If you’ve ever seen a celebrity wearing a Phantom of the Opera style facial device on Instagram (we see you, Kristen Bell!), you’re at least familiar with the look of a light emitting diode (LED) light therapy mask. These foreign-looking tools are actually scientifically-proven skincare treatments that work to fight the effects of aging and kick acne to the curb. Read on to find out more about them and where you can find your own personal fountain of youth mask.
What is an LED light therapy mask?
Developed by NASA (yes!) as a method for stimulating plant growth and treating astronaut wounds, LED light therapy has since been adopted by beauty care professionals for skincare treatments. It works by using different wavelengths of light — most commonly red and blue — to target different ailments of the skin. “LED light is essentially acting like the sun to a plant,” dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum, MD, told Vogue in 2016. “It is penetrating the skin to a cellular level and subsequently causing different intra- and intercellular reactions.”
Research shows that red light therapy can be an effective anti-aging tool. According to a 2013 study, red light, which is known to penetrate deeper than blue light, can be useful in reducing inflammation. A separate study the following year also showed that red light therapy subjects saw “significantly improved skin complexion and skin feeling" as far as roughness and collagen density went.
Blue light therapy, meanwhile, can be effective in the treatment of acne. A 2009 study published by The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that daily blue light therapy home treatment for mild to moderate acne “reduced the number of acne lesions significantly.” It also showed “a significant improvement” in overall skin conditions.
How to Use LED Light Therapy Masks
Though LED light therapy masks do not contain ultraviolet rays and are largely considered to be safe for general use, they do come with some warnings about how best to use them. A 2016 recall of a popular Neutrogena model sparked some concerns over vision safety, as prolonged exposure to blue or red light can cause damage without proper eye protection. To avoid this, experts recommend using blackout or opaque goggles with these devices.
Masks will vary, but most range from three to 20 minutes per treatment, while the more focused devices call for around 30 seconds per problem area. Some recommend daily use, while others suggest three to four times per week.
Where to Buy LED Light Therapy Masks
Unlike your typical beauty products, these skin-changing devices won’t typically be found on the shelves of your local Sephora, so Woman’s World rounded up a list of the best LED light therapy masks on the market — and the places you can scoop them up. Keep scrolling for our top picks!
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