Victoria Beckham recently posted a picture of herself with her latest beauty gadget – a light emitting diode (LED) mask.
She’s not the only fan of the device – Kourtney Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen and Madonna have all raved about its complexion-perfecting powers on their Instagram feeds.
The science behind LED technology is legitimate – it was, in fact, developed by NASA who used it to aid wound healing on injured astronauts in space.
Recently, a host of LED masks have become available for home use, while more powerful versions of the device are employed in dermatologists’ clinics to treat an array of skin concerns.
How do LED masks work?
The masks are instilled with tiny bulbs, which emit coloured wavelengths of visible light that penetrate the skin at a cellular level, causing various reactions. Blue light, for example, kills acne-causing bacteria. Red light is useful for stimulating the fibroblasts that make new skin-firming collagen and green light can fade pigmentation.
“There is increasing evidence for the use of in-clinic LED therapy for skin rejuvenation and treating conditions such as acne and rosacea,” explains aesthetic doctor David Jack. “The low risk of any side-effects means that they are extremely safe and there is zero downtime,” he adds.
In clinic LED therapy sessions can range from £35 to £80 a go, making home use devices cheaper by comparison.
“At-home LED masks are made with fewer bulbs and tend to deliver less energy and density than in-clinic devices,” explains Dr Jack, who suggests investing in a good quality device in order to reap the real benefits.
Most home-use LED masks are designed to be used for around five to 15 minutes a day. They are suitable for all skin types and can be tailored to your complexion concerns. For LED masks to be effective, experts suggest regular use, over several weeks.
We put the latest LED masks to the test…
LED Masks: The reviews
MZ SKIN Light-Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device
Best for: Combination skin
Developed by Dr Maryam Zamani – one of London’s go-to oculoplastic surgeons and aesthetic doctor, this chic, gold coloured LED mask emits five different coloured lights to target a variety of skin issues. Red is to strengthen and firm, blue is for decongesting skin and fighting breakouts, green to reduce the look of hyperpigmentation, yellow to sooth sensitive skin and white to promote healing.
The device is easy to set up - you simply put on the mask, plug it in and use the remote control to select the light colour and your preferred time (15 to 30 minutes is recommended). The intensity of the light can also be adjusted. I tested the red light. As the instructions suggested, I started slow – 10 minutes, three times a week and this was gradually increased to 30 minutes every other day.
I didn’t see an immediate difference, but my skin texture was much more radiant after a week. The green light mode was also tested – after two weeks, small patches of discolouration had started to fade.
SENSSE Professional LED Mask
Best for: Manual and automatic programs
This LED mask is different to others on the market and you’ll notice that straight from the outset. First and foremost, it has a flexible feel so adapts to the contours of your face more comfortably than its contemporaries. It is crafted from a high grade silicon that has the added bonus of being easy to clean, you just use a cloth and wipe it.
From first opening the box to your treatment, there’s very little for you to do. You simply connect the mask to the controller, apply the velcro and you’re good to go. The controller has just two buttons. One allows you to switch between auto and manual modes, while the second flicks through the manual modes on offer.
Start by exfoliating your face to encourage a better penetration of the light and then choose the mode that suits you best. Red improves blood circulation and repair, blue is to reduce oil production, yellow for lymphatic draining, elasticity and fine lines, and purple for imperfections. The automatic mode takes you through the rainbow to give you up to five minutes illumination on each but if you’re looking for a more targeted treatment, stick to manual.
The brand suggests gradually increasing the length and frequency as you go but begin with just five minutes once every three days and work your way up to 10 minutes everyday if you wish. It is rechargeable through USB.
The comfort of the mask and the ability to sit back and relax when applied makes each use feel like a pampering spa-worthy treatment.
CurrentBody Skin LED Light Therapy Mask
Best for: Skin brightening
This is the perfect pick if you you’re looking to perk up your skin before a night out.
The device features a combination of red LED lights to stimulate collagen production and infrared to trigger the ‘wound healing cells’ to form fresh skin.
In-house clinical studies found that using the mask helped reduce wrinkles by 35 per cent in just four weeks, while 95 per cent of users said their skin tone, texture, firmness and tightness was improved.
The makers recommend using the mask for 10 minutes a day, three to five times per week. It can be used on bare skin or with the brand’s Hydrogel Mask for enhanced results.
The mask is portable and is made with a cushy, flexible silicone, making it more comfortable to wear than the stiff plastic alternatives. It sits perfectly around the face, allowing the built-in red LED and infrared lights to penetrate all areas of the skin. You can also walk around with it, making it easier to fit into your daily routine.
Skin texture was brighter and more hydrated after just two days and appeared noticeably plumper after two weeks of daily use.
Dr. Dennis Grossâ DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro
Best for: Acne and spot prone skin
This medical grade, FDA-cleared maskhas been developed by A-list dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross. It comes instilled with acombination of 100 red (collagen stimulating) and 62 blue (bacteria-killing) LED lights, which can be used separately or simultaneously, making it a great option for those who have multiple skin issues.
The sleek-looking mask is the same version that Dr Gross uses at his Manhattan clinic. The control button sits at the top of the forehead, and each press activates a different mode. This mask is ideal for those who are time-starved; since you only need to use it for three minutes a day (it automatically turns off after this time).
It is also cordless, so you can get on with chores while the mask gets to work.
Consistent use for ten weeks is recommended for acne sufferers, but we noticed an improvement in hormonal breakouts after just three days and overall skin appeared brighter after a week.
Project E Beauty Wireless 7 Color LED Mask
Best for: Treating multiple skin problems
This multi-tasking mask boasts 150 bulbs and seven colours to treat everything from fine lines, to blemishes, to rosacea. It also comes with a neck piece.
The mask is wireless and the settings are controlled with a remote. In terms of comfort, it’s slightly on the heavy side - so it is best used lying down.
You can pick from red light to reduce lines and improve skin texture, blue to tackle bacteria and breakouts, green for curing wounds, cyan to fight inflammation, yellow for fading dark spots, purple to improve circulation and finally white for overall skin health.
After seven days of using a combination of the red and yellow lights there was a clear difference in skin texture – my complexion was smoother and clearer.
Breakouts were calmer and less visible when the bacteria-killing blue light was used for 10 minutes a day for four weeks.
Deesse LED Facial Mask
Best for: Professional-standard results at homeâ
Deesse’s Pro LED masks can be found in dermatologist clinics all over the world and celebrities including Madonna, Katy Perry and the Kardashians have posted about the brand’s masks on their Instagram accounts.
Deesse’s brand new home-use mask is lightweight and doesn’t budge once it is on. The only downside is you need to plug it into a socket and wear protective eye goggles, so you can’t move around once it is on.
The mask utilises770 bulbs, four wavelengths and six treatment modes – the blue light treats congestion and acne, the red light targets fine lines and lacklustre skin, while the green light works to calm and repair.
If you have a skin condition or if you’d like to impart skin with a healthy glow, the makers recommend using the device around two to three times a week, for 20 minutes, over the course of three months.
This mask provided the most impressive results - just one, ten-minute session with the soothing red light left skin looking rejuvenated and well rested. On one occasion, after a reaction to a skincare product, the mask swiftly calmed redness.
The complexion also started to look more youthful after a month of daily use.
If you don’t have the time or money for in-clinic LED sessions, these home use masks are a great skin care investment.
My top pick is the MZ skin mask, as it can treat various skin concerns, but each one of these masks will deliver results — when used consistently, over time, their skin-perfecting results are clearly visible.â