LED Light Therapy 101: Dermatologist Insights on the Popular Trend

LED Light Therapy 101: Dermatologist Insights on the Popular Trend featured image
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In the quest for radiant skin, the beauty industry has embraced a technological innovation: LED light therapy, delivered through LED masks. A celeb favorite (Kim Kardashian, Naomi Watts and Catherine Zeta Jones are big fans)—it offers a spectrum of benefits from stimulating collagen production to treating acne—these masks have garnered widespread attention. To decipher the hype and provide a clear understanding, we’ve consulted top dermatologists for their insights on this trending skin-care phenomenon.

How LED Helps Certain Skin Conditions

Southlake, TX and Monroe, LA dermatologist Janine Hopkins, MD speaks highly of LED light therapy’s versatility. She explains, “LED light therapy, specifically blue and red light, activates pathways that help reduce inflammation and trigger healing.” While blue light effectively combats acne and rosacea, red light penetrates deeper into the skin layers, promoting collagen production and mitigating early signs of aging.

@mertalas Kate Moss using the CurrentBody Demalux Flex MD LED device ($2495). The device consists of 360 LED bulbs (120 blue, 120 red, and 120 near-infrared) to target specific conditions.

Red Light LED Benefits

New York dermatologist Orit Markowitz, MD adds, “Red light masks have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, while similar wavelengths stimulate hair growth.” These insights underscore the therapeutic potential of LED masks in addressing diverse skin concerns.

The cellular-level magic of LED masks lies in the distinct wavelengths they emit. Red light, for instance, reaches the papillary dermis, sparking fibroblast cells responsible for collagen production. Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD says, “Red light therapy promotes collagen and elastin production, visibly reducing fine lines and wrinkles.”

MZ Skin Lightmax Supercharged LED Mask 2.0 ($818) gives a hands-free experience and has modes to treat acne, fine lines and redness.

Blue Light LED Benefits

Simultaneously, blue light targets the skin’s oil glands, effectively managing oil production and curbing breakouts. “Blue light eliminates acne-causing bacteria,” Dr. Schlessinger continues, “but it’s most effective when incorporated into a comprehensive acne treatment routine.”

The pocket-sized FaceGym Acne Light Shot ($72) can be used anywhere on the body to target breakouts.

Are LED Masks Safe?

When it comes to safety, dermatologists across the board reassure that LED masks are generally suitable for all skin types. Dr. Hopkins advocates for using protective eyewear when treating areas near the eyes, safeguarding against potential discomfort. However, individuals prone to seizures triggered by flashing lights should avoid LED masks with flickering capabilities.

LED Masks vs. Traditional Skin Care

While LED masks have been proven effective in clinical studies, experts like Dr. Schlessinger recommend integrating them into broader skin-care regimens for optimal outcomes. “Clinical studies back the efficacy of LED masks,” he notes, “results will vary depending on the device and consistency of use.”

Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill emphasizes the gradual yet promising nature of LED mask benefits. “Results vary based on the person,” she notes, “and we all have different skin types.”

Dr. Dennis Gross has expanded the SpectraLite line with the LipWare Pro ($148), which treats fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. 

Your LED Journey

Amid the burgeoning popularity of LED masks, it’s crucial to approach them with a balanced perspective. While their potential benefits are substantial, they’re best utilized as part of a well-rounded skin-care routine. Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD offers a candid viewpoint: “I don’t believe in them, and they can worsen melasma. It’s just more stuff to sell.”

As you embark on your LED light therapy journey, remember that consistency and moderation are key. Consult with a dermatologist before introducing new devices if you have a specific skin condition. 

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