If you have spent any time on social media during the pandemic, you have probably noticed an increasing trend in LED skin care. You know the celebs and massive skin care influencers who post tons of photos with a face mask on, with either blue or red light penetrating into their skin Think of the light as an ingredient. Like an active ingredient, it works via receptors in the skin cells, as retinol does, to stimulate more collagen and have a biological effect.
Drug-free and non-invasive, with no downtime (it’s actually rather soothing), LED is proven safe for skin and eyes, as none of the colors penetrate the eye. In fact, it was developed by NASA to help with healing wounds on astronauts injured in space. The light increases blood flow, feeding the cells with nutrients and oxygen, which is excellent for repair.
What are the differences in LED colors?
Using blue light is very straightforward. It kills the bacteria that cause acne without affecting anything else. When the acne bacteria absorbs blue light, it releases porphyrins (pigment molecules), that destroy the bacteria without damaging the skin.
Using red light is less simple, however, as there are different shades that work at different depths of the skin. Some work to increase blood flow, helping to “feed” new cells and encourage wound healing (even eliminating scars), and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Others directly work on stimulating new collagen. There’s so much today about ingesting collagen, but that’s really just protein—essentially, no different from eating a steak. The only real way to get new collagen is to start within the skin itself, by stimulating the fibroblasts that make new collagen—which is what red light does.
How do I actually use the LED mask?
While layering skincare is usually a great thing, our creams and makeup (especially anything with SPF) act as a barrier, and literally block the light to get around this.
Even better, save your actives to use after a treatment, when the face is warm and the blood circulation is stimulated, as both help ensure skincare works better. Look out for The Light Salon’s at-home Boost Advanced LED Light Therapy Face Mask ($478), which is the first LED mask that’s flexible. Made from soft silicone, it’s not only portable but can also be taken in your carry-on for an in-flight treatment. Every little bit helps.
If LED face masks are out of your budget, no worries, try an affordable clay face mask first.
Photo Die Another Day/MGM/UA