gradually begin to add those activities back into your lifestyle.

It’s also important to follow your doctor’s advice about home treatments such as icing, resting, and any over-the-counter or prescription medications that help with inflammation and soreness.

General Wellness Appointments

Red light theory doesn’t interrupt your healthy routine—it complements it. Rather than stopping your fitness program to work PBMT into your life, you can make it an additional wellness component.

Along with working out and pursuing red light therapy, make sure to continue other elements of wellness, including eating healthier foods. Diet fads come and go, but the classic Mediterranean diet, which is based on lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and plenty of produce, is always a smart choice. If your doctor feels you need extra nutrients, such as vitamin D and calcium, consider nutritional supplements.

You’ll also want to maintain all of your scheduled check-ups, from dental to eyesight to general physicals. They may be a more “boring” part of wellness, but they’re intrinsic to living longer, notes Harvard Medical School. That’s because any unnoticed illnesses can be caught before they become medical crises.

It probably goes without saying, but if you’ve got some unhealthy lifestyle habits, it’s never too late to give them up. The biggest culprits that undermine health are smoking, drinking, and consuming excessive fatty or sugary foods. Other bad habits to quit now include not getting enough sleep and sticking to your couch during your off hours.

Don’t forget that mental and emotional well-being is just as important as physical health when it comes to overall wellness. Non-screen time hobbies like reading, crafting, or doing crossword puzzles are invaluable. These help your mind engage with the world differently than watching TV and posting on social media do.

Just as importantly, make sure to socialize with family and friends. Even if you’re an introvert, meaningful time with others is spiritually and mentally fulfilling.

Finally, do make time for healing treatments such as red light therapy. The benefits are wide-ranging, from arthritis to nerve pain, and from rosacea and acne to seasonal affective disorder. Consult with your doctor to learn more about how soon red light therapy might begin to work for you.

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