Low-level light therapy commonly used for cosmetic purposes is effective in treating acute wounds and diabetic foot ulcers, according to multiple studies over several years, according to two systematic reviews cited in September’s Wounds.

The first review included 31 randomized control trials using LEDs for conditions ranging from shingles to acute wounds. Researchers found light therapy improved acute wound outcomes well enough to warrant a recommendation, although the technique had not yet received FDA approval as of publication. Specifically, the team reported daily use of yellow or red LEDs until wound resolution could reduce healing time and erythema in acute wounds.

The second review looked at four studies using low-light therapies on diabetic foot ulcers. Compared to standard care over 12 or 20 weeks of treatment, they reported all four improved some aspect of DFU healing with no adverse effects.

More trials could pinpoint a “sweet spot” for low-level light therapy parameters for efficacy and cost-effectiveness, according to Laura Bolton, Ph.D., a Wounds advisory board member.