Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to new technology and so-called disruptors. But in terms of skincare and beauty, I’d like all of the advancements, and I’d like them now, please. I’d seen facial LED masks before, as well as heard about the benefits of light therapy for skin. But could it really work wonders on my own problematic skin? Here’s a deeper dive into the science behind this trend, my own experience with it, and my overall LED light therapy review.
The Science Behind LED Light Therapy for Skin
While you can undergo LED light therapy at a derm’s office or medspa, recently developed at-home LED masks have been cropping up on the market. While less potent than professional treatments, these LED masks use the same technology to fight breakouts and signs of aging. Always game to try the latest skincare treatments and trends, I had to get my hands on one, especially after learning more about their benefits.
Blue Light Therapy
In terms of skin health, blue light can help reduce breakouts. (Note: It’s different from the screen-emitting kind that can damage your eyes and distress your complexion.) A 2011 study found that over 90-percent of participants benefited from improved skin clarity, radiance, tone, and texture following eight weeks of treatment with blue light, skincare acids, and niacinamide. But how does it work, exactly? Courtney Brooks, Director of Aesthetics and Medical Aesthetician at Dr. Dennis Gross in NYC, explains that “blue light kills P. acnes bacteria, which causes acne and sits in the base of the pore.” Essentially, by zapping this bacteria at the root, there’s less of a chance for it to manifest in the form of a pesky breakout on the skin’s surface.
(For the record, the American Academy of Dermatology notes that blue light therapy for acne is effective in combatting inflammatory breakouts, rather than blackheads and cysts.)
Red Light Therapy
As for red light therapy? A 2013 review outlined its rejuvenating potential in terms of increasing collagen production, staving off cell damage, and limiting sebum production. Even further, a 2014 clinical trial demonstrated “significantly improved skin complexion and skin feeling, profilometrically assessed skin roughness, and ultrasonographically measured collagen density” in participants following 30 sessions of red light therapy. Lastly, Courtney adds that red light therapy is “great for acne patients since it reduces inflammation, making any angry breakouts you have heal faster.”
My LED Light Therapy Review + Experience
I’d read that the SpectraLite™ FaceWare Pro by Dr. Dennis Gross was among the best at-home LED masks on the market. I’ve also been a loyal fan of the brand since high school, and I typically have good faith in derm-developed skincare lines, so it was a natural choice. (It’s worth mentioning that this device is an investment for most. However, you can think of it as a cost-effective alternative for pricier in-office LED treatments, which can run up to three figures a pop.)
I started my LED mask trial a week before my 30th birthday (shout out Leo season and tricenarians!), still riding out the glow from my microinfusion treatment. I committed to use both the blue light therapy for acne and red light therapy to reduce wrinkles and stimulate collagen production. Two birds, one stone FTW. As for the optics? A pretty pinkish/purple hybrid that’s equal parts creepy and whimsical. Think: Friday the 13th’s Jason, but make it fashion.
How the LED Mask Fit into My Routine
I perform my skincare regimen on autopilot and without fail, so the consistency needed to reap the benefits was easy peasy. I’d strap on the mask daily either directly post-shower, after using DDG’s cult-fave Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads, or following my thrice-weekly cleansing masks. (I use some photosensitizing topicals—vitamin C and retinoid among them—so I made sure to layer them on after my LED sessions.) Before settling down to let the light do its duty, I’d pause my playlist for a built-in mini meditation. Sure, each run is only three minutes long, but I still reveled in this small window of me time.
DDG’s clinical studies with the SpectraLite™ FaceWare Pro demonstrated skin-clearing improvements in two weeks and anti-aging benefits in 10. Aiming for a comprehensive before/after evaluation, I marked my calendar for the long haul.
During my LED trial, HUM happened to have a Visia Skin Analysis machine in the office to measure our in-house study for Mighty Night. Luckily, I was able to empirically track my results at both the four- and 10-week marks:
- spots reduced from 64 to 50
- enlarged pores reduced from 138 to 106
- wrinkles reduced from 12 to 1 (side view) and 34 to 22 (front view)
As for my own observations? I notice a handful of welcome changes. My skin definitely feels bouncier, which I consider a mega win as I incorporate more pro-aging products into my routine. My hyperpigmentation has lightened up, and I’ve also had fewer inflammatory flare-ups—albeit contingent upon my diet and other lifestyle factors. (As I confessed to my esthetician, I’ve certainly upped my wine intake. There was also that week of cheese. And then that other week of cheese…) But in sum, my LED light therapy review is a positive one.
I’m still on a journey for my skin to be as clear as day. However, it was validating to have quantifiably positive results at the end of the recommended 10-week period. And I’ll definitely continue using the LED mask to maintain these benefits. Overall, I’d recommend the mask as an add-on for anyone who’s consistent and patient with their skincare routine looking to up-level (yet not necessarily replace) their topical and supplement regimen.