Infrared saunas have become synonymous with relaxation and even pain relief. Doctors and naturopaths agree that infrared is a valid treatment for stress, recovery, and pain. There are added benefits as well, many of which we’re really just beginning to understand. Two benefits that are also related to skin health include cellulite reduction and collagen production. And each of these infrared sauna “beauty” benefits can be achieved with the help of far-infrared and near-infrared light therapy.
Yes, you can experience youthful, more healthy skin from infrared sauna sessions! This doesn’t mean you should throw out your moisturizer or scrap your fitness routine. Infrared works as a complement to a healthy diet, exercise, and regular care of your body.
Let’s find out how you can gain beauty benefits from infrared saunas.
Beauty & Infrared: Understanding Cellulite
Cellulite affects the cosmetic appearance of your skin, typically your thighs, stomach, or rear end. It shows up as a lumpy or dimpled appearance on the surface. Interestingly, 80-90% of women have cellulite as compared to 10% of men. Experts believe this is because women produce more estrogen than men, and “one of estrogen’s many functions is stimulating the storage of fat.”
Cellulite results when “fibrous bands connecting your skin to the underlying muscle tighten irregularly.” The result is a puckered appearance on the skin. Some call it orange peel or cottage cheese thighs. Whatever you name it, it’s not harmful, but it’s not considered attractive.
How to remove cellulite is an age-old quandary. Skin creams and lotions, even massage, aren’t super effective in reducing what some call ‘the other cheek’ dimples.
So, then how does infrared support a beauty routine?
Fat vs Cellulite: Are they the same?
Cellulite can appear as another layer of fat that stubbornly clings to thighs and other areas, seemingly impossible to get rid of. It’s a condition that’s hard to treat effectively. Hormones play a part for sure, but there’s more to it.
Medical researchers determined that cellulite occurs within the adipose tissue. Additionally, “decreased blood flow in this (cellulite-prone) region of the body makes it difficult for lipids to be released from the adipose tissue and also leads to water retention, which further contributes to cellulite.”
Here’s the interesting part: Adipose tissue, also called brown fat, can be stimulated by heat.
Infrared heat quickly and painlessly penetrates the body, heating from the inside out. In the process, it stimulates cellulite, or adipose tissue, nearest the surface of your skin. This tissue or ‘brown fat’ is what helps us insulate and stay warm in cooler temperatures. It’s not necessarily bad. In fact, we need a certain amount of it in our bodies.
However, this increased circulation and energy produced from infrared heat stimulates the brown fat which in turn helps burn off detrimental white fat. White fat, or visceral fat, is what can cause serious health issues, including obesity. As visceral fat builds up, it can press against the adipose tissue, causing a bumpy appearance of the skin, or cellulite. As it burns off, cellulite is reduced.
So, while cellulite is not so much unwanted fat as tissue, infrared is a support factor in cellulite reduction and improved health. One study combined infrared with other treatments to reach positive, safe results.
But, how else can infrared help our appearance? Keep reading!
Beauty & Infrared: Understanding Collagen
If you’re looking for something to help your skin stay looking young you’ve seen the myriad of products incorporating collagen or supplements you can take. Collagen is a protein found throughout the body. It’s found in the structure of our skin, bones, cartilage, and muscle and helps tissues stay elastic and pliable.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen but as we age that production slows. One of its functions is to help skin retain moisture, so a lack of collagen leads to drier skin and wrinkles.
Bad habits like smoking, poor diet, and dehydration accelerate the appearance of wrinkles. Turning these bad habits into good ones helps keep wrinkles at bay. Collagen supplements were created to add to our diet to keep us looking and feeling youthful and healthy.
It turns out that infrared therapy can do the same
Smooth Moves: Collagen And Infrared
Many of us are on a quest, searching for skin solutions as we age. And not just for our face but also for our neck, chest, and arms. There are thousands of cosmetic options, from moisturizers to laser peels and even surgery. Collagen is the one thing we all could use more of as we age.
Several studies have shown infrared can enhance collagen production, safely and regularly.
We shared in a previous article that a small study done in Asia showed, that “the content of collagen and elastin produced increased after infrared radiation proportional to the duration of exposure. Following treatment, all patients reported good (51-75%) improvements in skin texture and roughness.”
Several years later another study concluded that “Infrared irradiation provides safe and effective long-term stimulation of collagen I and III and elastin, which is beneficial for improving skin laxity and wrinkles.”
Additionally, New York board-certified dermatologist Dr. Maria Garshick also believes infrared be beneficial. She shared, “Infrared is next to red light on the electromagnetic spectrum, but because it is a longer wavelength, it can penetrate deeper—so it can be helpful for healing and skin regeneration, even on its own.”
What we’ve learned overall about beauty benefits and infrared saunas is that infrared, while it penetrates beneath the skin, can help improve appearance as much as our overall health. Doctors and scientists are discovering more about this holistic health approach each year.