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LED light therapy is a skin treatment with many benefits. Depending on the color of light selected, light therapy devices and treatments can target signs of aging and help prevent acne. Light therapy uses low-energy infrared light to penetrate deep into the skin. This type of light is non-damaging to the skin and helps skin cells regenerate. Although you can get light therapy done in a professional setting, at-home options are available as well. They are more accessible and affordable than the procedures done in a doctor's office. At-home options are less potent and less effective than those carried out by a doctor, but they are simple to use, and there's no appointment necessary.
At-home light therapy won't completely get rid of your skin problems, but it can be a useful ritual to help combat skin imperfections. It is generally thought to be a safe way to treat skin ailments without harsh chemicals, and the lighting does not incorporate UV light. At BestReviews, we researched and evaluated multiple at-home light therapy mask options. The fruit of our labor is this useful guide which can help you in your search for the best light therapy product for your skin.
There are several types of light therapy masks available to treat skin ailments. Different lights can target different problems. The two main options are red light and blue light therapy, but some light therapy devices also offer combined lighting treatments.
Blue light has been found to be an effective treatment method for acne, as it has the ability to kill bacteria that clogs pores and negatively affects the skin.
Blue light penetrates deeper than regular topical acne treatments to get at the bacteria that actually causes pimples. It's a great way to prevent spots from appearing in the first place. Using light therapy on its own will not properly treat severe forms of acne, however.
One of the benefits of a blue light therapy mask is that it won't dry out your skin like some topical acne treatments do.
Red light therapy is a useful tool for reducing redness and inflammation and is particularly helpful for helping diminish the signs of aging. The particular red light wavelengths are able to target deep layers of skin and help encourage regrowth of tissues like collagen and skin cells.
Red light therapy is even useful for injured athletes or persons with chronic ailments like arthritis. The red light is able to reduce inflammation not only on the skin but deeper as well. Red light is also beneficial for those dealing with painful chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Some at-home light therapy options will allow the user to treat their skin using both red and blue light. Blue light can help prevent pimples from forming since it banishes bacteria while red light can minimize redness caused by acne and pimples.
Expectations should be tempered with all types of at-home light-therapy treatments. They are not a good option for treating severe skin irritations and issues.
The best part about using a light therapy mask is that it’s a fairly straightforward beauty tool. There's no special technique or know-how required.
Just follow some simple steps to begin treatment.
Power on the device, or plug it in to begin using it.
Make sure to wash your face before starting a session with your mask.
Wear the mask for approximately 10 minutes.
Everyday use is suggested by most manufacturers to help keep breakouts and other skin irritation at bay.
Do not engage in at-home light therapy if you have diabetes, lupus, or have ever had skin cancer. You should also avoid it if you take certain medications, including some antipsychotics, antibiotics, and melatonin. There may be other diseases and medications that make you ultra-sensitive to the light; if in doubt, speak with your physician before trying light therapy.
Depending on your particular skin concern, you'll need to decide what kind of light is appropriate for you.
If you deal with acne and skin flare-ups due to bacteria, a blue light option is best for you.
If you have unwanted skin redness, sensitive skin, or concerns about fine lines and wrinkles, a red light is the way to go.
If you want a device that can handle all of these issues, choose one that can alternate between light colors.
Some professional-grade light therapies do involve chemicals. But with at-home light therapy treatment, you don't have to deal with harsh chemicals or ointments – just light.
The size of the light therapy device is an essential consideration for those who have limited storage space or who require a device that can travel with them.
Masks tend to be larger than handheld options and will need a power source and, if going overseas, a converter.
Many handheld light therapy devices can comfortably fit inside a makeup case, making them a great option for travel.
Light therapy doesn't just help with fine lines, wrinkles, and acne. It can also help with uneven skin tone and rough skin.
Think about where you plan to use your light therapy device. Is there an outlet nearby?
If you want a versatile option that you can use no matter where you are, a handheld, battery-powered device may be a better choice than a device with a power cord.
Keep in mind, however, that battery-powered devices will require new batteries every now and again.
Always read the manual included with your light therapy device to make sure you are using it correctly and safely.
At-home light therapy can come in several forms, including light therapy masks and handheld light therapy devices.
A light therapy mask allows you to target a large surface area at once, but you must put aside some time in your day to wear the mask for treatment. Most masks do have eyeholes, though, so you could catch up on your reading while you treat your pimples or fine lines.
A handheld light therapy device allows users to target specific areas of the face or random pimples that pop up out of nowhere. A smaller handheld light therapy device is an excellent choice for accessing hard-to-reach pimples on the face and body.
Unlike some more invasive dermatological treatments, light treatment requires no recovery period, so it's easy to use regularly.
Most light therapy masks and devices are fairly inexpensive; you can find affordable options under $50. Purchasing an at-home light therapy device is undoubtedly less expensive than booking treatment appointments with a dermatologist.
Office treatments can cost up to $100 per visit, and specialists usually recommend between five and ten visits per year.
At-home options bring light therapy to the masses. And unlike some other products, price doesn't dictate quality when it comes to light therapy devices.
If you’re shopping for a light therapy device, we advise you to choose a known, trusted brand and to look for a device that has been approved by the regulating bodies in your country.
Overdoing professional light therapy treatments can cause damage to your skin. The risk is lowered with at-home light therapy since at-home devices aren't as powerful.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing an at-home light therapy device over professional treatment.
No wait at the doctor's office
Low cost up front
Easy to use
If battery-powered, you will need to purchase batteries
Less effective than a doctor's office treatment
Q. Are there any harmful side effects to using a light therapy mask?
A. In general, no. But if you suffer from certain diseases, including diabetes, lupus, migraine, and skin cancer, you should avoid light therapy. Certain medications also prohibit the use of light therapy. Consult your doctor if you have any questions or doubts.
An important piece of advice for anyone who engages in light therapy is to be sure to protect your eyes. While the brightness of light therapy masks does vary, do not stare directly into the light for long periods of time. There are no harmful UV rays involved, but it's unwise to subject your eyes to very bright light for longer than necessary.
Q. What's the advantage of using light therapy over topical treatments?
A. Using light therapy to treat skin ailments produces less skin irritation compared to topical treatments. Light therapy is also mess-free since there's no need to apply creams or gels on the skin.
Q. Is this type of device a useful treatment for cystic acne?
A. No. Light therapy will not be able to treat cystic acne, but it may help with the inflammation and redness that accompanies this skin problem.
Q. If it's not using UV light, what kind of light is being emitted?
A. The light used in light therapy products is LED light.
Q. Can the light therapy mask burn my skin?
A. No. A light therapy mask cannot burn your skin. The light is just not powerful enough to do so. However, you should take precautions to protect your delicate eyes when wearing a light therapy mask.
Q. When will I start to see visible results?
A. It depends on the person. Results could become apparent within a week, but it may take longer. Remember that using a light therapy device isn't a cure-all. You still need to take care of your skin in between treatments.
Q. Does light therapy cure seasonal depression?
A. No. Don't confuse light therapy masks with the light therapy lamps used for seasonal affective disorder. The latter devices attempt to simulate the sunlight that some people may be missing during the winter months, causing mild to severe depression. Light therapy masks and light therapy lamps are not interchangeable.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.