Once reserved to the walls of a professional salon or dermatologists office, LED (light-emitting diode) light therapy has now, much to our skin’s delight, made its way into our personal beauty cabinets.
The beauty benefits of LED light therapy depend on the wavelengths, which translate into various colour, used, and can target skin concerns ranging from ageing and fine lines to uneven skin tone and acne breakouts.
“Light emitting diode (LED) light refers to devices which emit a narrow spectrum of non-coherent, non-collimated energy,” Professor Deshan Sebaratnam of UNSW tells marie claire Australia.
“The energy is usually in the form of visible light including blue (420–440 nm), red (630–680 nm), and yellow (590–595 nm) light or near-infrared (750–1200 nm).”
So, how exactly does LED light therapy work? Well, Professor Sebaratnam explains the wavelengths of light absorbed by the skin leads to a chemical change (it’s not as scary as it sounds, promise).
“The energy released from the LED is absorbed by structures in the skin such as melanin or mitochondria causing chemical reactions in the skin.
“For example, molecules produced by the bacterium Cutibacterium acnes which contribute to acne, are activated by LED light which may lead to the destruction of the bacteria, and thus an improvement in acne in some patients.”
With so many LED light devices now in the market, it can be difficult to know what to look for and whether the tech is of professional standards. As such, Prof. Sebaratnam advises you do your research before buying.
“A sensible question to ask would be ‘Has this device been proven in a clinical trial? Has there been a study comparing treatment with this particular LED lamp and a placebo in large group of patients to prove it actually works?’”
Who Shouldn’t Use LED Light Therapy?
LED light therapy isn’t for everyone, and in some cases, it may worsen skin conditions.
“It should also be noted that these devices are not without side effects. There are some conditions which may worsen with LED light such as melasma,” Professor Sebaratnam tells us.
If you have concerns, you should always consult a professional before proceeding.
Our Picks Of The Best LED Light Masks
Best Luxury: Omnilux Contour Face Mask, $590 at Omnilux
There’s no doubt you’ve seen this mask all over you social feeds. Dermatologist-recommended and suitable for all skin types, Omnilux’s Contour Mask emits wavelengths of light (both red 633nm and near infared 830nm) to target the visible signs of ageing.
Best Budget: Wrinklit LED Mask, $102 at Sephora
This LED Mask utilises three different light therapies to target three different skin concerns—red light for anti-ageing (620nm to 750nm), blue light for acne and blemish (476nm to 495nm) and orange light for skin tone (590nm to 620nm).
Best For Acne: LightStim For Acne, $382 at Adore Beauty
Harnessing the power of bacterica-busting blue light, this LED light, which is favourite of Bella Hadid, is perfect for those looking to combat acne and pesky breakouts. It’s handy, adaptable design also means it can be used anywhere from the face and neck to the back and shoulders.
Best For Eyes & Lips: Lonvitalite Pro LED 5 in 1 Facial Wand, $249 at Adore Beauty
Perfect for targeting tricky, tight areas like the under eye, mouth or persistent blemishes, this little wand utilises red and blue light as well as microcurrents, warming and massaging vibrations.
Best Salon-Like Experience: Trophy Skin Rejuvalite MD, $325 at Adore Beauty
The gooseneck design of Trophy Skin’s LED light makes for a salon experience at home as well as flexibility for the areas you’re targeting whether it be you face neck or decolletage. The Rejuvalite uses red, amber, yellow and near infrared light simultaneously to fight fine lines and redness.