The Differences Between Red and Infrared Light

Light is powerful in many ways and encompasses many forms. Some lights simply illuminate, while others generate reactions, interacting with and changing the surroundings they reach.

Red and infrared lights offer many healing properties that enhance your physical and mental well-being. Both forms of light are commonly used today as therapeutics. Despite often being mistaken as the same thing, red and infrared light operate on two different and distinct wavelengths and vary in benefits. Let’s dive into the distinct differences between red and infrared light to better understand and use them to your advantage.


Wave Type

Light waves are a form of electromagnetic radiation—electrical and magnetic forces deriving from an electric current. On the electromagnetic spectrum, infrared light falls between visible light and microwaves, featuring longer wavelengths and lower frequency than visible light. Red light is where the visible spectrum begins, with higher energy, higher frequencies, and shorter wavelengths than infrared. In between red light and infrared is near-infrared light, which provides a middle ground that gives you properties from both red light and infrared light wavelengths: the longer wavelengths of infrared and the higher energy of visible light.


Light Visibility 

Human eyes only pick up electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between 380 to around 700 nanometers. Red light falls into the visible light category—wavelengths the human eye can pick up—on the electromagnetic spectrum, radiating wavelengths between 620 to 750 nanometers. Infrared light wavelengths are longer and not visible, but they can be detected by the heat they generate.


Penetration Depth

The lights’ wavelengths don’t just determine their visibility; they also affect how deep red and infrared light penetrate surfaces. Infrared light’s longer wavelengths allow it to travel further and deeper into the skin, reaching your subcutaneous layer—the deepest part of your skin. Red light reaches your dermis—the second to last layer of your skin—penetrating past the epidermis and surface level.


Targeted Functionality

Since red and infrared red light reach different layers of the skin, they provide varying functions. The subcutaneous layers of your skin house your fat cells, blood vessels, and nerves. Infrared light breaks up fat cells and toxins, detoxifying your body and increasing blood flow. The heat generated from infrared light also comforts the body, allowing you to relax and get cozy.

Red light mainly promotes collagen production, repairs damaged skin cells, and decreases inflammation. It stays toward the surface of your skin. Red light reduces wrinkles, fades pigmentation and scars, and keeps your skin youthful.


Red and infrared light are forms of light that heal and offer bountiful benefits for your skin, mind, and body. Understanding the differences between red and infrared light allows you to find the best therapeutic treatment for your needs.

Prism’s red light therapylight use near-infrared light to give you a mix of benefits from red light and infrared. As an in-between wavelength on the electromagnetic spectrum, near-infrared wavelengths can target the surface layer of your skin and the lower, deeper subcutaneous layers.

Near-infrared light gives you the benefits of red and infrared light, making sure that you don’t miss out on anything and receive care that caters to all your needs. With Prism’s red light pods and near-infrared technology, you get to detoxify with infrared qualities that repair damaged skin cells and restore youthfulness to your skin with red light properties. Near-infrared light gives you the best of both worlds.