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LED light therapy treatments were originally developed in the 80s by NASA to help speed up astronauts tissue healing and repair, by stimulating the production of collagen.
LED light therapy itself has since been used in clinical settings for quite some time now but at-home LED devices are becoming increasingly popular. I’ve been lucky enough to test out the DERMABE Phototherapy Mask so read on to hear about my experiences with it.
What Is LED Light Therapy & What Does It Do?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. Light therapy uses a number of LED bulbs which give out different wavelengths of light to stimulate and energise skin cells. Our skin cells work to absorb these different wavelengths of light and convert it into energy for use.
Depending on the wavelength used, evidence has shown that LED treatment can stimulate collagen and elastin production, reduce inflammation and improve blood flow and tissue oxygenation. These effects can help skin cells absorb topical skincare products more effectively and help rebuild the damage caused by the ageing process.
Our skin naturally repairs itself on a daily basis but we can use LED treatment to enhance and boost that repair process. Light therapy is a non-invasive, safe and pain-free treatment that doesn’t come with any side effects or downtime!
What Are The Potential Benefits Of Light Therapy?
As well as the benefits mentioned above, LEDs emitting red and blue light do appear to have some evidence in the treatment of acne. This was my primary reason for testing out the LED mask. Let’s look a little more at the benefits of red and blue light therapy!
Benefits Of Red LED Light Therapy
Red light therapy has a wavelength between 620nm (light red) and 700nm (dark red) and has been found to penetrate deep into the skin via the top layer (epidermis) to the second layer of skin (dermis).
Red light therapy can:
- Provide anti-ageing benefits by stimulating collagen and elastin production. This helps to strengthen the skin and make it more resilient
- Reduce inflammation within the skin which can accelerate the healing process. This makes it particularly useful for fading scars, healing blemishes, repairing sun damage and improving the overall skin tone
- Reduce the appearance of redness from rosacea, acne and broken capillaries
- Help the skin to retain moisture more effectively
Benefits Of Blue LED Light Therapy
Blue light therapy has a wavelength between 405nm and 420nm. It can penetrate the skin effectively and is mostly used for its antibacterial benefits and therefore used in acne treatment.
Blue light is thought to:
- Reduce redness
- Reduce inflammation
- Regulate oil production
- Kill the bacteria that can drive acne (P.acnes)
Blue light at a wavelength of 415nm is absorbed by a molecule called porphyrin. P.acne bacteria contain abundant amounts of porphyrin. The absorption of blue light by porphyrin leads to the death of the P.acne bacteria.
For best results use blue light in combination with red light therapy. This way you’ll get the antibacterial benefits of blue light and the skin rejuvenation and wound healing benefits of red light.
So Is LED Treatment The Answer To My Acne Woes?
LED masks potentially can help acne but the results are average at best and larger studies are needed to show that they actually work. Yes, some studies do appear to show a reduction in the number of inflammatory (red) spots but it seems to have little to no effect on non-inflammatory lesions (blackheads and whiteheads). Furthermore, LED phototherapy is not recommended for those with cystic acne. This is because LED treatment temporarily causes inflammation in the skin as immunological cells infiltrate the area. This can be very painful in patients with cystic acne! There is also a suggestion that LED phototherapy could worsen cystic acne by causing the lesions to erupt, potentially spreading into surrounding follicles or resulting in scarring.
As suggested by personalised skin service, Skin + Me, the main issues with LED masks appear to be the consistency and reliability of their results. Their results are not superior to evidence-based treatment creams and medication. They may well have a place for those who don’t wish to, or are unable to, use oral and topical medications but more evidence is needed.
What Are The Potential Benefits Of The Other Colours?
Near Infrared: This is the most deeply absorbed wavelength. It increases cell permeability and absorption, smooths lines and wrinkles, improves elasticity, reduces pain and inflammation and accelerates wound healing.
Purple: Can improve circulation and reduce the appearance of scars. Great for wound healing.
Amber: Can help to flush waste from the skin, boost lymphatic flow and increase cellular growth. It can be effective in the treatment of skin issues involving redness such as rosacea. It’s ideal for sensitive skin because of its calming and soothing abilities.
What Skin Types Can Try Light Therapy?
Light therapy is good for all skin types.
Can You Get A Tan From Light Therapy?
No! Light Therapy doesn’t use UV light so there’s no risk of catching a tan!
Does Light Therapy Hurt?
No, LED light therapy is non-invasive and does not hurt at all. All you may feel is a tiny bit of warmth.
My Experience With The DERMABE Phototherapy Mask
So, I was very kindly given this mask by DERMABE to try out and give my honest thoughts and opinions so here goes!
The DERMABE mask is fitted with 150 LED lights, 7 different colour settings and intensity settings ranging from 1 to 10. I was advised by DERMABE to check out their ‘My Skin’ page on their website to get a skin plan for my skin concern that I wanted to target. At this time I was suffering with a massive outbreak of acne and I was post laser treatment for broken capillaries so my skin was feeling a bit sorry for itself, to say the least! Therefore my chosen skin plan was the one for acne which included using red, blue and purple light.
Week 1 – First Use
I was advised to start using the mask 3 times a week for 20 minutes at a time and to begin on a lower intensity setting as I’d never used LED light therapy before. So, I did exactly what was advised and began on the blue light at intensity level 2 for 20 minutes. I noticed no visible change in my skin after using it.
Whilst using the mask for the first time, I honestly found it super uncomfortable to wear it as was advised, which was with the strap over your head. This was supposed to hold the mask in place whilst sat up. However, the strap appears to be in an awkward place, too high up on the mask which leads to the bottom of the mask jutting out and away from the face. It also meant that the top part of the mask then pressed a little too firmly into my eyes and nose with the silicone eye protectors as I had to do the strap up pretty tight to help with the weight of the mask.
When it came to using the mask for the second time that week, I used the red light setting and increased the intensity setting up to 6. At this intensity I felt a slight warmth on my skin which felt lovely! After using the mask, I did notice my skin looked calmer, less red and more plump! As for positioning, I decided not to use the strap at all and instead just placed the mask over my face and laid flat on my bed… much more comfortable but it led to me catching some zzzz’s whilst the mask was doing its thing! Not a problem though, the mask beeps once the 20 minutes were up which woke me up so I could finish the rest of my skincare routine!
On my third and final go of the week, I went for the purple light and went straight to intensity setting 10. I didn’t notice as much of a visible change as I did with the red light but I definitely saw some soothing of redness!
As the weeks went on I varied between using this mask 3 times a week and 5 times a week. The novelty wore off slightly as I found it quite difficult to fit in double cleansing, using the mask for 20 mins and doing the rest of my skincare routine all in a weekday evening. Also when I did use it I found that I gravitated more towards just using the red light as I found this worked the best for my skin and skin concerns. Plus I also discovered through research that the blue light in this mask is of a wavelength that will not provide the antibacterial benefits that I’m looking for. You need a wavelength of around 415nm to have those effects and this mask has a blue light wavelength of 470nm which means it’s not going to penetrate my skin and kill that acne-causing bacteria!
Overall, I really enjoyed testing out this mask, I don’t think it helps with my acne but I do like how it soothes any redness or inflammation when using the red light. I now tend to use the red light treatment on the weekends when I have more time! It makes for a very luxurious self-care moment!
How Do I Use An LED Mask?
I personally use this mask in the evenings only and after double cleansing and allowing my face to air dry. I use the mask for 20 minutes and then I will get straight on with the rest of my routine.
You don’t need to rewash your face after using the mask. You also can’t overuse an LED mask/device!
Do I Think You NEED This Mask?
No, I don’t but I don’t think that about any skincare device that I’ve tried so far. To me they are nice luxuries if you want to use them in your routine but I certainly don’t think they are the ultimate answer to your ageing or acne concerns. There are just more evidence-based treatments out there for those concerns. However, if you are looking to up your selfcare game then an at-home LED mask could be perfect for you!! I certainly enjoy using mine and feel super bougie when I do!
This mask retails for £121 and if you want to try out this mask yourself, you can find it HERE.
Have you tried LED light therapy? If you have, was it in a salon/doctors office or with an at-home device? Did you see results? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments section below!
Love & Knowledge
S A M A N T H A
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