Comparing Infrared Light Therapy vs. Other Light Therapies

Light therapy has gained significant attention in recent years for its potential benefits in promoting healing, improving skin health, alleviating pain and helping with many other conditions. Among the different types of light therapy available, hot near infrared light therapy stands out as a popular choice. In fact, it is our #1 seller. But how is it different from other types of light therapy? In this article, we will compare infrared light therapy with other light therapies to understand their similarities, differences, and specific applications.

Understanding Infrared Light Therapy

RubyLux infrared light utilizes specific wavelengths of light in the near infrared spectrum to penetrate the skin, increase blood flow and provide therapeutic effects. The RubyLux NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb produces not only near infrared light but a great deal of heat. It is known for its ability to stimulate cellular activity by increasing ATP, promote circulation, reduce inflammation, and aid in pain relief. Infrared light therapy is most often used in near infrared saunas, skincare, pain management, and wound healing.

Comparing Infrared Light Therapy with Other Light Therapies

Blue Light Therapy

Blue light therapy is commonly used to treat acne and other skin conditions where bacteria are of concern. It operates at wavelengths between 405 to 470 nanometers, targeting the sebaceous glands and bacteria that contribute to acne breakouts. At these wavelengths, bacteria denature and their DNA is destroyed. Blue light kills bacteria and inhibits their reproduction and growth. For infections and acne, this is ideal.

Infrared light therapy, on the other hand, does not kill bacteria. It does ramp up immune response and speed up healing, though, making it a good choice to complement blue light therapy. Infrared light with heat reduces minor inflammation (it should not be used on fresh wounds that are very inflamed) and provides cells energy they can use to begin healing. The heat generates blood flow, bringing in nutrients and  healing in the skin. Alternating the use of blue and infrared light therapies is possible and would provide comprehensive acne or infection treatment.

Green Light Therapy

Green light therapy is most often used for hyperpigmentation, rosacea, headaches, and migraines. It operates at wavelengths between 520 to 560 nanometers, targeting melanocytes and reducing excessive melanin production. Green light therapy wavelengths penetrate the skin at a depth perfect for reaching melanin-producing cells. It also has been successful against headaches and migraines, although the exact mechanism of action isn't entirely clear. 

Infrared light therapy with heat is different in that it focuses on promoting circulation, reducing inflammation, and aiding in tissue repair. While green light therapy addresses specific skin concerns, infrared light therapy has a broader range of applications, making it suitable for overall skin health and pain management.

Infrared light therapy may or may not be effective at relieving headaches and migraines. Although it does relieve pain, it increases blood flow a great deal, which can cause a headache or migraine to feel worse. For this reason, we believe green light therapy is the better choice for headaches and migraines.

Ultraviolet (UV) Light Therapy

First of all, keep in mind that none of RubyLux's products produce ultraviolet (UV) light. We are mentioning UV here because UV light does have some useful applications and we want to spread the word about light therapy in general.

Ultraviolet light therapy, including UVA and UVB, is used for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions. However, it is important to note that UV light therapy carries the risk of sunburn and skin damage, necessitating careful and controlled exposure.

In contrast, hot infrared light therapy is non-ionizing and does not pose the same risks associated with UV light. It provides a safer alternative for promoting healing and skin rejuvenation. While UV light therapy is useful for certain conditions, hot near infrared light is still the overall best option with the most applications.

Red Light Therapy

Okay, here is where we get to the real confusion. Most people are confused about the difference between LED red light therapy and hot-incandescent near infrared light therapy. Part of the reason is that both types of light can be used for the same applications. So it's difficult to decide which is the better choice for your needs.

The short answer is that hot near infrared light therapy is generally the best, most effective choice for most applications. It is stronger and more effective than any LED. 

So why would anyone choose LED red light therapy? The biggest reason is, there are some situations where hot near infrared bulbs could cause pain. If an area is already very inflamed (such as when a new injury has occurred and it is swelling a lot) or very hot already (like a bad sunburn), using a hot bulb will not feel good and might even be intolerable. Any problem where moderate to severe heat or inflammation is already present is one where an incandescent near infrared light is not a good choice. Instead, it's better to downgrade and use LED red light therapy instead. 

Here are some examples of situations where it would be better to choose LED red light therapy:

  • Sunburn
  • Moderate to severe inflammation present
  • Sensitive skin (for severely sensitive skin, yellow/amber LED light therapy is best) 
  • Rosacea
  • Burn healing
  • Combination red and blue LED light therapy, where using red light lets you use it at the same time as blue LED light


Red light therapy and infrared light therapy differ in terms of wavelength used, but both are used for mostly the same applications. Red light therapy utilizes visible red light wavelengths, typically ranging from 630 to 700 nanometers. It primarily targets the skin's surface and is known for its ability to promote collagen production, improve skin texture, and enhance cellular rejuvenation. In contrast, infrared light therapy penetrates deeper into the skin and can have more pronounced effects on tissues and organs. 

The Bottom Line

Infrared light therapy offers unique benefits and applications compared to other light therapies. While red light therapy focuses more on surface-level skin rejuvenation and cellular regeneration, blue light therapy targets acne-causing bacteria, and green light therapy addresses specific skin concerns like hyperpigmentation. In contrast, hot near infrared light therapy penetrates deeper into the skin, providing comprehensive benefits such as improved circulation, reduced inflammation, and enhanced tissue repair. It is a versatile therapy with applications in skincare, pain management, and wound healing. When considering light therapy options, it is essential to consider whether heat or intensity could be problematic in your case. If not, make a beeline for RubyLux NIR-A Near Infrared Bulbs and RubyLux Lamps!