They may look like something straight out of a movie featuring robots who live on another planet, but the best LED face masks we have access to today are just another example of how high-tech beauty has become. (Hello, at-home laser hair removal tools!)
Yes, sheet masks and even the peel-off kind are still prevalent in most skin care routines, but overall, the concept of masking has expanded exponentially. And in what feels like definitive proof that we live in the future, some of the best face masks are now goo-free LED formats that promise even bigger results than their messier counterparts.
Our top picks:
Are LED face masks good for your skin?
So what exactly do LED face masks do that even the best sunscreen, antiaging beauty products, or retinol serums can’t? LEDs are light-emitting diodes, which are devices that emit light of different wavelengths, explains board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. And although you’ll find LED technology in everything from computer monitors to street lights, LED light has been used in dermatology for cosmetic reasons. “The most common wavelength of light is red, which is thought to have anti-inflammatory and collagen-stimulating effects in the skin,” Dr. Zeichner explains, noting its benefits for minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.
In addition to red light, many masks can also emit antimicrobial blue light, “which may help reduce the acne-triggering bacteria on the skin, helping to improve inflammatory acne,” says Kaveri Karhade, MD, a Bay Area board-certified dermatologist. Infrared, near-infrared, and amber light are also options in LED treatments, because of their ability to help reduce redness and even skin tone from dark spots or hyperpigmentation.
These in-office alternatives have become go-to treatments for celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Kourtney Kardashian—and thanks to a range of price points, they’re becoming a fave for non-famous folks too. (Bless.) “Many at-home masks purport to have these same benefits from the ease and comfort of one’s home, without having to deal with the inconveniences of visiting a doctor’s office,” says Dr. Karhade. The best way to use these devices is often in conjunction with a moisturizer or face oil; some brands even sell their own, though, the skin care products already in your routine definitely suffice.
Ready to get glowing? Below, you’ll find nearly a dozen of the most highly reviewed LED face masks at a variety of price points, all of which have been vetted by derms or tested by our team of beauty pros.