Does LED Light Therapy Really Benefit Your Skin? Here’s Our Review

by Michele Ross

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We tried one of the best light therapy face masks daily for 10 weeks to see if it would help reduce acne, wrinkles, and more. Here’s our full at-home LED light therapy review.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to new forms of “disruptive” technology. But when it comes to skincare, I’d like all of the advancements and I’d like them now, thank you very much.

I’d seen facial LED masks at beauty retailers and heard about the benefits of light therapy for skin before. But could this treatment really work wonders to address my biggest skin concerns?

Here’s a deeper dive into the science behind the trend, my own experience with it, and my final LED light therapy review.

What is LED light therapy?

While you can get an LED light therapy treatment at a derm’s office or med spa, at-home LED masks have been cropping up left and right on the market. Though less potent than professional treatments, LED masks still 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.

Benefits of Blue Light Therapy

In terms of skin health, blue LED light can help reduce breakouts. (Note: The level of blue light differs from the screen-emitting kind that can strain your eyes and even cause skin damage.)

Following eight weeks of treatment with blue light, skincare acids, and niacinamide, over 90 percent of participants in a 2011 study benefited from improvements in:

  • skin clarity
  • radiance
  • tone + texture

But how does blue light therapy work, exactly?

“Blue light kills P. acnes bacteria, which causes acne and sits in the base of the pore,” explains Courtney Brooks, Medical Aesthetician and Director of Aesthetics at Dr. Dennis Gross in NYC. 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 to combat inflammatory breakouts, rather than blackheads and cysts.

dr dennis gross led mask with red LED light to reduce wrinkles and spots

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

As for red light therapy? A 2013 review outlined its benefits to rejuvenate skin by:

  • increasing collagen production
  • staving off cell damage
  • 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.

Courtney adds that red light therapy is great for acne patients since it reduces inflammation. As a result, your breakouts have a fighting chance to heal faster.

My LED Light Therapy Review + Results

Here’s my step-by-step journey of finding the best LED mask for my needs, how I used it, and how I measured my final results.

Why I Chose the Dr. Dennis Gross LED Mask

I’d read that the SpectraLite™ FaceWare Pro by Dr. Dennis Gross was one of the best LED masks on the market. I’d also been a fan of the brand since high school, and I typically have good faith in derm-developed skincare lines.

(Note: This device is an investment for most people. However, you can think of it as a cost-effective alternative for pricier in-office LED light treatments, which can run up to three figures a pop.)

I committed to using the hybrid of 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 Light Therapy Face Mask Fit into My Routine

Clinical studies with the Dr. Dennis Gross LED mask demonstrated skin-clearing improvements in two weeks and anti-aging benefits in 10 weeks. Aiming for a comprehensive before and after review, I marked my calendar for 10 weeks ahead.

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 every day, either directly post-shower or after rinsing off my thrice-weekly cleansing masks. (I use some photosensitizing topical ingredients—vitamin C and retinoids among them—so I took care to layer them on only after my LED mask 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.

Before and After Results

During my LED mask trial, HUM happened to have a Visia Skin Analysis machine on hand to measure results for our Mighty Night pre-launch study.

Luckily, I was able to track my final LED mask results at the 10-week mark compared to my baseline. Here are the specific numbers the Visia machine noticed:

  • 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 from the naked eye?

My skin definitely feels bouncier, which I consider a win as I incorporate more pro-aging products into my routine. My hyperpigmentation has also lightened up, and I’ve 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…)

All things considered, my LED light therapy review is a positive one.

Final Thoughts

I’m still on a journey to achieve clear and glowing glass skin. However, it was validating to have quantifiable metrics to evaluate my full before and after LED mask results. I’ll definitely continue using the Dr. Dennis Gross LED mask to maintain these benefits.

Overall, I’d recommend a light therapy face mask as an add-on for anyone who’s consistent and patient with their skincare routine. It’s a good tool to enhance—yet not necessarily replace—a topical and supplement regimen geared for your main concerns.


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