Is Red Light Therapy at Tanning Salons Worth the Cost?

Woman using red light therapy at a salon
Stop wasting $1,000’s at the health spa every year when you can get red light - right at-home.

Red light therapy has long been used in Eastern medicine and recently has gained popularity in the US, especially among athletes and word-class fitness enthusiasts. It has become a popular treatment at gyms, medical spas, dermatology offices, and tanning salons — but the question is: is it worth it? While red light therapy can have benefits such as reducing inflammation, improving skin health, and aiding muscle recovery, the cost of sessions at a tanning salon can range from $50 to $100 per session depending on where you go.

Is red light therapy at a tanning salon or clinic worth it? Answer: probably not. Investing in an at-home red light therapy device can provide the same benefits for a one-time cost while saving you time with all the trips to the spa. Plus, with an at-home device, you have the convenience and flexibility to use it whenever you want without having to schedule and pay for multiple sessions at a salon. Let’s compare the cost of sessions at a tanning salon with the investment you’d make in an at-home device.

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    What is red light therapy?

    Red light therapy has been around for a very long-time, but has just recently been making its way mainstream. The technology was pioneered largely by NASA in the 1980s. At the time, scientists were studying how LED-based light technologies (specifically) red light worked for plant growth in space. Since then, there is a lot of impressive, peer-reviewed clinical research that has been conducted over the last 20 years demonstrating red light therapy’s effectiveness in a variety of indications. Throughout all these studies and trials, very little side effects or risks have been documented – making it safe for a wide range of people. 

    More than ever, people are looking for an effective, actual treatments that don’t rely solely on prescription, drugs, chemicals, or trip to the doctor’s office. There’s an exciting trend happening, one that is predicated on preventative medicine and lifestyle changes to improve health & vitality. And one that people can do right in their own home. That is where at-home light therapy comes in. Below we will break down some of the main benefits of red light therapy. 

    Girl doing yoga infront of a VItal Red Light
    Vital Red Light can also be used in combination with other wellness practices like yoga, meditation or exercise. You can even use Vital Red Light while you sleep!

    At-home red light therapy treatments vs. at a clinic: what’s the difference?​

    Until recently, it was thought that you needed an expensive laser device (known as low-level laser therapy, LLLT, cold-laser) to obtain desired results. The cost of these LLLT devices range from $5,000 – $40,000. Depending on where you go (aesthetician, doctor’s office, spa, dermatologist, physical therapist, etc.) a single 15-minute red light treatment could cost around $100. Since the benefits are cumulative, getting treatments weekly for several months could end up costing you thousands. When you add up the time commitment to go to a spa or wellness center and the cost of the therapy itself, it is not very feasible for most people.

    It was originally thought that various kinds of lasers had some special characteristic not possessed by lights light sources such as LEDs. This has been proven false. Recent studies that have been done comparing lasers to equivalent light sources with similar wavelength and power output, have found essentially no difference between them. Experts agree that you can get the same benefits from a premium at-home device as you would in a clinic – making red light therapy accessible too many more people.

    It is important to note that there are some treatments that should be administered under the supervision of a medical professional – such as treatment for brain injury or age-related macular degeneration. For general wellness benefits, skin, and inflammation, using your an at-home RLT device is perfectly safe and effective. 

    Different ways to experience Red Light Therapy

    Red light therapy is a natural, healthy way to support your body’s health and wellness. You can get the benefits of red light therapy in many ways. Which method you choose is up to you, but we suggest investing in a high-quality at-home device for the most cost-effective and convenient option.

    1. Red light therapy devices. One of the easiest ways to get red light therapy is with an at-home device like the Vital Pro which can be used on any area of your body. Red light therapy devices like this one emit therapeutic wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to help boost collagen, improve circulation, and increase cellular energy.

    2. Red light therapy clinics. You can also find red light therapy at spas and wellness clinics. These facilities may use red light lamps or panels that emit therapeutic wavelengths of red and near-infrared light energy to treat skin conditions like acne or wrinkles, or to reduce pain from arthritis or other chronic pain conditions.

    3. Red Light Therapy Tanning Beds. If you’re familiar with tanning beds, then you may have heard of red light therapy beds as well. These are designed to help users achieve sunless tans by using UV-free bulbs that emit therapeutic wavelengths of red and near-infrared light energy to stimulate melanin production in your skin cells.

    4. Red light therapy bulbs or lamps: These are not effective because they do not emit enough power to provide therapeutic benefits. They are usually too weak and cannot penetrate the skin deeply enough to get to damaged tissue. The intensity of red light therapy must be sufficient to penetrate deeply into the body. There are some red light therapy devices that use a laser, but these are highly expensive and have limited application for cosmetic treatments.

    An at-home light therapy device is the most cost-effective option, as you can use it regularly and consistently to achieve long-term skin benefits. Visiting a red light therapy clinic or using a red light therapy tanning bed may provide more immediate results, but these options are often more expensive and may not offer the same level of consistent treatment as an at-home device.

    No matter how you choose to incorporate red light therapy into your wellness routine, just remember to do your research and find a reputable source for your treatments. And always make sure to follow any recommended usage guidelines for safe and effective results.

    Beauty benefits of red light therapy

    What was once reserved for the world’s top spas, salons, aestheticians, dermatologists, and beauty experts can now be used in the comfort of your own home. Red light therapy is one of the safest, most effective natural skin treatments available today on the market, and it’s being used by some of the top skincare professionals in the world for skin rejuvenation, anti-aging, healing, and enhanced complexion benefits to name a few. 

    After just several treatments of red light therapy, users experience improved appearance, boosted collagen, improved healing times, lowered inflammation, and reduced acne & scarring (more on this below). 

    Red light therapy has been found to help heal damaged skin by increasing blood flow and circulation while stimulating collagen production. It is recommended to use 10-20 minutes of red light therapy for 3-5 times per week over the course of ~2 months in order to experience these benefits. To get the results you want, it makes sense to get an at-home red light device that you can use regularly rather than paying for individual sessions at a salon.

    Red light therapy has also been proven to help diminish acne scars, treat age spots, diminish wrinkles and even treat rosacea. The most efficient skin protocol is to use red light therapy first thing in the morning – before applying creams, serums or other skincare products. This is because red light enhances the absorption of skincare products after treatment, so this is why using it in the morning seems to be the best time for most people. If using it in the morning isn’t feasible, using it in the evening around sunset is perfectly fine.

    It is important to note that the benefits of red light therapy are cumulative. In other words, you will not experience long-term skin benefits from a single session. This is why we recommend investing in an at-home device to use regularly, rather than paying for multiple sessions at a salon. Improvements to skin tone and appearance will happen gradually. You may see minor results quickly, but you will continue to see the full effects over three to six months. Consistency is key for achieving the desired skin benefits. Every individual and every condition will react differently to red light therapy.

    Couple using red light therapy with coffee
    When it comes to red light therapy, consistency is key. Implementing red light into a preexisting health routine such as yoga, meditation, morning coffee, reading, stretching, or working out leads to success

    Health & Wellness benefits of red light therapy

    Red light therapy works by delivering your body the natural light that it needs to function at its best health. Red light therapy is able to penetrate deep into the human body. Once in the deeper tissues, red and near infrared light have incredible healing effects on the cells – leading to reduced inflammation, enhanced energy production, cellular regeneration and anti-aging, and much more. 

    Red light therapy works because it treats the underlying root causes of disease and cellular dysfunction at the source, enabling such a wide variety of health benefits to people of all ages. Whether you’re an athlete, a busy mom, or a health expert, you can benefit from more healthy light in your life. 

    Pain & inflammation: Red light therapy has shown great potential as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals. It alleviates chronic inflammation by increasing blood flow and by boosting your body’s natural antioxidant defenses. Red light therapy reduces pain and inflammation by inhibiting the cellular process involved in inflammatory conditions – relieving you of joint pain, arthritis, injury recovery, wound healing, and other types of inflammation.

    Promotes Deeper Sleep: Red light therapy can help you relax and wind down in the evenings, ultimately promoting deeper and more restful sleep. Red light has a long-wavelength, which has a calming effect on the body. Clinical research is also showing that red light therapy can improve sleep quality and duration, and help people produce more of their own melatonin – also known as the sleep hormone.

    Mental Health & Mood: Red light therapy can help you feel more energetic and balanced, which is important for supporting a positive mood. Red light therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is caused by low levels of melatonin and serotonin (chemicals that make you feel happy). Red light therapy is an excellent drug-free way of regulating the levels of these chemicals in your body – melatonin, serotonin and dopamine.

    Athletic Performance & Muscle Recovery: Many professional athletes are discovering the benefits of red and near-infrared light therapy. Recent studies show that red light therapy can repair muscle, enhance athletic performance, and aid in the recovery process following a workout or injury. It’s also been found that red light therapy helps the body get more benefits from exercise, both in terms of muscle gain and fat loss.

    Red Light Therapy At Home vs At a Tanning Salon: Which is better?

    Ok, so you’re convinced of the advantages of red light therapy. The next logical question is probably about money ⁠— how much does it cost to use red light therapy at a tanning salon? Let’s do some quick calculations for each scenario:

    A single red light therapy session at a tanning salon or other office usually costs between $30 and $100. Even though $50 for a session doesn’t seem like much, these expenses can quickly add up over time. Thus, it would be more financially savvy in the long run to buy your own device that you can use an unlimited number of times instead.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that red light therapy is a long-term solution. You’ll need to use it consistently over time to see results such as an improvement in skin tone, adult acne or wrinkles. And if you’re looking to use red light therapy as a muscle recovery treatment following exercise, you’ll want it every time you finish exercising.

    Let’s take a closer look at Vital Red Light’s prices. The company’s lowest-priced unit, the Vital Charge, costs $329. This small device is best for targeted treatment, such as your upper body and face, or lower back. Like all Vital Red Light devices, the Vital Charge has the highest irradiance of its class on the market, so it’s powerful and effective in shorter sessions.

    Compare that with a typical red light therapy device at a salon, which will most likely offer full-body coverage for about $50 a session. By the time you complete seven sessions, you’ll have spent enough to cover the cost of an in-home red light therapy device that can be used at your convenience, as often as you’d like—and it doesn’t matter if you want to use it on your head or your feet.

    The benefits of using red light therapy are many and varied, but for those looking for something more than just a quick fix, this treatment can provide long-term results as well. It’s important to keep in mind that red light therapy is more of a long-term investment than a quick fix. Not only will you see the best results from using it regularly, but its many beauty and health benefits means it can serve you for months or even years to come, as your wellness goals change over time. Why pay for just a few sessions at a tanning salon, gym, spa, or anywhere else when you could have your own device at home to use whenever you want?

    Working from home while using red light therapy
    Vital Red Light can also be used in combination with other wellness practices like yoga, meditation or exercise. You can even use Vital Red Light while you sleep!

    Using Red Light Therapy At-home

    There are many ways to use a red light therapy device at home. Depending on the size of the area you want to treat, you can sit or stand in front of it. You can foam roll or stretch in front of it after a workout, between sets, or while doing another type of aerobic exercise like using a spin bike or treadmill.

    You can also use it to treat your back and legs after a hard day at work by lying down on the floor or sitting in a chair with your legs outstretched in front of you. You can also put your feet up on a stool and put the light directly underneath them for added circulation to your lower extremities.

    Another great way to use red light therapy at home is before bedtime — especially if you have trouble sleeping because of pain or inflammation that keeps you awake at night.

    The majority of red light therapy beds found in tanning salons look like traditional tanning beds, where customers lie down to receive the therapy. While this method isn’t problematic, it’s not the only way to get benefits from the treatment. With the right device, there are many different ways to use red light therapy. 

    In the end, investing in an at-home red light therapy device is worth its cost for the convenience, flexibility, and long term benefits it provides. So save your money and skip the salon⁠— invest in your own red light therapy device for a healthier, more cost-effective solution.

    What To Look for an an at-home Red Light Therapy device

    Choosing a red light therapy device can be confusing and overwhelming. There are so many options out there and it can be difficult to know where to start. There’s a lot of misleading information as well, which doesn’t make the decision any easier.

    In order to experience all the amazing benefits that red light therapy has to offer, you need to make sure that the device you’re buying is high-quality. There are lots of cheaply-made red light therapy devices out there that charge a pretty penny and weren’t built in the correct way to actually provide the therapeutic benefits. Thus, it’s important to do your research before buying a red light therapy device.

    When it comes to red light therapy, the most important factor is having a device that generates pure, natural light and puts out the right wavelengths at the right intensity. Not all devices on the market do this — especially not the cheap versions. In order to see the benefits, make sure your device is truly medical-grade, 3rd party-tested, FDA-cleared, and the company has a strong reputation. For reference, all Vital Devices use clinical-grade 5 watt LEDs to deliver the most effective dosage of red and near-infrared light to your body. 

    Vital Red Light devices provide the highest irradiance on the market, meaning more effective treatment in less time for you. All devices undergo rigorous testing and protocols to ensure safety, effectiveness and durability before being shipped to you. After years of precise engineering with cutting-edge technology, we are able to bring you the best Red Light Therapy device at an affordable price tag.

    Vital Red Light Therapy Devices
    We are proud to have over 1,465 medical professionals in 76 countries using our products, along with some of the most trusted experts and organizations in world including: Goop (& Gwyneth Paltrow), Equinox Gyms, REVOLVE, US Weekly, Brooke Burke, and hundreds of athletes in the PGA, NFL, NBA, MLB & more.

    Conclusion: Which device is best?

    Red light therapy devices come in many forms – from full-body units that expose your whole body to therapeutic red and near-infrared light to smaller handheld devices that are more portable and convenient. Vital Red Light offers different sizes of red light therapy products that are equally effective in treating the same conditions, but each size is designed for a different purpose.

    The Vital Charge is a small, versatile device that can be used to treat small areas like the face and hands. It’s the most affordable option in our collection, making it a great choice if you want to try red light therapy before committing to a larger panel.

    The Vital Pro is our most popular light therapy device. It’s large enough to be comfortably used on the entire front and back of your body at once. Perfect for use with a standing desk or in front of your TV, you can relax while you receive your daily dose of natural light.

    The Vital Elite is our most powerful device in the line of Vital Red Light Therapy devices. It is designed specifically to treat larger areas such as the back, neck, shoulders, legs, arms and more. It features 172 5-watt LED bulbs that are spaced 4 inches apart from each other providing maximum surface area coverage.

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