Here’s Why Celebrities Are Obsessed With LED Light Therapy

10 min read

LED masks are all the rage right now thanks to their ability to tackle everything from fine lines to acne. MOJEH looks at whether or not they live up to the hype

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock of late, you’ll be well aware that LED masks are trending right now. Known for addressing a myriad of skincare concerns ranging from acne to signs of ageing, everyone from Victoria Beckham and Jessica Alba to Chrissy Teigen and Kate Hudson has been spotted sporting one of the illuminated masks across Instagram. Many of us, however, are still asking how much impact light therapy can really have on the skin, especially now masks have broken free from the four walls of a facialist’s clinic and made their way into our homes. In fact, LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are one of the most powerful forces in skincare.

“LED therapy is a form of treatment that uses various colour wavelengths of light energy to fuel the repair and rejuvenation of damaged cells in the skin,” explains Kinga Szymanska, a Dubai Health Authority-licensed laser and skin cosmetologist at Dubai’s Bodysmart clinic. “Not only can it increase circulation, boost production of collagen and elastin, and accelerate tissue repair, it’s non-invasive, painless and can be used on all skin types.” That’s because, unlike sunlight’s skin damaging and ageing UVA and UVB rays, gentler LEDs work in a similar way to a topical facial treatment. The skin’s natural defences are activated, triggering the renewal process.

LED light therapy in skincare is nothing new – inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla created the violet ray generator in the early 1900s to treat wounds. In the 1980s Nasa accidentally discovered that red light could heal its astronauts’ skin when developing LEDs for plant growth experiments. But the trend has been gaining incredible momentum across the skincare industry more recently due to a rise in social media, with influencers and celebrities documenting their treatments and the skincare improvements they experience. “LED light therapy treats all different kind of skin conditions and concerns, from acne and fine lines to psoriasis, scarring and redness,” explains Szymanska. It works by emitting light of different colours that penetrates the skin – the higher the wavelength, the deeper the penetration – with certain wavelengths targeting specific cellular responses. As the most powerful, red and infrared lights heal, soothe and plump while stimulating collagen production to improve the visible signs of ageing. Blue light, on the other hand, is best for acne sufferers as it reduces the production of sebum, while it’s also believed to kill a certain type of bacteria that contributes to the problem by inflaming the skin. “Oxygen radicals are formed when the skin is exposed to blue light, killing breakout-causing bacteria,” adds Szymanska. Green light is used to calm and soothe the skin and is particularly good for sun damage and hyperpigmentation. And last but not least, yellow also helps to improve the appearance of sun damage or pigmentation by increasing the toughness of capillary vessels.

Once the purview of professional skin clinics, the pandemic has seen an influx of LED masks and devices making their way into our homes, designed to be used for a few minutes every day. Yet while fans sing their praises, experts agree that for serious skin concerns in-salon treatments are most effective. That doesn’t mean you should return your new purchase to sender, though – they are even more effective when used alongside professional treatments, and regular use can still promise notable results. “In-clinic devices are a lot more powerful than those you buy at home as they are medical grade,” Spirithoula Koukoufikis, senior medical aesthetician at Skinfluencer London tells MOJEH. “They are used under controlled and monitored environments in therapeutic doses, which means they will be optimally effective and provide a stronger treatment. It’s always the best option if you have a specific concern, as the mask can be used in conjunction with other therapies to achieve much better and longer lasting results.”

If you’re still not convinced, clinics have also started to notice signs that the benefits of an LED session could be more than skin deep, with clients suggesting that a short period of time spent under the lamp improves their mood, decreases stress and increases energy levels. “I could write a book about this!” enthuses Szymanska. “Light in general balances our mood and is critical to our wellbeing – we are all energy, we resonate, and we are responsive to what we receive daily from sounds, vibrations, motions and temperatures.” She puts this down to the light’s effect on the production of serotonin, which is associated with boosting the mood and helping a person to feel calm and focused. “So yes, I do believe the LED light can lift a mood and I see it happen all the time in the clinic,” she adds. Great skin and an even better mood? That’s something we can most definitely get behind.

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  • Words by Naomi Chadderton