What are LED Light Therapy Masks & Do They Really Work?
There’s nothing we love more than investigating new skincare trends. So, when we noticed posts about light therapy masks were popping up daily on our Instagram feed, we absolutely had to know more. A little research revealed that these masks mimic the LED light procedures you might get at your derm’s office, to combat acne, wrinkles and other skin concerns. But do the at-home versions actually work? Light therapy masks aren’t cheap, so we decided to talk to a couple of experts before making the investment. Here’s what they had to say.
What are light therapy masks?
Well, apparently, they’re just like any other topical skincare product you might apply. “Just like vitamin C, your skin cells have receptors for LED,” explains Dr. Dennis Gross, M.D., dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare. “Then the light [from the mask] enters a cell and performs diverse functions,” he explains. Red LED light stimulates collagen production, helping with things like age spots, sun damage and wrinkles whereas blue LED light kills acne-causing bacteria and purifies the skin.
OK, but do they really work?
Short answer: Yes. But don’t expect your light therapy mask to be a cure-all, cautions Dr. Shari Marchbein, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine. She notes that light therapy masks can improve mild acne and inflammation and reduce wrinkles. That said, they’re not as powerful as in-office treatments, so the results will likely be more modest. According to Dr. Elizabeth Buzney, M.D., an assistant professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School, studies on the effectiveness of at-home LED light therapy devices look promising, but more research needs to be done. However, if you prefer to improve your skin from the comfort of your own home, there’s no harm in trying one. “They are relatively safe, and the benefit is that they can comfortably be used at home with low risk,” Dr. Marchbein adds.
Here, seven top-rated light therapy masks that will take your masking routine to the next level.
1. Best Overall: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare SpectraLite FaceWare Pro
This is the most popular light therapy mask on the market, and we can see why. It’s equipped with both red and blue LED lights that can be used interchangeably or together to smooth wrinkles and fight acne. And, according to users, it really works. One reviewer calls the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro “a savior” for her skin. “I’ve seen a huge improvement in my skin tone over the past three months [since I started using it],” she writes. The brand notes that it could take up to 10 weeks of use to see noticeable results, but most reviewers claim they saw an improvement in breakouts much sooner. Oh, and this mask is FDA-approved, too.
2. Best Budget: Newkey LED Face Mask
This affordable option has serious range. It can emit seven different LED lights that combat everything from redness and acne to pigmentation and rough texture. Seems too good to be true, right? We thought so, but the over 200 five-star reviews say otherwise. Users credit this mask with clearing their complexions and making their skin smoother and brighter than ever before.
3. Best Splurge: Olivela MZ Skin Light Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device
In addition to red and blue light, this mask also has a green light option that can even skin tone and brighten the complexion, yellow light to reduce redness and white light to repair the skin. Basically, it can address every skin concern you could ever have. Start by using it two to three times a week for 10 minutes and slowly increase that time to 30 minutes, for the best results.
4. Best for Anti-Aging: The Light Salon Boost Advanced LED Light Therapy Face Mask
The Light Salon, a London-based light therapy spa, created this at-home version of their Skin Health & Rejuvenation Treatment that’s designed to strengthen, lift and plump your skin. The mask has red LED light to help slow signs of aging, as well as near-infrared light, a powerful wavelength that promises to promote skin regeneration.
5. Best for Acne: Foreo Espada Blue Light Acne Treatment
OK, so this is technically a hand-held device but it’s the best of the best when it comes to LED light acne treatments. The Foreo Espada combines blue light and T-Sonic pulsations to fight bacteria and encourage skin renewal. Simply hold it on your blemish for 30 seconds, until it pulses to let you know the treatment is complete. For mild acne, apply two 30 second treatments per day. For moderate acne, do three to four.
6. Best for Neck: The Light Salon Boost LED Advanced Light Therapy Décolletage Bib
Starting to notice signs of aging on your neck and chest? Don’t worry, this light therapy bib will change that. Its flexible, soft silicone design has built-in red and near-infrared light to improve the appearance of sunspots and smooth the skin. Use it for 10 minutes a day three to five days per week. And you can even use it on your shoulders and back, should you want to.
7. Best for Lips: Conair True Glow LED Light Therapy Anti-Aging Device
Our lips (and the skin around them) can show signs of aging too. This three-minute daily treatment uses LEDs to combat smile lines and wrinkles around the mouth, while also boosting collagen and elastin production for plumper lips.