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Acne? Wrinkles? LED Light Therapy Might Be the Solution

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Like microneedling and dermaplaning, LED light therapy has grown in popularity over the last few years. In-office treatments and futuristic at-home gadgets (see: those Michael Myers-looking masks you’ve scrolled past on Instagram) promise to tackle skin issues like acne and fine lines with a blast of light to your face. But what’s the story behind LED light therapy, and is it really the miracle worker it’s said to be? Here’s why this buzzy new technology might be a boon for your skincare routine.

What is LED light therapy?

LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” and the technology has been around since the ‘60s. Infrared light waves penetrate into your skin and cause a cellular reaction, such as increased circulation and collagen production. Different wavelengths can have different effects. Blue light, for example, is often used to treat acne because it kills acne-causing bacteria on the skin’s surface.

Is LED light therapy safe?

Yes. In fact, starting in the ‘80s, NASA pioneered the use of LEDs to help heal wounds more quickly. LED light is different from UV light and won’t burn or damage your skin. Whether you’re getting an LED light treatment from your aesthetician or using a handheld device at home, the process is completely painless. Light therapy enthusiasts often report a relaxing feeling of warmth as the LEDs go to work.

Which color of LED light is best for me?

LED light waves come in a variety of colors (or wavelengths, if we’re being scientific about it) that are said to target different skin issues. These are a few of the most popular:


  • Red light: calms inflammation, promotes circulation and tissue repair for firmer skin

  • Blue light: kills acne-causing bacteria to reduce breakouts, reduces the size of sebaceous glands

  • Amber light: stimulates collagen and elastin production for firmer, tighter skin

  • Yellow light: brightens dullness and fades hyperpigmentation issues

  • White light: penetrates deeply to tighten skin and soothe inflammation


Can I do LED light therapy at home?

At-home light therapy with devices like Skin Inc.’s Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light++ ($295) can be a great way to supplement your skincare routine and reap the benefits of LED therapy. However, keep in mind that at-home treatments aren’t as powerful as the kind you get from your dermatologist (though they are much less expensive). To get the most out of your LED light device, make sure to use it on a regular, frequent basis.

Illustration by Megan Badilla