Mito Red Light and MAYSAMA - A Combination Therapy for Anti-Aging
New evidence shows that antioxidants, when combined with Red Light Therapy, enhance fibroblast proliferation, the cells responsible for collagen production. What’s more, combining antioxidants with Red Light Therapy enhances the anti-inflammatory capacity of your Red Light Device. If you want to get the best out of your Red Light Therapy for skin rejuvenation, it makes sense to use a topical antioxidant to buffer free radicals produced by your LED light, to help minimise oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as to drive biological processes which aid skin rejuvenation.
Maysama has partnered with Mito Red Light to bring you a combination therapy to improve the outcomes of your Red Light Therapy for Anti-aging. This blog looks at the evidence behind combining topical antioxidants with your red light therapy treatments to improve the efficacy of photobiomodulation for anti-ageing.
If you are already using Red Light Therapy, then this is the perfect pairing to up your Red Light Therapy game for anti-aging. And if you are not already using Red Light Therapy as part of your skincare regime then read on to learn more.
Why you need Red Light Therapy for Skin Health and Anti-aging.
Red light and near infrared are part of nature’s defence against UV light. Red light and near infrared from the sun are high early in the morning and then high again in the afternoon, so it can offer a preparative and reparative action against UV light, which we know can be harmful to the skin. This theory is supported by a study on volunteers pretreated with red light and near infrared, which showed a reduction in the development of erythema when these volunteers were subsequently exposed to UV light.
Red light is also anti-inflammatory, so it can help reduce symptoms for skin disorders, from acne to rosacea and psoriasis. I have rosacea and I have found Red Light Therapy instrumental in managing my rosacea flare-ups and the condition in general. If you have rosacea and you are interested to learn how I have treated mine with great success, you can read more about this on my blog – My Rosacea Skincare Routine.
Our skin is a complex organ, mainly made up of two cell types - epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts. As we age, we start to see biological changes, including wrinkles, sagging, enlarged facial pores and skin generally becomes less elastic and resilient than its youthful counterpart. These changes are largely related to a decrease in collagen production by our fibroblast cells and a decrease in the efficiency of our mitochondria.
Red Light Therapy is a biostimulator that can decelerate fibroblast aging, as well as promote skin health generally. From an anti-aging perspective, red light and near infra-red light is a fantastic modality for increasing collagen production and helping to improve skin texture and tone. Red and near infrared [R-NIR] light have been shown to increase the growth and reproduction of fibroblast cells, which are responsible for the production of collagen and elastin. So, Red and NIR LED light provides an effective skin rejuvenation treatment. And with the advent of great at home devices from companies like Mito Red Light, we no longer need to visit a clinic to benefit from this therapeutic treatment.
Maysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum for Red Light Therapy
Which is better for anti-aging – Red or Near infrared?
According to a recent study by the University of Florence, both red and near infrared light have very different but complementary aspects with regard to anti-aging and used together will enhance collagen production. Red LED light promotes the growth and production of fibroblast cells, as well as the capability of these cells to degrade and remodel collagen, which prepares the Extracellular matrix for the laying down of new collagen. And Near infrared light allows fibroblast cells to mature into their more mature cell type, myofibroblasts, which synthesise and secrete Type 1 and Type 3 collagen, as well as other extracellular matrix components. So, a treatment regime which incorporates both red and near infrared light will increase collagen production and optimise the anti-aging benefits of your Red Light Therapy.
Fibroblasts treated with Near infrared light, showing secretion of collagen
Treatment times and dosage
Scientific studies have shown that below 100 mw/cm2 the rejuvenating effect of the light is virtually negligible. So, if you are looking to purchase an LED device, always check the irradiance or power density to make sure you are getting the optimal performance. I love my MitoMOD 300 because Mito Red Light only manufacture high performance panels, which are proven to have biostimulatory effects.
But before you go thinking that you can just ramp up the wattage and bask under your Red light from breakfast ‘till bedtime to wind back the years, I’m afraid that it’s not as simple as that. As in life, there is a balance and, more often than not, the rule is everything in moderation. If you overdo your red light therapy, you will reduce or even not see a benefit from your Red Light Therapy for anti-aging. This is because of the biphasic does response, also known as hormesis. The biphasic dose response is a biological effect, where the response generated depends on the strength of the stimulus and, as you can see from this graph, it is not linear.
Biphasic Dose Response, or hormesis
As the graph shows, a low level of a stimulus elicits a biological response. More of the stimulus increases that response but a peak is reached where more of the stimulus will start to suppress the response, until eventually a negative response is seen. With Red Light Therapy for skin rejuvenation, it has been shown in many studies that too much of the stimulus will stop bringing you benefits and potentially could undo its good work. So, yes, it is possible to have too much of a good thing! Whilst there are numerous studies that support the biphasic dose response with photobiomodulation, sadly it has not been possible to get a consensus on what the optimum parameters and dosage are for the various applications of Red Light Therapy. Always pay attention to your manufacturers’ guidelines of your Red Light device and do not over do the treatment time.
So, there is quite a lot to know if you are going to get the best out of your Red Light Therapy Device. And I’m going to add something else into the mix..
Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress
This blog post is not to talk about how Red Light Therapy works but you can read more about this here. Simply put, R-NIR light helps increase ATP production, which drives cellular processes, including cell growth and reproduction, cell migration and protein synthesis, including collagen and elastin.
But it is a lot more complex than that. R-NIR light stimulation, or photobiomodulation, initiates a cascade of biological processes in normal, healthy cells. Not least the production of free radicals. Free radicals are important to our bodies – they act as signalling molecules to drive cellular processes and help maintain a healthy immune system. But an excess of free radicals is not desirable when using Red Light Therapy for anti-aging. Excess free radicals are known to contribute to the aging process.and are associated with numerous diseases.
Red and near infrared light increases the flow of electrons through the electron transport chain in the mitochondrial membrane and speeds up the production of ATP. In healthy cells, Red LED stimulation leads to a burst of free radicals, also known as Reactive Oxygen Species, as a by-product of mitochondrial respiration.
These free radicals act as signalling molecules and trigger our cells to begin various biological processes which benefit cell health. Any excess free radicals in the mitochondrial membrane are mopped up by our intrinsic antioxidant systems, including the enzyme superoxide dismutase. But if free radicals start to overwhelm our natural antioxidant defences, they lead to a condition of oxidative stress. Left unchecked, oxidative stress will lead to damage to cellular components, like lipids, proteins and DNA, and ultimately, if that oxidative damage is not repaired, the cell will destroy itself through a programme of cell death, called apoptosis (I love that word, it always reminds me of rice krispies!).
To quote the renowned Red Light Therapy scientist, Michael Hamblin, from Harvard University;
Whether the ROS generated by PBM is beneficial or detrimental may depend on the rate at which it is generated. If superoxide is generated in mitochondria at a rate that allows superoxide dismutase (SOD) to detoxify it to hydrogen peroxide, then the uncharged H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) can diffuse out of the mitochondria to activate beneficial signalling pathways, while if superoxide is generated at a rate or at levels beyond the ability of superoxide dismutase to deal with it, then the charged superoxide may build up inside mitochondria and damage them’.
Excess free radicals also reduce fibroblast proliferation (growth and reproduction), which slows down the production of collagen and elastin, decreasing the benefits of Red Light Therapy for skin rejuvenation.
I hear you, there’s a dilemma. You want to enjoy the benefits of your Red Light Therapy but you don’t want to overdo it. So, how can you better achieve the results you want? The answer is with combination therapy.
Red Light Combination Therapy for Anti-aging
If red-near infrared light drives the production of free radicals, but an overproduction of free radicals starts to slow the efficiency of your red light device, then controlling the amount of free radicals produced will allow your Red Light device to do its job more effectively, generating more ATP for your cells, which drives all cell processes, including cell growth and reproduction (cell proliferation) and protein synthesis, including collagen synthesis.
Antioxidants are free radical scavengers. As I alluded to earlier, our body’s natural antioxidant defences fight free radical damage, starting with superoxide dismutase in the mitochondrial membrane. But what if we could supplement our antioxidant defence systems with topical antioxidants? Topical antioxidants, like green tea, fight free radicals, so using topical antioxidants with your Red Light Therapy treatment will mop up excess Reactive Oxygen Species, ensuring that your biological systems are not overloaded. A bit like cleaning out the filter on your Dyson!!
Combination therapy, by definition, is combining two or more agents which have complementary actions to improve the outcome of a therapeutic treatment. Scientists first talked about this in 2009 when Andrei Sommer combined green tea as a topical antioxidant with his red-light therapy and was surprised by the speed of results realised for skin-rejuvenation in significantly less time than Red Light Therapy alone. Whilst this initial paper presented limited data, his work was further substantiated by his Alzeimers research in 2012, where the application of green tea combined with photobiomodulation significantly helped reduce the build-up of amyloid deposits in the brain, which are associated with the disease progression.
The scientists discussed that LED Light facilitates the transport of the active compounds of green tea into the cells by the interaction of red light with interfacial water layers in the mitochondrial membrane. This flow is more pronounced if the cells are rich in mitochondria. So, another reason to combine Red Light Therapy and antioxidants is because the LED light improves the uptake of your antioxidants. Sommer states very clearly in this paper that the interplay and complementary effects of photobiomodulation and antioxidants are not restricted to green tea polyphenols. And that combination therapy is most effective when components are combined that have complementary action, as is the case here. Red light produces free radicals and antioxidants scavenge free radicals, which are complementary actions.
Exciting new evidence from the University of Santa Maria, Brazil, shows that co-treatment of antioxidants with Red Light Therapy increases dermal fibroblast proliferation and collagen production, over Red Light Therapy alone, providing a combination therapy for anti-aging. These recent studies show that guarana, (Paullinia cupana) a plant from Brazil with a similar profile to green tea, had a positive influence on the outcome of photobiomodulation for skin rejuvenation.
As we would anticipate, in this study, combining guarana and red LED light therapy reduced damage to proteins and lipids, and increased the proliferation of fibroblasts, the main cells responsible for collagen and elastin synthesis. What's more, this Antioxidant – Red Light combo reduced the incidence of cell death as a consequence of oxidative stress, caused by excess free radicals.
Even more interesting, this combination also influenced the production of certain peptides involved with cell signalling, including down-regulating the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 beta, IL-6 and TNF), which have been implicated in Pro-tumour inflammation, and up-regulating the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10). Whilst inflammation is the immune system's normal response to infections and disease, when not properly regulated, inflammation becomes unhealthy and inflammation is one of the main causes of skin aging, So, this Red Light Combination Therapy for anti-aging helps protect further against the negative impact of inflammation.
So, the interaction between guarana extract and red light helped buffer the production of free radicals produced by LED light and induced antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic effects (remember, this just means reduces the incidence of cell death) and promotes the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts, increasing collagen synthesis. What more could you want from a skin rejuvenation treatment modality?
Let's not forget that we are talking about the use of Red Light Therapy for Anti-aging here. Depending on the application of red light therapy, excess free radicals produced by high fluence red and NIR LED light can be beneficial. Pioneering research using high fluence LED light is being used right now to treat Coronavirus because excess free radicals help to kill viruses. And, in other medical fields, Red Light Therapy is an exploratory treatment for wound healing.
Red Light Therapy used to speed up wound healing after cosmetic surgery.
We know that excessive Reactive Oxygen Species inhibit fibroblast proliferation and collagen production and so Red LED therapy is also used to prevent scarring or fibrosis, which is simply an overproduction of collagen and excessive fibroblast proliferation. So, unlike for anti-aging purposes, for the application of wound healing, we want an excess of free radicals, because we want to slow the migration of fibroblasts to the wound area and prevent the deposition of collagen. Too much collagen leads to a scar tissue, which is why red light therapy has therapeutic value to help prevent scarring.
In a research study carried out in Florence, Italy, on wound healing, when the antioxidant resveratrol was introduced, it interfered with the efficacy of the Red LED light and cell migration was seen to speed up again. If you apply this rational to anti-aging, this same combination of resveratrol and red light therapy would have an advantageous outcome for skin rejuvenation, speeding up cell migration and proliferation, ultimately leading to the synthesis and deposition of more collagen.
These studies demonstrate that Antioxidants serve to buffer the production of Reactive Oxygen Species and protect against the detrimental effects of oxidative stress. Moreover, co-treatment with topical antioxidants compound the positive aspects of photobiomodulation, including cell proliferation and anti-inflammatory action.
So, to summarise;
Red or near infrared light increases cellular energy and produces free radicals in healthy cells. At low levels, free radicals function as signalling molecules to drive biological processes, including boosting the reproduction and migration of fibroblast cells to the extracellular matrix and subsequent collagen production.
You need a good boost of red light, or NIR energy [minimum 100mw/cm2] to see the effects for skin rejuvenation.
High fluence red light or near infrared light can generate excess free radicals, which can lead to a condition of oxidative stress and potentially undo the good work of your red light.
Evidence supports topical antioxidants, when combined with Red Light therapy,
- help buffer free radicals, reducing damage to lipids, protein and DNA and reducing the incidence of oxidative stress.
- Increases cell survival rates / reduces the incidence of cell death or 'apoptosis'.
- enhances derrnal fibroblast proliferation, boosting collagen production.
- regulates inflammatory cytokines, further enhancing the anti-inflammatory capacity of your Red Light Device.
- improves the uptake of active compounds from the antioxidants into cells, enhancing the beneficial effects.
- extends the action spectrum / increases the efficacy of your Red Light Therapy for pro-aging purpose.
If you want to get the best out of your Red Light Therapy for skin rejuvenation, it makes sense to use a topical antioxidant to buffer free radicals produced by your LED light, to help minimise oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as optimise fibroblast proliferation. Scott Chevari from Mito Red Light agrees;
So topical antioxidants are the perfect complement to your Red Light Therapy device. They have the potential to modulate light induced free radicals or Reactive Oxygen Species formation and alter the biological outcome. But…
Not all antioxidants are equal.
The science suggests that antioxidants in general would improve outcomes for red light therapy for skin rejuvenation, but I would be as bold as to say that some antioxidants are better than others. Many compounds are labelled as antioxidants, because they can scavenge free radicals. But for an antioxidant to be bioactive, it needs to be able to permeate the cell membrane, accumulate inside the cell and to fight free radical damage where the free radicals are produced - in the mitochondrial membrane. As we know, Red Light therapy activates mitochondria, so antioxidants that target free radicals in the mitochondria are more likely to impact outcomes.
To recap, mitochondrial respiration generates the superoxide radical. And the mitochondrial enzyme superoxide dismutase converts the superoxide radical to another reactive oxygen species, called hydrogen peroxide. Unlike superoxide, hydrogen peroxide can diffuse from the mitochondria to other parts of the cell and activate various redox sensitive proteins. Under mild conditions of light therapy, mitochondrial superoxide dismutase can effectively contain superoxide production through its conversion to hydrogen peroxide. However, if mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species start to overwhelm the capacity of superoxide dismutase, then oxidative stress develops, which can potential lead to a detrimental effect on the cells. So, antioxidants which target mitochondria and function as superoxide dismutase mimetics have the potential to circumvent this problem.
Green tea and green rooibos tea have a high polyphenolic content and correspondingly high antioxidant capacity. Both green tea and green rooibos tea are excellent free radical scavengers, proven to undo cell damage caused by free radicals and to increase cell survival rate. Green Tea and green rooibos fight free radical damage in the mitochondrial membrane where the free radicals are produced and potentially play a larger part in buffering free radicals.
Maysama’s research collaboration with the Nelson Mandela institute shows that Green Rooibos and Green Tea have comparable antioxidant potential and are bioactive inside the cell to the same degree. Green rooibos and green tea not only act as free radical scavengers but, our research shows that they work in harmony with the cell to support the cell’s own antioxidant pathways. This dual antioxidant defence appears unique to green tea polyphenols and was not seen with other antioxidants compared in our study, including resveratrol.
So green tea and green rooibos tea work in harmony with the cells natural defence mechanisms and make them an excellent choice as topical antioxidants to use alongside your Red Light Therapy treatment.
Maysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum
Maysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum
Maysama formulate skincare with green rooibos extract. Our unique green rooibos ingredient undergoes a patented extraction process which increases its antioxidant potential making it 70 times more potent than standard rooibos.
Maysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum is formulated for use with Red Light Therapy. Our serum has a gel-like texture and is loaded with humectants, like aloe vera, glycerine and sodium hyaluronate, which aid light penetration, as well as our unique green rooibos extract.
What is the Recommended Protocol for using Red Light Combination Therapy?
The recommended protocol is apply a small amount of serum 15-20 minutes before Red Light Therapy, to allow time for the active ingredients to be fully absorbed by your skin. Then do your red light therapy for the duration recommended by the manufacturer of your mask or panel. Then afterwards, continue with the rest of your skin routine as normal. There is no need to wash the antioxidants off your face before or after the LED therapy.
I often get asked, "could you just brew a cup of tea, green tea or rooibos, and use this with our Red Light Therapy?" Of course, you could but, if you are looking for high performance, then a cosmetic toner or serum will serve you better. Tea’s are produced on the basis of flavour profiles. They are not tested for their antioxidant potential. Cosmetic ingredients, on the other hand, are sold on the basis of performance. So, a green tea extract as a cosmetic ingredient, for example, has been measured for its antioxidant potential. Maysama's green rooibos extract is aspalathin-enriched, which vastly enhances its antioxidant capacity. It has 70 x the antioxidant potential of organic rooibos tea.
Cosmetics are also formulated to improve absorption into the skin. MAYSAMA Green Rooibos Pressed Serum, for example, includes an ingredient called tetrahydropiperine, which comes from turmeric. It is included in the formulation to enhance the uptake and bioavailability of topically applied active compounds.
Aside from performance, cosmetic ingredients have greater purity and greater stability than standard tea. What’s more, unlike many green tea extracts, including organic extracts, Maysama's pharmaceutical grade green rooibos extract has a low heavy metal content and is free from pesticides, making it a highly pure and efficacious ingredient for cosmetic application.
This blog has researched the evidence behind Combination Therapy for Red LED Light treatment for Anti-Aging, using topical antioxidants to complement the free radical producing action of red and near infrared LED devices. Whilst the science for clinical applications of photobiomodulation is at an early stage, the evidence to support combination therapy is compelling and logic prevails - agents that complement each other's actions will enhance the biological response and improve outcomes.
The most accepted explanation for the biological effects of Red LED is the activation of mitochondrial energy metabolism. Since free radicals are a by-product of mitochondrial metabolism, Red LED therapy leads to an increase in free radicals. At low levels, free radicals function as signalling molecules, enhancing fibroblast proliferation and collagen production, and may also activate the cell's own antioxidant defence systems - probably part of the reasons for its anti-aging properties. On the other hand, excessive free radicals inhibits fibroblast proliferation and collagen production and so Red LED therapy is also used to prevent scarring or fibrosis, which is simply an overproduction of collagen and excessive fibroblast proliferation. Understanding this, we would expect that antioxidants are likely to impact on the outcome of Red LED as they will alter the levels of free radicals. Aside from the 2009 NASA report regarding the beneficial effects of green tea, studies shows that resveratrol can antagonize the efficacy of Red LED therapy for fibrosis. And a more recent 2020 study shows that guarana, with a similar profile to green tea, improves outcomes for skin rejuvenation. These studies support that, Combination Therapy using topical antioxidants with Red Light Therapy reduces the incidence of oxidative stress, increases fibroblast proliferation and subsequent collagen production, and enhances the anti-inflammation action of your Red Light device.
These opposing activities suggests that exogenous antioxidants may function to buffer excess free radical production in response to Red LED. And overall, it provides a sound rationale to incorporate antioxidants such as rooibos and green tea to complement Red LED therapy.
Antioxidants that target free radicals in the mitochondrial membrane, like green tea, green rooibos and guarana, act as superoxide dismutase mimetics and therefore likely perform better than most antioxidants to extend the action spectrum of your Red Light Therapy device.
So, if you are using Red Light Therapy for skin rejuvenation, combining your treatment with a topical antioxidant will serve you well. Maysama's unique phytopharmaceutical Green Rooibos Extract is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent and Maysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum is formulated for use with LED treatments. Skin hydration, from high levels of humectants in our gel-formulation, aid light-penetration and our unique pharmaceutical grade green rooibos bioactive ingredient provides superior antioxidant protection from oxidative stress. And not least, you will love the authentic scent of sweet rooibos tea to stimulate your senses and take your skincare ritual to another level!
Maysama are delighted to have partnered with Mito Red Light to bring you this combination therapy at discounted price.
MitoPRO 300 Maysama BundleMaysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum is available directly from Maysama's website
And here’s some great news – if you are looking for a Red Light Therapy device, Mito Red Light are offering their new MitoPro300 Maysama as a bundle with Maysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum, so you will SAVE $35.00 on your order. And, better still, if you would like to purchase any Mito Red Light or the MitoPro300 Maysama bundle, then you can save an extra 5% by entering coupon code MAYSAMA at checkout.
I hope this blog helps you to get the best out of your Red Light Therapy for Anti-aging and wishing you great skin health!