Do At-Home LED Face Masks Work?

Do At-Home LED Face Masks Work?

LED light therapy is popular here at the clinic due to the many amazing benefits that it can offer within minutes, with no downtime. In just 15 minutes, LED light therapy can reduce inflammation, redness, enhance rejuvenation and reduce acne causing bacteria, ultimately, reinforcing your skin barrier for healthier, clearer skin!

But, what about those home LED light masks that you've seen on social media?  Do at-home LED face masks really work?  In this blog, our expert clinicians weigh in on the differences between the at-home and in-clinic LED treatments and whether the home LED masks are worth it. 

How LED Light Therapy Became a Popular Skin Treatment

The concept of light therapy dates back to 1860 when Danish physician Niels Ryberg Finsen discovered that his lupus patients benefitted from an artificial lamp he created that mimicked sunlight. This prompted him to study the biological effects of light and how certain wavelengths might have beneficial medical effects. 

Many years later while NASA was exploring the use of LEDs (light emitting diodes) for plant growth on shuttle missions, they found that they also showed some promise in helping with wound healing. Their studies demonstrated that LED light works at a cellular level to promote cell energy metabolism which is why it works wonders in promoting cell renewal in the skin.

Since then, LED's have become one of the most popular, non-invasive treatments that can be found in most skin clinics. They can be available as stand alone treatments or in combination with other skin treatments to promote the body's natural wound healing process, stimulate collagen within the skin as well as overall rejuvenation to re-enforce the skin's barrier and function.

How does LED light therapy treatment work?

LED light therapy works by utilising red and near infrared radiation wavelengths between 600-1100 nanometres (nm) to promote wound healing, reduce inflammation and oedema, treat neurological issues and relieve pain.

The various wavelengths essentially indicate how deep the LED light can travel into the skin, and the exposure of cells to the low levels of light at various wavelengths can do many different things to our skin.

Below are some different types of LED lights and their benefits for various skin conditions when using clinically proven wavelengths:

  • Red light therapy - healing and soothing at approximately around 600-700nm.

  • Blue light therapy - targets the bacteria cells that cause acne within the skin causing cellular death to encourage clearer skin at around 415nm and below

  • Green light therapy - effective against skin problems such as rosacea and erythema, soothing to the skin, at around 525 - 550nm.

  • Yellow light therapy - increases red blood cell production reducing inflammation, erythema, important for skin healing and skin cell rejuvenation at around 590nm

  • Near infrared light therapy - 750nm - 1400nm.

What are the benefits of LED light therapy?

As mentioned, the specific benefits of LED light therapy depend on what type of light are you using, but we can sum these up for you as below:

  • Generally safe for all skin types

  • Pain-free and non-invasive

  • Enhances product absorption, which makes it a popular treatment to combine with other advanced skin therapies

  • Good for acne prone skin as the specific wavelength (Blue light) can reduce acne bacteria and prevent future breakouts

  • Promotes wound healing of the skin cells

  • Reduce inflammation and redness

  • Enhances overall skin rejuvenation through collagen and elastin production

  • Improve skin texture and smooth wrinkles

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles

  • Reduce dark spots, help reduce uneven skin tone as well as brightening a dull complexion

The Difference Between LED Light Therapy in Clinic vs. At Home Devices

Power Output

The main difference between LED light therapy with a clinical device vs home LED mask is the power output, which also called irradiance.

The optimal in clinic LED starts from 40mw/cm2 to 150mw/cm2, while light therapy masks or at home LED masks start from 30-65mw/cm2.

In essence, the LEDs found in clinical settings are much more powerful than those that can be purchased for at home use. Therefore, you are required to use at home LED devices more often than the in clinic LED devices to get similar results.

Energy Output

Clinical and at-home LED devices may also differ in their energy output. This is in part because clinical LED devices contain many more bulbs that emit the LED light. The size and power of these bulbs are also clinically proven to reach appropriate wavelengths to target the appropriate depth within the skin, whereas the bulbs within at home masks may not emit the same energy despite their wavelength.

Wavelength Options

Clinic and home LED masks can also differ in the wavelengths available, which is crucial for getting results.

Many research papers have found that having blue LED light therapy (415nm) at 40mw/cm2 for 10-20 minutes over four weeks can significantly reduce mild to moderate facial acne. Research also found that combining 2 LED light (633nm at 126J/cm2, and 830nm at 66J/cm2) can treat lines and wrinkles around the mouth.

So, to achieve the optimal outcome, you would have to purchase a device that offers more than just a red LED light therapy mask. In addition, you would need to understand which wavelengths were the right ones for your skin concerns.

If you have LED light therapy in the clinic, you can rest assured that a trained dermal therapist/clinician is going to choose the appropriate wavelength and settings according to your skin needs and concerns. Sometimes the concerns we have about our skin aren't as black and white, and we need some help to ensure we are addressing the correct skin concern.

At Clinica Lase, we perform LED light therapy using medical grade LED devices that provide various clinically proven wavelengths to ensure you will get all of your skin concerns covered.

Are at-home LED face masks safe?

Generally, at home LED devices are quite safe. However, like most aesthetic and cosmetic products, there are always some risks involved. Light sensitivity and over stimulation due to overuse can result in headaches and skin sensitivity. Incorrect use of settings can just simply lead to ineffective treatments.

In the clinic we typically recommend LEDs be spaced out at a minimum of 24 - 48 hours to ensure that the treatment is safe and effective. Finding the time to travel to the clinic and have an LED may be difficult, therefore at home LED devices could be seen as an easier alternative. While the number one benefit of an at home LED mask is that it is easily accessible, this could lead to overuse resulting in the risks mentioned above or on the other hand, under using the device may eventuate in not seeing any results at all.

Do home LED masks work?

The big question! LED therapy can be super beneficial for your overall skin health. At home masks are a great way to boost your skin barrier, calm inflammation and aid in collagen production. However, at home devices out there vary widely in quality, strength, and efficacy. Usually, the more expensive the mask, the higher quality, higher strength and therefore better results you will achieve.

However, nothing is going to be as strong as an in clinic LED. If we were to weigh up the costs, you would likely be better off coming into a clinic and having a clinician choose your wavelength, energy joules and time for you, for a more effective treatment. That being said, sometimes the convenience of the at home masks can be appealing, in that case, it is always best to have realistic expectations of how much the device can do compared to a clinical grade LED device.

In short, home LED  masks can be beneficial if you are willing to spend the money on a high quality device, pay close attention to the settings, and set realistic expectations. BUT, in clinic LED's require less time, less money, and achieve a much better result.

LED Light Therapy at Clinica Lase

At Clinica Lase, we are not only using medical grade LED devices, but we also have trained experienced dermal therapists and dermal clinicians to assist you in achieving your skin goals. We offer LED light therapy as a stand alone treatment and combining with other treatment modalities for better outcomes.

Wondering if LED light therapy is right for you? Contact Clinica Lase today to schedule a skin consultation.