The 16 Best LED Face Masks for Next-Level Light Therapy At Home

Masking at home: So hot rn.

woman wearing a led light therapy face mask
(Image credit: Getty Images/Westend61)

When people talk about "the future of skincare," they probably couldn't have predicted something quite so futuristic. If you have your thumb on the pulse when it comes to skincare innovations, you've probably heard a little something about LED face masks, aka light therapy masks. These anti-inflammatory, acne-fighting LED treatments were once only available under the practiced hand of an aesthetician. But we're in the year of our lord 2022, and just like your favorite everyday face mask, LED light therapy masks are now a luxury available for you to use at your leisure.

What are the benefits of LED light therapy?

LED light therapy is a NASA technology adopted by the skincare community, thanks to its ability to heal wounds and tame inflammation. At-home LED therapy devices are less powerful than the treatments you'd get at a dermatologist's office, which means you can use them safely, but it'll take longer to see visible results.

An additional benefit: At-home devices like LED face masks "can offer complementary benefits to your topicals and help them do a better job," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D.

Is LED light therapy safe?

After years of avoiding the sun's UV rays in the service of healthy skin, it can feel counter-intuitive to treat your face with light. But facialists, dermatologists, beauty editors, and the American Academy of Dermatology all agree: LED light treatments are safe and effective treatments for your complexion, since they don't use UV rays. In fact, LED light therapy masks are beloved by celebrities with some of the best skin around, including Chrissy Teigen, Jessica Alba, and Kate Hudson.

A couple of caveats, however: You should be careful about using LED face masks alongside skincare that makes your face sensitive to light, like retinol or Accutane. Side effects of LED face masks are rare, but they have been reported in clinical trials.

What do different LED light colors do to your skin?

Most LED face masks use either red or blue light therapy to treat a plethora of skin woes, but these lights shouldn’t be used interchangeably. 

The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

“Red light therapy has a longer wavelength that penetrates deeper into the skin and helps reduce inflammation and redness,” says Dr. Anetta Rezsko, a New York City-based dermatologist. “It has also been shown to increase collagen and elastin synthesis and therefore reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” 

The Benefits of Blue Light Therapy

Unlike red light therapy, blue light therapy “has shorter wavelengths and works best for acne-prone skin,” says Dr. Reszko. It does this courtesy of a two-step process within the layers of your skin. First, she says, blue light “decreases the androgenic hormones in the sebaceous glands.” 

These androgens actually stimulate your sebaceous glands so that they produce more oil and sebum, which cause acne on the skin. Dr. Reszko adds that “the absorption of blue light leads to bacterial destruction” within the skin, which can help eliminate your acne.

How should you use LED light therapy masks at home?

You can use LED light therapy masks either in the morning at night, depending on the results you’re looking for. Dr. Reszko says that using a LED face mask in the morning will improve your skin’s appearance by “increasing the glow and overall appearance of the skin.” 

However, using a LED device at night will “calm down skin inflammation resulting from daily exposure to skin irritants like pollution, especially in people with sensitive and rosacea-prone skin," she says.

How long does it take to see results from LED light therapy?

Like most skincare solutions, it will take some time before you see the substantial long-term effects of using an LED light therapy mask at home. Dr. Reszko asserts that “most clinical improvement of the skin is noticeable after four weeks of treatment with three sessions per week.” 

Best At-Home LED Face Masks

Meet the dermatologists

Dr. Joshua Zeichner
Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD

As the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Dermatology, Dr. Zeichner has a broad interest in medical and cosmetic dermatology as well as clinical research. His specialty is the treatment of acne, as well as the cosmetic rejuvenation of the aging face. Dr. Zeichner treats general skin conditions, including eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and skin cancer. In addition, he is well-versed in the use of Botox and dermal fillers, as well as lasers and chemical peels.

Dr. Annetta Reszko
Dr. Anetta Reszko MD | PH.D.

Dr. Resko is a board certified dermatologist and a fellow of The American Academy of Dermatology, The American College of Mohs Surgery and The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Her practice in Manhattan is focused on early skin cancer detection and treatment and laser surgery. As a respected leader in the science of the skin, Dr. Reszko has published multiple scientific research articles and reviews and has contributed to leading publications in the fields of dermatology and dermatologic surgery. Her mission from day one has been to enhance the overall skin health in every patient through a whole-body dermatological approach to the skin with a focus on skin cancer awareness, treatment, and education. 

Julia Marzovilla
Julia Marzovilla

Julia Marzovilla is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire covering all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Offline, she’s most likely browsing the web for another pair of black boots or listening to music too loudly—often at the same time.

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