Visible Red Light Emitting Diode Photobiomodulation for Skin Fibrosis: Key Molecular Pathways

Andrew Mamalis, Daniel Siegel, Jared Jagdeo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Skin fibrosis, also known as skin scarring, is an important global health problem that affects an estimated 100 million persons per year worldwide. Current therapies are associated with significant side effects and even with combination therapy, progression, and recurrence is common. Our goal is to review the available published data available on light-emitting diode-generated (LED) red light phototherapy for treatment of skin fibrosis. A search of the published literature from 1 January 2000 to present on the effects of visible red light on skin fibrosis, and related pathways was performed in January 2016. A search of PubMed and EMBASE was completed using specific keywords and MeSH terms. “Fibrosis” OR “skin fibrosis” OR “collagen” was combined with (“light emitting diode,” “LED,” “laser,” or “red light”). The articles that were original research studies investigating the use of visible red light to treat skin fibrosis or related pathways were selected for inclusion. Our systematic search returned a total of 1376 articles. Duplicate articles were removed resulting in 1189 unique articles, and 133 non-English articles were excluded. From these articles, we identified six articles related to LED effects on skin fibrosis and dermal fibroblasts. We augmented our discussion with additional in vitro data on related pathways. LED phototherapy is an emerging therapeutic modality for treatment of skin fibrosis. There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that visible LED light, especially in the red spectrum, is capable of modulating key cellular characteristic associated with skin fibrosis. We anticipate that as the understanding of LED-RL’s biochemical mechanisms and clinical effects continue to advance, additional therapeutic targets in related pathways may emerge. We believe that the use of LED-RL, in combination with existing and new therapies, has the potential to alter the current treatment paradigm of skin fibrosis. There is a current lack of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of LED-RL to treat skin fibrosis. Randomized clinical trials are needed to demonstrate visible red light’s clinical efficacy on different types of skin fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Dermatology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Collagen
  • Fibroblast
  • LED
  • Low level light therapy
  • Photobiomodulation
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Red light
  • Skin fibrosis
  • Visible light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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