Does LED light therapy work

LED-Facial: This is how light therapy works against skin problems

They are reminiscent of a nasty Halloween mask, but promise an effective beauty treatment: LED masks that are supposed to fight skin problems with light therapy. In dermatology and professional cosmetics, the high-tech devices have long been in use against eczema, severe acne and skin diseases such as psoriasis. New models now also enable so-called “LED facials” for home use. DONNA Online summarizes for you how the light masks work and what skin problems they can be used against.

How does LED light affect the skin?

Light as a means of treating skin problems is nothing new: Above all, ultraviolet light, or UV light for short, has been used as a therapy for dermatology since the 1990sEczemaPsoriasisContact eczema, but alsoPigment disorders andSun allergy used. The problem: exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which we encounter naturally through sunlight in everyday life, harbors some risks and side effects. Highly dosed UV rays attack the skin cells, can briefly lead to discoloration of the skin due to increased melanin formation (hyperpigmentation) and cause lasting and irreparable damage to the skin's genetic make-up.

A new type of light therapy without harmful UV radiation comes in handy: irradiation with LED light, which we otherwise mainly know from lamps in living areas. In contrast to ultraviolet light, the light waves from "L.ightE.mittingD.iodes ”, ie light-emitting diodes or LEDs for short, are less powerful and harmless to the skin, but are just as effective. The different wave frequencies penetrate the skin layers of different depths and develop their positive effect there. In the beauty industry, LED light is used through special high-tech masks with LED elements on the underside. With these innovative lighting devices, professional beauty treatments such as those in cosmetic studios or dermatological practices can also be carried out easily at home. A distinction is made between three types of LED light therapy, each of which tackles different skin problems:

Red LED light

... has a wavelength between 580 and 660 nanometers, from 780 nanometers one speaks ofInfrared light. The red waves stimulate collagen production and ensure that the skin and thus also small wrinkles are plumped up from the inside. Irradiation with red LED light is therefore effective in cosmeticsAnti-aging method. Since the red light promotes blood circulation and counteracts inflammation, it also has a positive effect on skin that is prone to blemishes and pimples. Red light is particularly effective in severe acne when it is used in combination with blue LED light - this is confirmed by a medical study by the British Journal of Dermatology on light therapy for acne vulgaris.

Blue LED light

... has a wavelength between 400 and 450 nanometers and, when applied to the skin, suppresses bacteria that lead to inflammatory reactions and impurities. This variant of light therapy is therefore ideal for the treatment oflighter to medium strength acne. In addition, it stimulates the formation of oxygen and makes the skin appear fresher. By the way: Blue LED light is criticized as the blue light of smartphones, laptops and the like, because it causes the skin to age faster. With the usual duration of use for LED light therapy, you do not have to expect skin damage, but instead benefit from the advantages of blue light.

Green LED light

... works with an average wavelength of 525 nanometers. It is used in light therapy because of its skin-soothing properties. It can also be used for sun-related skin changes such asPigment spots orDiscoloration (Hyperpigmentation) help.

Who are the light therapy masks suitable for?

Regardless of whether you want to tackle a specific skin problem such as pigment spots or pimples with the light therapy mask or are simply curious about the high-tech devices: The LED masks are fundamentalfor every skin type suitable. However, caution is advised if you are taking medication that makes your skin more sensitive to light - such as medicines to lower blood pressure or treat cardiac arrhythmias during the planned application period. Then the normally harmless LED light could damage and over-stimulate the photosensitized skin. The use of a light therapy mask is also not recommended during pregnancy or with serious skin diseases.

There are no fixed guidelines for the frequency of use. Depending on how your skin is behaving and what skin care routine you have, a light therapy mask can becan be used as required: Either regularly as a skin therapy for existing skin problems or only occasionally as a pampering facial in your own four walls. If you use the LED masks frequently, make sure to give your skin at least a day's break between applications to regenerate and get used to the light therapy. By the way, you don't have to worry about the mask overheating: The high-tech LEDs in the beauty masks enable painless and heat-free skin treatment.

Professional treatment vs. home use: how effective is light therapy at home?

In principle, the structure and functionality of the LED devices for use at home and in professional cosmetic studios or dermatological doctor's offices are identical, as they are based on the same technologies. The main difference lies in the energy supply: for safe use, the LED masks for the home have a lower energy level. In this way, high-tech devices can only be mass-produced and offered at lower prices (compared to expensive professional devices).


A major disadvantage of the cheaper, but also lower quality light therapy masks for personal use: the lifespan of the electronics is often limited. On the web, numerous consumers report that the devices showed battery or LED damage after just a few uses. There are also products that encourage people to buy more by programming the built-in “activator”, a type of remote control that connects the mask to a mains adapter or battery system, for a certain number of uses. Once this maximum has been reached, the LED mask will only work again if a new set of activator and battery is purchased. Such LED facials are therefore anything but cheap and environmentally friendly.

How do you apply an LED mask?

Once you have purchased a product that meets your skin needs, it is relatively simple to use: Ideally, start the LED treatment after cleansing your face by placing the mask on your face for up to ten minutes. You give the starting shot for the beauty treatment with the "activator". High-priced devices even come as a set with a small, wireless remote control. Most LED masks have an integrated timer that automatically switches the device off after the recommended period of use. With brackets at ear level, you can attach the mask to your head in such a way that you can even do other things while using it and, in theory, move freely - but with a limited field of vision.

DONNA tip: Be sure to adequately protect your eyes from the bright LED light. Normally, the light therapy masks are already equipped with special protective goggles with a light filter that keeps the light from entering the area around the eyes. Before using it for the first time, make sure that your device also has such a protective device.

LED-Facial 2.0: This is new with LED masks

In 2016, Neutrogena's “Visibly Clear Anti-Acne Light Therapy Mask” was the first LED device with a cosmetic effect for home use on the market. Therefore, the light therapy masks are no longer a completely new beauty trend. For this purpose, the application and technologies of the high-tech devices have evolved. What's new in 2018 The combination with another popular mask variant: Beauty aids such as the "UFO" from the Swedish company Foreo are designed to replace a Sheet mask to make them even more effective and rely on a combination of LED, heat and cold therapy. Likewise, a high-tech mask with LED light can be used after applyingserum orcream can be used to better transport the active ingredients contained in the skin.

Another novelty among the LED light masks: devices that are specially designed for individual skin areas on the face. So Dr. Dennis Gross, the label of the star dermatologist of the same name from the USA, LED glasses for wrinkles and pigment spots around theEye area will be carried.

Conclusion: how effective are LED light therapy masks?

There is no general answer to this question: As different as the facial skin of different women is, so are the effects of skin care on them. Therefore, no one can guarantee in advance that the use of an LED mask will have a positive effect on your skin. If you are unsure whether and which device variant is suitable for you, professional advice in the cosmetic studio or with a dermatologist can help. The skin professionals analyze your skin precisely and can thus determine your individual needs, problems and the appropriate light therapy mask.