Pricey serums, snail slime, tattooed lips—the word “extreme” means nothing when it comes to beauty. Glowing, perfect skin is my #goals, which is why I’ll try just about anything to give my complexion a nofilter finish. So, when I saw all of my favorite beauty gurus putting on blindingly bright Jason Voorhees-esque face masks in the name of clear pores, I was heavily intrigued. It was then that I started my deep dive into the skincare craze of the future: LED Light Therapy.
What Is LED Light Therapy?
Simply put by Cindy Kim, co-founder of NY-based facial bar Silver Mirror and K-beauty retail site Peach and Lily, LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” and works by shooting out infrared lights in different wavelengths to penetrate skin and trigger different “intracellular reactions.”
“LED light therapy has long been the secret weapon of choice for skincare aficionados who are looking to improve their skin,” Kim says. “Each color penetrates the skin at different depths and provides its own unique skin benefits.”
So, how did this trend come to light in the first place? You can thank NASA: the space agency found that LED light therapy can actually induce wound healing and tissue growth. Since wounds don’t heal very well in space (who knew, right?), this information was found very useful for astronauts.
Since their findings, LED light therapy has been used for an array of treatments: namely hair loss, chronic lower back pain, even as a cancer treatment in conjunction with medication. But, estheticians and facialists have been dabbling with this form of light therapy to target different skin conditions, as well.
The Color Breakdown
Not every LED light is created equally—but they all have different benefits for most skin concerns. According to Kim, the most common LED lights are red, blue, amber, and green. Kim notes that the red light is known to penetrate skin the deepest, and has been proven in a 2014 study to combat wrinkles, fine lines, skin texture, and increase collagen production. Blue, on the other hand, has been proven to destroy acne-causing bacteria, while amber light helps reduce redness, sensitivity, and UV damage. Amber light has also been shown to improve healing after fractional laser skin resurfacing. According to Kim, green light can help with skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation.
At Home Vs. The Spa
View this post on Instagram
Studies have shown that LED light builds collagen in quantifiable percentages, speeds healing of body by 300%, corrects fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage and acne scars. It’s sort of like having a magic wand. My patented LED RevitaLight bed allows your entire body to be surrounded by the LED light and can be programed to target treat different areas of the body, including the face. Because it’s a noninvasive treatment, you need to do it in a series. It should be done once a week with a minimum of 12 treatments. $150 for 20 minutes.
So, where can you douse your skin in these miracle lights? If you want a powerful dose of LED light therapy, then you should look up a local spa that can provide a treatment tailored to your skin concerns. “At-home LED devices are not as powerful as those used in professional treatments and can sometimes use LED lights that are not emitting power at the true wavelengths needed to penetrate the skin,” says Kim.
But, we get it, these treatments can be very pricey and sometimes hard to find. So, if you’re taking the at-home route, Kim recommends investing in an at-home LED device and using it diligently and routinely. “The benefits of LED therapy are cumulative, so the more you can do it the better,” she says.
Want to bask in the LED rays in the comfort of your own home? Then check out our favorite devices, below.
Lightstim for Acne
This handheld device uses the power of blue and red LED lights to give your skin the ultimate clarity. It’s great for treating mild to moderate acne, and keeps skin calm while keeping redness at bay. BTW: there’s also another version that’s perfect for smoothing wrinkles.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare SpectraLite Eyecare Pro LED Device
The thinnest, most delicate area of your skin is around your eyes, so you should always show is some extra love. To keep its youthful, crease-free appearance in tact, put on these futuristic glasses. They emit 72 red LED lights to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you want a full face of LED power, the brand also offers a mask that allows you to choose from five different colors to target your varying skin concerns.
TUYA Pro 7 Color LED Face Mask
Offering a whopping array of seven different LED light colors to choose from, this is definitely the best pick for people who want a full variety to choose from. Compared to other light masks, it’s also pretty affordable.
Déesse Pro Led Face Mask
A beloved celebrity favorite, this is the mask you buy when you want to take the “extra” approach. There’s eight colors to choose from, plus three time settings to adjust your LED light therapy session to your agenda.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask
If you want the luxury treatment on a budget, then this drugstore pick is for you. This mask treats your skin to a burst of red light, for a quick 10 minute boost of skin rejuvenation.