13 best LED face masks of 2023, per dermatologists


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Sep 06, 2023

13 best LED face masks of 2023, per dermatologists

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There's no question that kicking your feet back and applying a face mask is the ultimate tribute to self-care. Whether you’re seeking a sheet mask, clay mask or modern-day LED face mask, you’ll be treating your skin to pure bliss.

However, those LED face masks are hand-crafted with specific technology to help confer benefits to the skin. According to multiple scientific studies, using an LED face mask is ideal for a variety of skin types and conditions, including mature skin to help alleviate the look of wrinkles and acne-prone skin to help tone down scarring.

Even better, using an LED face mask targets more niche skin concerns like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, redness and hyperpigmentation. Some may cost a pretty penny but, with consistent use, your skin will thank you.

"LED face masks have tiny ‘bulbs,’ or diodes, that emit different wavelengths of light," Margarita S.Lolis, MD, board-certified Mohs surgeon and cosmetic dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, told the New York Post. "Each wavelength corresponds to a certain color. LED technology is found all around us, from computer monitors to outdoor lights. However, certain wavelengths, such as blue and red, are frequently used in dermatology because of their therapeutic effects."

Ahead, our team of board-certified dermatologists hand-picked the 13 best LED face masks of 2023 they would personally recommend to their clients, along with sharing how to safely use one — step-by-step — in our in-depth FAQ section below.

"This is an FDA-cleared device that contains both 100 red and 62 blue LED lights for a full face light emitting treatment," Gloria Lin, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group who specializes in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology, told The Post. "It may help with collagen production, acne, and redness, in addition to its anti-microbial properties since it contains both red and blue light."

This LED face mask is a timed three minute treatment, so it is relatively short so could be easily added to a skincare routine. However, it's up there in price and may not be wide enough for all face shapes.

Not to mention, it's highly regarded as the best overall professional face LED mask, per Dr. Lolis. "It has you covered in that it can emit blue light, red light, infrared light, and amber light," she adds. "It has 100 red LED lights, 62 blue LED lights, targets collagen production, reduces acne and increases smoothness , elasticity and even tone of your skin."

You can use it in different light modes or in combination, too.

While the Shani Darden Skin Care PRO LED Light Mask is one of the more expensive professional-grade options, but it has 119 red, blue and near infrared lights.

"It also has a neck attachment and is touted to help with loose skin and tech neck," Dr. Lin says. "The sessions are 10 minutes long."

The Omnilux Contour Face is known as the prototype of at-home face masks and is touted to be the most comfy.

"It's designed with head straps so it can fit snugly and comfortably on your face," Lolis mentions. "It's also professional-grade so you are getting your money's worth."

While this is another expensive option, it contains both red light and near infrared light. "There are straps across the back of the head for better fit but can be slightly bulky since it needs to be plugged in during use," Lin adds, also recommending the product. "The treatment session is 15 minutes in length."

"The Angela Caglia Crystal LED Face Mask has an FDA-cleared unique crystal superstar rose quartz design combined with the LED lights (both red and blue)," Lin highlights. "The pretty pink color and flexible medical grade silicone make it an attractive option."

More, there's a Velcro strap that can be adjusted for a more snug fit. It's easy to travel with but is still on the more expensive side.

"This is different than any other since it includes this ultra cool crystal rose quartz treatment in combination with 132 red and blue lights," Lolis adds. "It makes your skin feel extra smooth right after."

According to Lolis, the Houzzi LED Face Mask is "extremely versatile" with seven lights: red, blue, green, yellow, purple, cyanine and white. It also has a neck component.

Aside from its impressive light versatility (which Lin also appreciates), it's also a great value for your money. "This also contains a neck piece, so it can treat a larger area," Lin adds. "When it's on sale, it may be a cheaper option that many others on this list."

"This gold face mask has red, blue, green, yellow and white light," Lin says, recommending the MZ Skin Light-Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device. "It's quite heavy though and expensive. The session is up to 20 minutes, but since there are multiple light options, you can customize the session."

Lolis believes the MZ Skin option is "fit for a queen," thanks to it being multi-functional in that it targets wrinkles, acne, redness, healing and pigmentation with its five light mode design. "I like recommending this mask post-procedures since the white light is great for skin repair after any procedures. But it also has white light which is great for repair of the skin after procedures."

This has a flexible design and contours to the shape of your nose, not only making it more comfortable but also allowing for better absorption of light.

"For those who are on a budget, this mask helps improve various skin conditions, ranging from eczema and acne to rosacea," Lolis notes, recommending the Skin Gym Wrinklit LED Mask. "It helps with eczema, rosacea and acne, while the red, blue and orange light help give your skin an extra glow."

Not to mention, Lin recommends this mask, too, as it boasts a "cute pink heart-shaped design that you wear like a pair of sunglasses." Specifically, it has a clear eye area, so you can multitask during the face treatment.

"It contains red, blue, and orange lights. It requires a longer treatment time, typically 15 to 30 minutes, and the battery life is not as good as some of the other options, so be sure to fully charge before using," Lin adds. "It's wireless and more affordable than other options. Some cons include its inflexible design and distance of the lights from the skin."

"The sessions are 10 minutes, but this one should be used three to five times per week in order to see results," Lin recommends, flagging the CurrentBody Skin LED Light Therapy Mask as a viable option to purchase. "Its flexible design helps with fit on the face, but there are no lights on the upper lip or upper forehead areas."

Impressively, it doesn't need to be plugged in during the treatment.

As a cute handheld device, the LightStim for Acne works well for targeted treatment.

"Let's just say if a giant cyst rears its ugly head on my chin, I like to pick up this wand and treat it with both blue and red light to kill the bacteria and also reduce the inflammation," Lolis notes, sharing her love for this less-than-$200 device.

This medical-grade silicone mask from HigherDOSE comes fully fledged with head straps that help it to mold to your face shape. "It uses red light therapy," Lin says. "Sessions are 10 to 20 minutes, and the device is cordless. It may not be as powerful as the other options, but it is easy to travel with."

Lolis also recommends the product as it's well-equipped for anti-aging and has red and near-infrared light. "It's super light and easy to wear due to its extra head strap," Lolis adds.

Lolis recommends the FaceGym Acne Light Shot as it's "great for spot treatment." It also emits blue light at high power.

"The design includes applying adhesive strips to hold the mask in place, so it is super easy to use," she adds.

"This flexible design with head straps is designed for closer fit and easy storage," Lin notes. "It uses red and near infrared lights to help with signs of aging and damaged skin."

Additionally, sessions for The Light Salon Boost LED Mask are 10 minutes long.

"The Aphrona is FDA-cleared and has red, blue and green lights," Lin shares. "There's an adjustable strap to affix it to the head, and the mask itself is made from a lightweight plastic material."

Plus, it's on a wonderful sale right now and is fairly priced compared to some other options on this list.

Ahead, our team of board-certified dermatologists to finely answer commonly asked questions on how to use an LED face mask, their benefits and more.

First things first — let's best understand how these skincare devices work before investing in one.

"LED or light emitting diode masks send wavelengths of light into the deeper layers of skin," Lin tells The Post. "Originally only available in dermatologists’ offices, now these smaller home units are becoming increasingly popular. Compared to the more powerful in office treatments, the LED masks may have modest results and require more sessions; however, they can be a helpful adjunct to a good skincare regimen if used consistently."

More, most masks require 10 to 20 minutes per session and are meant to be used two to four times per week depending on the manufacturer.

Aside from the fact that they are really fun to use and make for many Instagram worthy selfies, LED face masks tend to be stronger and more powerful. According to Lolis, traditional face masks use ingredients applied topically on the skin, however there are many variables.

"Optimal penetration and efficacy really depends on your skin barrier, the pH of your skin, the concentration and formulation of the active ingredients of the masks," Lolis adds. "WIth LED face masks, an energy source (the light) penetrates the skin to a known depth and triggers well researched cellular reactions."

What's more, traditional face masks are not high-tech devices and generally can be adjusted to fit all face shapes. "The LED masks are made from materials like silicone or plastic, so there may be some variation with fit and comfort," Lin explains. "There's a higher risk of contact dermatitis or irritation with traditional face masks due to the chemicals and preservatives, and they typically cannot be used for multiple sessions."

While more research needs to be done about the benefits of the LED face masks, there is some evidence to support the use of red and blue light. "Red light can be anti-inflammatory and stimulate collagen and elastin production since it has deeper penetration while blue light with its antimicrobial properties can be useful to treat acne," Lin says.

Ahead, Lin explains the latest scientific reasoning behind each color light therapy:

"The use of light therapy itself is FDA-approved," Lolis notes. "Most LED face masks are FDA cleared, but it is always important to double check."

If your LED face mask is FDA-approved, this means that they have undergone the 510(k) process through the FDA, which is used most often to review medical devices. "The standards are not as rigorous as products that require FDA approval," Lin explains. "FDA cleared devices often do not have large clinical trials to support their effectiveness and safety but are thought to be similar in their technology and purpose to other existing products on the market."

First and foremost, always follow the directions on your particular LED face mask. We outlined a dermatologist-recommended routine for you to use as your next cheat sheet:

According to Lin, it's important not to use any oils or other occlusive products on the face as this can affect the penetration of the light emitting therapy. "Depending on the brand, it may require different treatment times," she adds. "It can be used either in the morning or at nighttime. Results take time and require consistent use. There may be some temporary erythema or redness afterwards that should subside within an hour."

You may need to start off using the mask for small increments of time and build up to a full treatment depending on the device, too.

"Patients have a history of seizures or migraines may be triggered by bright lights," Lolis says. "Furthermore, some patients who take photosensitizing medications such as antipsychotics or antibiotics should avoid using an LED mask."

Additionally, LED face masks have the potential to worsen conditions like melasma, hyperpigmentation and certain eye diseases. "The use of these products should be discussed with a doctor prior to using," Lin notes. "In addition, these are not tested in pregnant women, so it should be avoided in this population."

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