LED light masks have become super popular but what are the key things we need to know about them? Image by Adobe Stock.
At-home LED light masks are the latest trend to sweep the beauty world, with stars like Kourtney Kardashian swearing by their benefits – but are they really worth the hype? And even more – are they really safe? There is no doubt about it that LED light therapy is an amazing tool to help you maintain great looking skin if used in the correct way. LED light therapy can help with skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, spots and blemish-prone skin, sensitive skin and LED light therapy can help to speed up recovery, post-procedure. But we were interested to know if all at-home LED masks are made equal? After all, you can pick up a mask dirt cheap on eBay or Wish but others will set you back hundreds of dollars, so other than their price points, what makes one LED light mask better than another?
We had a chat with skincare expert Brooke Taylor from House of Camille and asked her to tell us the truth about at-home LED light masks.
What exactly is LED light, how do they work and what are their benefits?
LED light is the application of low-level light energy via spectrally pure (wavelengths containing only one colour) ‘bioactive’ wavelengths to stimulate or regulate a biological process with proven therapeutic results. LED light is used to treat the following:
– Ageing skin and rejuvenation
– Spots and blemish-prone skin
– Red and flushed skin
– Sensitive skin conditions
– Accelerated healing
Types of LED light are, Blue Light 415nm, which is the go-to for treating acne. It kills off p bacteria that causes acne, having an anti-bacterial effect without irritating the skin. It also helps with regulating oil production.
Red Light 633nm, can activate the powerhouse within a cell to work properly and ATP (the energy it produces) synthesis that can stimulate cell renewal, fibroblast activity and DNA regeneration.
Near-Infrared Light 830nm, can be used to treat inflammation to deliver advanced cell regeneration benefits, calms erythema (redness), accelerates healing and reduces pigmentation.
Why should we be wary of at-home LED light masks?/What are the risks of using unregulated LED light masks?
The low price point would usually indicate low-quality LEDs which will affect the accuracy of wavelength specification. The coverage is limited, as there are often a minimal number of lights in the mask. Low-quality LEDs generally get hot which significantly reduces the life span of the LEDs and the plastic cover absorbs a significant amount of the emitted light energy which reduces absorption and therefore efficacy and results. There is also an issue of hygiene and how to sterilise a mask in between uses, particularly when treating bacterial skin conditions.
Is there such thing as a safe at-home LED light mask?
There are certain treatments that we shouldn’t do at home without having sought professional advice first. Just because a treatment sounds great, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be right for your skin. Before you invest in any at-home treatments such as an LED light mask, you should seek professional advice. You need to know if the type of light is right for your skin and what you think is going on with your skin and the best way to know is to seek professional advice.
Always look for a trusted and professional brand such as Dermalux that has CE certification and is used by trained professionals (medically certified).
How can we tell the difference between a safe LED light mask and an unsafe LED light mask? Are there certain things we should be looking out for?
There are many different applications of LED Phototherapy ranging from professional in-clinic and medical systems, through to hand-held and home use devices. Achieving results with LED Phototherapy is dependent on a number of key parameters with the most important being the precise wavelength or nanometres (nm). The wavelength determines the target for the light and also the depth of penetration into the skin.
The second most important parameter is the output power (photon intensity). The first law of photobiology (effect of light on the body) states that photons (output power) must be absorbed by the target chromophore (a molecule responsible for colour) to activate a cellular response. Each individual wavelength has a specific target chromophore within the skin (such as melanin, haemoglobin, water, cytochrome c oxidase, porphyrins etc.). Shorter wavelengths have more superficial targets and longer wavelengths penetrate to target deeper levels in the skin.
If the wavelength does not match the target chromophore (a molecule responsible for colour) then there will be no absorption and no reaction and therefore, no response.
Furthermore, if the photon intensity is too low and insufficient energy is applied to reach the target cells, again there will be no response as the minimum threshold has not been met.
In short, the LED needs to have a targeted wavelength to work.
When you purchase cheap LED light masks, you have no idea if it has medical-grade LED or is certified to treat the skin. This can sometimes result in LED delivering UV into the skin. This is not safe and can end up causing more damage than good.
UVA-315-400nm – UVB 280-315nm are wavelengths we do not want being delivered into the skin. Blue Light 415nm, Red Light 633nm, Near-Infrared Light 830nm are the trusted and effective wavelengths to create the response needed.
What are your recommendations on where to go for a safe and professional LED light mask treatment?
I would personally suggest going to a trusted skin clinic and get professional treatments. They are using machines worth the investment. They can also prescribe a treatment plan based off your skin concerns as they will be trained in LED, and will be able to check if any medication or other treatments would make LED treatment harmful to your skin. Always invest in a trusted skin therapist, it will be the best investment you ever make.