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Is Infrared Light Harmful To Your Skin And Eyes?

On its own, natural radiation is usually safe. However, any form of radiation is considered dangerous when concentrated into small beams of significant power.

What are Infrared rays?

Infrared light rays are a type of radiant energy that our eyes cannot see, but which we feel as heat. Any matter in the universe emits infrared light, including two common items in daily life- the Sun and fire.

In order to understand infrared light rays, we first need to look at the electromagnetic spectrum in which it exists. Electromagnetic radiation is produced when electric and magnetic fields are disturbed.

Radiation caused by electrons is released as photons, which are particles of light energy traveling in waves at the speed of light. The electromagnetic spectrum categorizes the types of energy based on their wavelength.

Infrared Light

Infrared light is a category of radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum, defined as light energy between the wavelengths of 0.7 micrometers (0.00002756 inches) and 0.1 millimeters (0.0039 inches).

Infrared light has a longer wavelength than visible light, but a lower frequency. The shorter infrared waves known as “near-infrared” do not emit heat that is easily detected.

They are commonly used by devices such as remote controls. The longer infrared waves known as “far-infrared” are close to the microwave category of the electromagnetic spectrum. They could be perceived as intense heat, including that emitted by the Sun.

How Is Infrared Light Produced?

Much of infrared radiation (IR) is produced by heat.

Atoms are constantly vibrating or moving, possessing different levels of energy. When atoms receive a lot of energy, they leave the ground-state energy level and reach an excited level.

Electrons orbiting the nucleus of the atom become energized and eventually release energy as photons or light particles. This is where you may observe heating elements changing color to red, such as those on an electric stove.

In short-range communication devices, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) produce infrared light by focusing infrared radiation through a plastic lens.

The receiver then uses a silicon photodiode to convert infrared light to electricity. This mechanism is widely used for remote controls.

Is Infrared Radiation Dangerous?

On its own, natural radiation is usually safe. However, any form of radiation is considered dangerous when concentrated into small beams of significant power.

Imagine placing your hands on a hot iron- you are sure to suffer from burns! By the same principle, looking at a laser light or working with molten metals in the long-term without protective eyewear, could result in damage to your health.

Dangers Of Infrared Light

Infrared light is widely used in factories and for heating and lasers. The near-infrared waves do not feel hot and pose a danger to the skin and eyes.

Human skin feels pain when exposed to excessive heat, while the eyes may not be as sensitive. Thus, closing your eyes may not help in reducing damage from infrared rays.

Long-term exposure to infrared radiation has been blamed for causing damage to the lens and retina. This leads to conditions such as retinal burns, cataracts, and corneal ulcers.

Know about the dangers of infrared pointers

As mentioned in our earlier articles, infrared laser pointers may be dangerous above a certain class rating.

Radiation from the infrared laser can temporarily disturb your vision. In severe cases, there could be permanent harm, while prolonged exposure even to mild levels of infrared light may cause harm to your health.

In order to avoid this risk, consider buying a recommended presentation pointer that is safe for consumer use!


Is non-ionizing radiation harmful?

Non-ionizing radiation can be found in heat lamps, microwaves, and tanning beds. It’s of a lower frequency and is considered to be less harmful than ionizing radiation.

This type of radiation is safe to an extent, but it can cause increased risk to skin and eyes. But it doesn’t seep into the tissues, which means that it can’t cause cancer.

I wouldn’t suggest exposing yourself to non-ionizing radiation for regular prolonged periods. But from time to time, it’s not harmful at all.

What is ionising radiation?

Is ultraviolet radiation harmful?

There’s often a misconception about ultraviolet radiation. UV rays are found in the sun rays as well as tanning beds.

There are benefits and downsides to UV rays. One benefit is that it activates our bodies to produce Vitamin D.

It’s also used as a skin treatment for conditions such as psoriasis. It’s also used for sterilization, improving moods, and it’s also helpful for animals and insects.

However, UV radiation can also cause terrible effects such as sunburns, skin aging, eye problems, and a weakened immune system.

The worst part is that too much exposure to UV radiation can lead to skin cancer. So it’s important to take steps to protect ourselves from UV radiation.

How does UV radiation cause cancer?

If we’re exposed to too much UV radiation, it can damage the DNA in our skin cells. Constant and prolonged exposure would accumulate damaged DNA.

Once it builds up, cells might keep growing out of control! This will lead to skin cancer.

Some people are more likely to have skin cancer, but each person can develop cancer.

You can be exposed to UV rays even on cloudy days, so it’s important to put on sunscreen with the right SPF!

How UV Causes Cancer and Aging

Do lasers emit radiation?

Not many people know this, but the word ‘laser’ actually stands for “Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation”!

The answer to the above question is definitely “Yes”. The main difference between lasers is the type of radiation emitted, which could be visible or invisible.

The most basic form of lasers comprises a sealed tube with a pair of mirrors, and a laser medium that uses some form of energy to produce radiation. This radiation could be visible light, ultraviolet, or infrared radiation.

Laser radiation can be emitted in a tight beam, posing hazards to bystanders. Your eye may focus the laser beam onto a tiny spot on the retina, causing burns or blindness in that spot.

A brief history of Lasers

Laser technology is now well over 50 years old. In 1900, the physicist Max Planck deduced that energy could be absorbed or emitted in chunks. He later won a Nobel Prize for this discovery.

In 1905, Albert Einstein suggested that light energy is emitted in particles called photons. He then proposed a process whereby electrons could be stimulated to emit light in specific wavelengths.

In the 1950s, Charles Hard Townes, Herbert J. Zeiger, and James P. Gordon developed a “maser” device based on Einstein’s theories. The word “maser” stood for “microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”.

This was the precursor to the modern laser. Townes and his brother-in-law developed an optical maser device for Bell Labs.

Separately, Gordon Gould wrote down his ideas for a laser in his notebook and applied for a joint patent with his employer. This resulted in a patent dispute that lasted over 30 years.

From the 1960s onwards, many laser devices were developed for commercial applications. Innovations such as laser diodes, medical tools, laserdiscs, fiber optics, cutting tools, barcode scanners, and integrated circuits made use of laser technology.

New devices were created and processes were improved, contributing greatly to society as we know it today.

3 thoughts on “Is Infrared Light Harmful To Your Skin And Eyes?”

  1. Am considering using infrared for a sauna and am wondering if the radiation from infrared may be not good.
    Seems to have advantages and disadvantages. Any input will be appreciated> Thanking you in advance for yours.

    [email protected]


    • Hey Ron,
      Our answer is depending on your infrared machine which should emit pure infrared radiation. Other kinds of radiation such as Ultraviolet would be dangerous.
      As we have stated above, the pure low powered infrared is safe, but a cheap machine emitting a mix of radiation may not be safe.
      Do make research on machines by yourself first.
      We hope this helps.


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