6 LED Masks and Devices for Your Best Skin Ever
You may look straight out of a sci-fi movie when using an LED mask, but experts say it’s worth it given the anti-aging and acne-fighting benefits.
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LED masks and light therapy devices are all the rage these days, and for good reason. These at-home gadgets treat acne, smooth wrinkles, fade age spots and help maximize the benefits of in-office skin rejuvenation procedures, including injectables.
LED stands for light emitting diode. These secret beauty weapons work by sending out light in the visible spectrum—including blue, yellow, amber and red—and light beyond the visible spectrum to penetrate different depths of skin, explains Rebecca Marcus, MD, a Dallas-based board-certified dermatologist. Each light has a different function and targets a different skin concern.
With some masks, the different wavelengths are combined for a synergistic effect, she says. In general, while home LED light therapy masks are less powerful than the ones at your doctor’s office, they still offer promising results. They are not cheap though, and it takes time to see noticeable results, warns Dr. Marcus.
How we chose the best LED masks
Our selections for the best LED masks are based on expert recommendations from top dermatologists, estheticians and plastic surgeons. We then combined their know-how with user reviews and star ratings to develop a comprehensive list of the best LED masks for various skin concerns.
Best budget LED mask
Dermashine Pro LED Mask
This LED mask boats an impressive seven different light color therapies—with five levels of intensity—to address a myriad of skin concerns. Even more impressive? The under-$100 price tag. The non-heat producing LEDs penetrate your skin to boost collagen, reduce lines and wrinkles, improve skin tone, complexion and more. The brand is so confident you’ll love it, they offer a 100% satisfaction guaranteed promise, plus a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
Among its rave reviews, Sam states, it “definitely works,” adding: “I’m reluctant to purchase gadgets with crazy promises. After the third use, I’m a believer! It definitely helped to minimize my extra large pores and my skins texture is smoother.” Another happy shopper appreciates its neutral, simple style. “Some masks on the market make you look like Iron Man or Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky,” she says. Adding: “This has given me the same LED treatments at home, and has cost a little over the price of one dermatology office visit.”
- Built-in timer
- Elastic adjustable strap keeps mask secure
- Mask is heavy
Best for muscle tension
This newbie from the makers of Theragun is sure to become a fan-favorite. The TheraFace Pro boasts eight treatments in one handheld device. The brand’s well-known percussive therapy is adapted specifically for the face. It uses a gentle massage technique to reduce jaw discomfort (particularly helpful for those with TMJ), relax facial muscles and improve muscle tension.
More to love: Microcurrent therapy gently stimulates the face to firm and tighten, while LED light technology helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Their clinical trial results are impressive: After 12 weeks of use, 94% of participants reported their skin looked healthier overall and 89% noticed an improvement in facial contour, including improved muscle tone and skin tightness.
- Percussive facial therapy helps treats headaches and jaw pain
- Eight treatment options in one
- Light ring cannot be used at the same time as the percussive attachments
- Not meant for sensitive skin or anyone with severe acne, eczema or psoriasis
Best for smoothing wrinkles
LightStim Therapy Device
Anti-aging creams can only do so much. If you want a youthful appearance without any invasive or painful procedures, look no further. This FDA-cleared LED device uses four different wavelengths to help visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, including crow’s feet and smile lines. “I love this device,” says Taylor Worden, a New York City-based aesthetician. “The LightStim is a handheld LED light that is great for specific areas on the face or body, travel or to use while watching TV,” she says.
It’s more versatile than other traditional LED masks, and allows you to easily target various problem areas, from your lips to your hands. It’s also an effective way to enhance the efficacy of skincare, like the included photo serum and sheet masque, or use your own vitamin C serums and anti-aging eye creams.
- Smoothes wrinkles, improves skin’s texture and eases under eye puffiness
- Helpful built-in timer
- Cannot use individual color light therapies, only one treatment option that emits all wavelengths at once
Best light therapy for acne
Full Face Professional Light Therapy System
This full-face panel features red light, blue light, amber light and infrared light, says Hadley King, an NYC-based board-certified dermatologist. Amber light therapy fades dark spots and infrared helps even out skin tone and boosts collagen. “It can be used for anti-aging, acne or both,” she says. The panel, which opens and closes like a notebook, treats the whole face at once and can also be used for the neck, chest or other areas.
This device combines blue and red LED light therapy to pack a one-two punch against breakouts. “Blue LED light can actually kill bacteria that causes acne,” says Sarah Akram, an esthetician in Alexandria, Virginia. “Red LED technology—which was invented by NASA—helps your cells to heal and regenerate much faster than normal, and combining these powerful therapies on a regular basis is the best treatment for fighting acne.” No matter what type of acne you have, this can help. In fact, 100% of users participating in a clinical study experienced a significant reduction in acne.
- Blue LED lights immediately kill acne-causing bacteria
- Three treatment settings with 262 medical-grade LED lights
- Unique panel design easily and quickly treats full face, neck, chest and other areas; then closes flat for easy storage
- Very faint hissing/static sound
- Only a one-year warranty
Best LED mask for full face rejuvenation
Dr. Dennis Gross SpectraLite FaceWare Pro Mask
This FDA-cleared, hands-free LED mask employs multiple wavelengths of light to target specific issues—including acne and aging skin—and covers your full face in record time, says Dr. Marcus. The dermatologist-created device uses a powerful combination of 100 LED lights in red mode (which firms skin and reduces the appearance of sun spots) and 62 LED lights in blue mode (which calms redness and helps prevent future acne flareups). Apply your favorite skincare after each use to boost results. It’s even safe to use with retinol—just be sure you’re applying sunscreen every day to prevent sun damage.
- Easy to use, hands-free full-face design
- Benefits of both red and blue lights in one device
- Quick treatment time (three minutes), and automatic shutoff
- Adjustable silicone strap provides a universal fit and ensures the device sits flush against skin
- No immediate results: Optimal results occur after 10-weeks of continued use
Best LED mask for fading dark spots
Light Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device
This golden-hued beauty makes you feel like royalty. The Mz Skin LED mask uses five color light treatments—red, blue, green, yellow and white—to target different issues, says Dr. Marcus. Green light calms skin and reduces pigmentation, yellow light fades redness and white light promotes wound healing. Red light heals blemishes and repairs sun damage, while blue light clarifies skin and treats acne. You can select a single light to work on a specific skin concern, or use a combination of lights for a more all-inclusive treatment.
- Reduces pigmentation, broken capillaries and calms skin
- Soothes sensitive skin and reduces redness
- Created by Dr. Maryam Zamani, an Oculopastic Surgeon
- A pricey investment
- Bright lights may bother people who are prone to migraines
How do LED face masks work?
An LED mask transmits natural light waves to skin cells. The wavelength of the light determines its color, how deeply it penetrates and what it targets, explains Dr. Marcus. For example, blue light is antibacterial and helps fight acne, whereas red light is anti-inflammatory, encourages healing, stimulates collagen and elastin, treats dark spots and even enhances hair growth. Collagen and elastin are two of the main proteins in skin and are responsible for its youthful and elastic properties, but our supply dwindles with advancing age.
Are LED face masks safe?
Side effects of LED masks are mild and may include temporary redness, irritation and inflammation, says Vanessa Coppola, a nurse practitioner at Bare Aesthetic MedSpa. “These masks aren’t a good idea if you are taking a medication that makes you more sensitive to sunlight, such as certain antibiotics or the powerful acne drug Accutane.”
An LED mask doesn’t emit any harmful UV rays and are safe for frequent at-home use. “Most home devices do not have a power output that is great enough to cause damage, and many have an automatic timer that shuts the device off after the specified amount of time,” says Dr. Marcus.
There’s been some concern that an LED mask can harm your eyes. In 2019, Neutrogena recalled its Light Therapy Acne Mask due to a possibility of eye injury. Most masks have the eyes cut out, so light is not directed into the eye, but eye protection is still highly recommended. (And don’t forget your sunscreen!)
- Rebecca Marcus, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Maei MD
- Taylor Worden, celebrity aesthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin
- Hadley King, board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University
- Sarah Akram, board-licensed esthetician and salon owner
- Vanessa Coppola, nurse practitioner at Bare Aesthetic MedSpa
- The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. “Phototherapy with Light Emitting Diodes: Treating a Broad Range of Medical and Aesthetic Conditions in Dermatology.”
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