Low-level light therapy (LLLT) devices, specifically low-intensity, non-invasive red light, promise to rejuvenate the skin and help address skin concerns such as inflammation and wrinkles.
Despite the popularity of red light devices for the face, it's essential to understand how they claim to work, weigh their benefits against potential risks, and know the leading devices in the market.
Below, we'll look at the science behind red light therapy and introduce you to five outstanding devices to consider if you want to integrate this tool into your skincare regimen.
Best red light therapy devices for face: a shortlist
Now that red light devices for the face have been on the market for over a decade; dermatologists are testing the claims of the proposed skin benefits. We came up with a list of five tools with science-backed characteristics, that are easy to use, and that customers have reported good luck with.
- Omnilux — best red light therapy at-home device for face
- Vellgus — best portable red light therapy device
- Eco Face — best hard red light face mask
- ATaPa — best multipurpose red light therapy device
- Solawave — best multifunction red light therapy device
How have we compiled the list of the best red light therapy devices for face?
We considered several factors when determining which red light therapy devices stood out.
|Price||The cost of the device, often a reflection of its features, brand reputation, and efficacy.|
|Number and type of LEDs||Refers to the count of LEDs and their quality. A higher number can offer better coverage.|
|Wavelengths||Different wavelengths penetrate the skin at different depths and serve various therapeutic purposes.|
|Irradiance||The power output of the light per unit area.|
|Coverage area||The extent of the skin area the device can expose to red light at once. Devices may be full-face or target specific zones.|
|Device warranty||A reflection of the manufacturer's confidence in the product's longevity and functionality.|
- Price. The initial investment required. Often, a direct reflection of capabilities, reputation, or unique features.
- Number/Type of LEDs. The type and number of LEDs determine the device's efficiency.
- Wavelengths Offered. Different wavelengths cater to varied skin needs.
- Irradiance. This is typically measured in milliwatts per square centimeter (mW/cm2) and indicates the intensity of light delivered to the skin.
- Coverage Area. Some devices are designed to cover the entire face, while others might target specific zones like the under-eye region or forehead.
- Warranty. A device with a more extended warranty period often indicates the manufacturer's trust in its durability and effectiveness.
Best red light therapy devices for face in 2023: an overview
These five devices offer a blend of cutting-edge technology and efficiency, making them some of the best-rated red light therapy for face solutions on the market. Each is tailored to meet specific needs, ensuring that you can find an option that aligns with your skincare goals.
1. Omnilux — best red light therapy at-home device for face
The Omnilux Contour Face costs $395. This dermatologist-recommended device leverages dual wavelengths: 633 nm (red) and 830 nm (near-infrared).
Its strength lies in the 132 medical-grade LEDs, organized as 2 LEDs per bulb across 66 LED bulbs.
Weighing 330 g, it's designed for facial application only. The controller battery takes around 56 hours for a full charge. Once charged, it can support at least ten individual sessions.
The device comes with a 2-year warranty, a 1-year controller warranty, and accessories, including a rechargeable battery controller, power adaptors, and a USB-C to USB-A connector, complemented by head straps and a carry bag.
2. Vellgus — best portable red light therapy device
The Vellgus Mini has dual wavelengths with near-infrared at 850 nm and red light at 660 nm, offering therapeutic benefits like muscle recovery and skin rejuvenation at $399. Its 15 LEDs, each at 5 W, produce an irradiance more significant than 219 mW/cm2 and have a combined light output of 75 watts.
The device is user-friendly, with a digital display, a bright screen, and a built-in 10-minute timer. It can be used on any area of the body.
It's also easily portable, with compact dimensions of 3.74'' x 1.18'' x 5.9'', a weight of 0.55 kg, and a cloth bag for storage. It can be charged using a Type-C USB cable and also features a battery that lasts up to 2.5 hours on a single charge.
3. Eco Face — best hard red light face mask
Priced at $289.99, the Eco Face Platinum LED Mask is a hard face mask that sports dual LED technology that targets the dermis and hypodermis layers beneath the epidermis. The 630 nm red light penetrates 2.5 mm deep to potentially rejuvenate collagen, while the 830 nm near-infrared light reaches a depth of 3.5 mm, potentially enhancing blood circulation.
Unlike other ha masks that weigh over 500 g, the ECO FACE mask is designed for comfort. Weighing a mere 230 g, it's crafted with open sections for the eyes, nose, and mouth to ensure breathability. The single-button operation makes it easy to use.
The mask contains 120 LED lights, split evenly with 60 red and 60 near-infrared rays. Each light module houses both spectrums, ensuring a comprehensive red light therapy application.
4. ATaPa — best multipurpose red light therapy device
Retailing at $750, ATaPa's Apollo is a pricey but high-end red light therapy device. It offers 32 LEDs emitting at two clinically proven wavelengths: 660 nm (red) and 850 nm (near infrared). The dual functionality allows users the flexibility to use red light alone, near-infrared alone, or both simultaneously, catering to varied therapeutic needs.
The Apollo's irradiance is impressive for a portable device at over 100mW/cm2 at distances exceeding 6 inches. Despite its travel-friendly size (9.8 x 6.9 x 0.8 inches), it provides a larger coverage area than other smaller models.
The device comes equipped with a power cord, a stand, and a steel cable and promises a lifespan of 50,000+ hours, ensuring users get substantial value for their investment. It also comes with a full 2-year warranty.
5. Solawave Skincare Wand — best multifunction red light therapy device
Priced at $169, the 4-in-1 Advanced Skincare Wand (V1) merges four distinct technologies in a compact device. Equipped with a 630 nm red light, its seven LEDs output at 40–45 mW/cm².
Galvanic Current is included in this tool. It optimizes serum absorption for enhanced skincare benefits. In addition, an integrated vibrator facilitates facial massages, addressing puffiness, while its warmth feature, maxing at 107°F (41.6°C), offers mild skin de-puffing.
The device provides 90 minutes of operation with its 3.7 V, 500 mAh lithium-ion battery. It takes roughly 120 minutes to charge via its magnetic port and corresponding USB-A cable. A 30-day return policy ensures customers see improvements or get their money back.
Comparison of the best red light therapy devices for face
When searching for the best skincare tools, the best-rated red light therapy for face devices consistently emerged as top contenders. To help you make an informed choice, we've combed through the specs and curated a list of leading devices based on specific criteria.
|Device||Price||Number & type of LEDs||Irradiance||Wavelengths||Coverage area||Device warranty|
|Omnilux Contour Face||$395||132 medical-grade LEDs||Not provided||633 nm & 830 nm||Facial (flexible mask)||2 year device, 1 year controller|
|Vellgus Red Light Mini||$399 (on sale for $349)||15 LEDs at 5W each||>219 mW/cm²||660 nm & 850 nm||Any area of the body||3 years|
|Eco Face LED Mask||$289||120 LEDs (60 red & 60 near-infrared)|
2 LEDS per bulb
|IR 64 mW/cm² and NIR 55 mW/cm²||630 nm & 830 nm||Face (hard mask)||1 year|
|ATaPa The Apollo||$750||32 LEDs||<100 mW/cm²||660 nm & 850 nm||Large coverage area||2 years|
|Solawave 4-in-1 Advanced Skincare Wand (V1)||$169||7 LEDs||40–45 mW/cm²||630 nm||Targeted facial zones||1 year|
Understanding red light therapy for the face
Red light therapy for the face utilizes specific wavelengths of light, typically in the 630 nm to 660 nm range. When this light penetrates the skin's surface, it reaches the cellular level, influencing the mitochondria within skin cells and potentially enhancing energy production. One proposed benefit of this therapy is the potential stimulation of collagen production associated with skin elasticity.
Regular use of red light therapy might contribute to a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and support overall skin rejuvenation. Beyond that, some studies suggest the treatment can aid in addressing sun damage, inflammation, and skin tone irregularities.
Additionally, while the exact mechanisms are still being investigated, some experts believe that red light therapy for the face can improve blood circulation, which may further contribute to a healthier and more vibrant complexion.
Benefits of red light therapy for face
The benefits of red light therapy for face may include:
- Improved skin texture
- Reduction in the appearance of fine lines
- Fewer breakouts
- Reduced appearance of scars
Most people seek out red light therapy because it is said to enhance skin texture. Regular sessions can help smooth the skin's surface, making it feel softer and more supple. That's because the therapy promotes collagen production, which is crucial in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Over time, consistent use may lead to a more youthful complexion. The best at-home red light therapy for the face ensures you benefit without regular spa or clinic visits. It offers convenience, allowing for frequent sessions and potentially faster results.
Types of red light therapy devices
You will likely find three types of red light therapy devices for the face: wands, masks, and panels. Wands offer pinpointed procedures, making them ideal for targeting specific areas. They're portable but might require longer use for full-face application since their coverage area is small.
Masks ensure uniform exposure to red light, targeting the entire face at once. They're hands-free and convenient, yet some might find them slightly restrictive. There are hard and flexible masks, which both wrap around the head.
Panels provide broader coverage. They're also suitable for face and body applications. Their larger surface area allows to have shorter sessions, but they are less portable than wands.
Best red light therapy mask for face
The best red light therapy mask for face provides comprehensive coverage, ensuring the entire facial area receives uniform treatment. Hard masks are simple to use but less portable.
Masks typically offer hands-free operations with added features like adjustable straps so you can relax during your session.
Best red light therapy for face wrinkles
For those targeting aging signs, the best red light therapy for face wrinkles focuses on comprehensive coverage and specific wavelengths.
Red light therapy for face and neck
Red light therapy doesn't stop at facial rejuvenation; it extends its benefits to the neck, an area often showing early signs of aging.
Some hard masks come with dedicated neck attachments, ensuring a comprehensive coverage for the often-neglected neck area.
However, for those without such specialized masks, devices like wands and panels are adaptable choices. Their design allows users to easily target both the face and neck, helping to combat signs of aging and achieve consistent skin rejuvenation across both regions.
When to use red light therapy for your face
Red light therapy is a non-invasive procedure with multiple applications for the face. Deciding when and how often to use your device depends on your specific skin concern:
- Anti-aging. Use 3–5 times a week for fine lines and wrinkles. Consistent sessions can stimulate collagen production, enhancing skin elasticity.
- Acne and skin inflammation. Addressing active breakouts or inflammation might require daily sessions followed by procedures 2–3 times a week.
- Post-sun exposure. To soothe sunburned skin, red light therapy can be used daily until the skin starts to heal, promoting quicker recovery.
- Scarring and wound healing. For scars or wounds, daily application can accelerate the healing process by boosting blood circulation to the affected area. (Note that a healthcare professional should typically evaluate open wounds before using red light.)
- General skin health. For overall skin maintenance, 2–3 sessions a week can help maintain a radiant complexion and overall skin health.
How to use red light therapy for face
To reap the maximum benefits of red light therapy for the face, follow the instructions that come with your device. Otherwise, you can abide by these general guidelines:
- Frequency. Most experts recommend starting with 3–5 weekly sessions, adjusting based on your skin's response.
- Duration. Typically, sessions last 10–20 minutes, depending on the device and the skin concern being addressed.
- Safety. Avoid using on open wounds or irritated skin without consulting a professional. Wearing protective goggles can offer an added layer of protection.
- Consistency. As with any skincare treatment, consistent use will yield the best results. Stick to a regular schedule to maintain and improve skin health.
Risks of using red light therapy for face
Red light therapy is considered safe for most individuals, but it has potential risks. While rare, some users report skin redness or irritation after sessions, which typically subsides after a few hours. Overuse can exacerbate this, so following recommended durations and frequencies from the device manufacturer is essential.
Some devices advice against use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
People with certain photosensitive conditions or on medications that increase sunlight sensitivity might experience adverse reactions.
While red light doesn't emit harmful UV rays, eye protection may make sessions more safe.
Always consult a dermatologist or skin care professional before starting red light therapy if you have known skin conditions or concerns.
FDA-approved red light therapy devices for face
You're not likely to find many affordable FDA-approved red light therapy devices for the face since devices for home use don't typically undergo the stringent process.
"FDA-approved" signifies rigorous testing and safety validation, while "cleared" or "registered" indicates a preliminary assessment deeming the device as low-risk.
Many devices are "cleared," showing that they are similar to existing products and pose comparable risk levels. Therefore, it's best to research trusted brands, therapeutic wavelengths, and user reviews to ensure safety and efficacy.
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Is light therapy safe for all skin types?
Red and near-infrared light therapy uses LED lights at relatively low power and is considered safe for all skin types and tones. Consult a dermatologist if your skin is photosensitive.
Are there any age restrictions for using red light therapy for face?
There are studies that show red light therapy's efficacy on children for wound healing and pain. However, red light therapy devices for face are not typically tested on children, and most will come with a warning not to use on children under 16 or 18.
How long should you do red light therapy to see results?
This will depend on the device and its power. Some people notice more radiant skin hours after application. However, when addressing scarring or hyperpigmentation, you may need consistent use for several months to see results.
What does red light therapy do for your face?
Red light therapy may stimulate collagen production, reduce inflammation, promote circulation, and help with skin rejuvenation, wrinkle reduction, and healing of acne or scars.
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- Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine. Noninvasive red and near-infrared wavelength-induced photobiomodulation: promoting impaired cutaneous wound healing.
- Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. A controlled trial to determine the efficacy of red and near-infrared light treatment in patient satisfaction, reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, skin roughness, and intradermal collagen density increase.
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- Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring.
- Skin Research and Technology. Reverse skin aging signs by red light photobiomodulation.