Red Light Therapy in Tanning Salons

Red Light Therapy in Tanning Salons

If you frequent places like the gym, dermatology offices, and spas, you have probably seen or even used a red light therapy (RLT) device at these places, especially at a tanning salon. 

Having red light therapy panels at tanning stations can seem normal since, after all, tanning stations also use a form of light therapy to change the condition of the skin to achieve the desired results. But red light therapy and tanning don’t work the same way, and knowing the difference between them can help you make the best decision for your skin the next time you visit a tanning salon

Most tanning salons that offer red light therapy as a service charge anything from $25 to $100 per session. This might not seem like a lot, especially considering all the benefits of RLT. 

In this article, we discuss red light therapy, the benefits of red light therapy, and whether or not you should get one from a tanning salon.

What Is Red Light Therapy?

Simply put, red light therapy uses a low wavelength of red light between the ranges of 620 to 750 nanometers to activate an increase in the energy production of the cells in the body. 

Red light therapy belongs to a class of modality treatment known as photobiomodulation therapy, which uses low-level, non-thermal led light to alter the molecular function of the cells. 

According to Forbes, red light therapy relies on visible light penetrating biological tissues such as muscle tissues, cells, and nerve tissues. Scientists confirm that red and near-infrared lights go deeper than green, blue, or violet light. 

Red Light Therapy and Tanning Salons

It is important to understand what tanning salons do to fully grasp the differences between tanning and the use of red light therapy.

 According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there is a 75% increased risk of developing life-threatening melanoma from just one indoor tanning session before the age of 35. It is, therefore, advised that you stay away from indoor tanning beds. 

Outdoor tanning also presents similar risks but to a lesser degree.

To put it simply, tanning is a sign of skin damage. While society associates tanning with good health, it is a sign that a DNA injury has occurred on the skin. Essentially, tanning damages your skin cells and speeds up visible signs of aging. 


Tanning, which is what people go to tanning salons for, is the effect of prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds that causes genetic damage to cells on the outermost layer of your skin. 

The skin gets dark when exposed to tanning beds or ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun because it releases melanin which absorbs UV rays. Tanning is essentially the body’s response to the damaging effect of UV rays. 

According to the Government of British Columbia website, there is no such thing as a safe or healthy tan

Red light therapy, on the other hand, does not cause tanning. This means that your skin gets no physical damage from exposure to red light or near ultraviolet light, with wavelengths ranging from 620 to 750 nanometers. 

The problem with going to tanning salons to get your dose of red light therapy is that it takes a while to see the positive effects of red light therapy. For red light therapy to be effective, you need a consistent and prolonged exposure to the red or near-infrared light that leads to the healing associated with this process. 

Therefore, instead of going to a tanning salon for red light therapy treatment, you can buy a red light therapy device.

Some of the best red light therapy devices on the market are: 

Note: While studies on red light therapy show that it is safe to use it as an effective photobiomodulation therapy, it is important to consult with your doctor before deciding to use red light therapy, especially if you are currently on any form of antibiotics.

Is Red Light Therapy Safe for Tanning? 

Everything discussed above shows that there is no such thing as safe tanning. On the other hand, it is impossible to get tanned after exposure to red light therapy. Red light therapy does not cause skin damage since it penetrates the skin and activates the cells directly. 

It is safe to say, yes, red light therapy is safe for your skin and body, but it is NOT used for tanning. 

The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Some of the many benefits of red light therapy include: 

  • Treating and managing arthritis
  • Reducing facial wrinkles and triggering anti-aging effects in the skin
  • Treating acne
  • Repairing sun-damaged skin
  • Treating androgenic alopecia
  • Boosting the immune system

Note: Several studies aim to determine the benefits of red light therapy for cancer patients. While there are some improvements in cancer patients exposed to red light therapy alongside traditional cancer treatment methods, the benefits of red light therapy to cancer patients are still unknown. 


It is tempting to walk into a tanning station and use the right light therapy machines right after tanning, but we advise avoiding tanning altogether. There are absolutely zero benefits to tanning – apart from the social value, and it may cause more harm than good. On the other hand, red light therapy is a good way to heal the skin and joints in the body. 

Having the convenience of your own red light therapy device is much preferred to going to the gym or tanning salon for a session. 

To get the best red light therapy devices, visit

Back to blog