Testicle Tanning and Red Light Therapy

Why you probably don’t need to shine a light on your genitals

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd
7 min readApr 25, 2022


Pictured: Helpful for your balls or just another fad? Photo by MJH Shikder on Unsplash

In the long list of things that you are never quite ready to write about, the practice of testicular red light therapy, or “ball tanning” as some have called it, is definitely up there near the top. It’s not necessarily that it’s the most bizarre subject I’ve ever come across — the honor of that goes to fire therapy, the practice of literally setting yourself on fire — or even the most harmful one, but it is certainly something that I never really expected to see pulled out of the bucket of What If?

But a short while ago, a clip from Tucker Carlson’s new show went viral with a man confidently arguing that exposing your genitalia to red light could raise testosterone and really just do you a world of good. And so, like a dedicated scientist who has his own testes to worry about, I had a look at the evidence to see whether there was any truth to the claim that we are all suffering and the only thing that can fix us is a red LED pointed at our junk.

“Take one penis light, 10 minutes a day. No sir, I’m not joking. Please stop laughing, sir.” Photo by Łukasz Nieścioruk on Unsplash

The short answer is: probably not. The long answer involves a little bit of science. Let’s dig in.

The Science

Let’s start with a short description of what we’re looking at. Red light therapy, or near-infrared therapy, is a very simple intervention whereby you shine a red light on some part of your body. There really isn’t much more to it — while expensive wellness centers offer variations on the basic idea, at its core the only thing you need for red light therapy is a lightbulb and a red shade of some kind.

Pictured: Therapeutic. Photo by Joshua Sun on Unsplash

Whenever I look into a new subject, whether it’s geophagy, the practice of…