Light therapy is a hot topic in the skincare world. Experts estimate the global market for light therapy will grow nearly five percent by 2030, with the largest buyership coming from North America.
Light therapy treatments can be administered by qualified skincare professionals, including dermatologists, estheticians, and cosmetic therapists. However, a less expensive option is to purchase an at-home treatment device specifically designed for the skin issues you’d like to target and administer treatments yourself.
If you suffer from frequent or severe acne breakouts, or pronounced signs of aging, one type of at-home device you might consider is a light therapy acne mask.
And, depending on the mask you choose, you may also want to purchase a light therapy acne mask activator.
What Are Light Therapy Acne Masks?
Light therapy masks are light therapy-administering devices designed to be placed over your face and worn for a specific length of time, which varies depending on the product instructions. It’s essential that you follow the instructions carefully to avoid any adverse side effects.
Before choosing a light therapy mask, check the dimensions and reviews to make sure it will fit comfortably and securely over your face. This isn’t always easy to tell unless you can try the mask on in person — often impossible, since many masks are sold only online or in sealed packaging.
If you’re unable to try on, here are a few easy things to look for:
- Find out how the light therapy mask secures over your face. If the mask uses a strap to keep it in place, be sure it will fit the circumference of your head, or see if the strap is adjustable.
- Look carefully at the overall shape of the mask. If you have a particularly round or oval-shaped face, this could affect which light therapy mask will work best for you. Also check reviews to see if anyone describes issues with nose shape and size, cheekbones, or any other feature that might apply to you.
- Read the product description for the length of treatment sessions and how often you will need to use the mask. Make sure you’re able to commit the time necessary to achieve optimal results.
Some light therapy masks come with additional attachments to target the skin of your neck and décolletage area. If this is a priority for you, limit your search to masks with this additional feature.
How Do Light Therapy Masks Work?
The most effective light therapy masks administer a combination of both blue and red wavelengths of light. This is especially important if acne is your main concern.
By supercharging your skin’s cells, red light promotes the production of elastin and collagen, which help to produce a smoother, more youthful complexion. Increased microcirculation along with a boost in cell turnover also promote healing, which benefits several skin conditions, including:
Blue light targets and destroys the primary acne-causing bacteria that lives naturally on your face, helping heal existing breakouts and prevent future ones. Both blue and red light reduce oil production and inflammation, and less inflammation means less swelling, redness, and pain.
What Is a Light Therapy Acne Mask Activator?
A light therapy acne mask activator is essentially a battery or power pack that provides certain light therapy acne masks with steady, consistent power for treatment sessions. Some activators come with a pre-set allotment of power, but some you can repeatedly charge yourself.
Not all light therapy masks require an activator component. Many masks can plug directly into an outlet or other power source to charge their internal battery. However, activators become crucial components for mask use when they’re required.
How to Purchase a Light Therapy Acne Mask Activator
You only need a light therapy acne mask activator if you own a mask that requires an activator.
Neutrogena used to sell a one-step acne treatment package called the Light Therapy Acne Mask and Activator. The mask came with an activator containing enough charge for 30 10-minute treatments. If you wanted to continue using the mask, you could purchase additional activators from the company.
Each additional Neutrogena activator contained enough power for 30 more sessions. After using the activator, users could recycle it through Neutrogena’s recycling program.
Unfortunately, Neutrogena recalled and discontinued the Light Therapy Acne Mask. The decision to recall this product was “made out of an abundance of caution,” according to the company, after a small number of users reported the masks “visual effects” from their masks. Because of this, the Light Therapy Acne Mask Activator has also been discontinued.
You could also try activating your Neutrogena mask using an alternative activator. One such product is the Unlimited Activator, Reusable General Purpose Battery or Power Pack by LiiHot, an AA battery-powered activator with no session limit. At the time of this writing, the product has an Amazon rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars based on 277 user reviews.
The same company also offers a lithium-ion rechargeable version of its no-limit Neutrogena-compatible activator, which has a 4.4 Amazon rating based on 129 reviews.
To make sure you get a compatible product that accomplishes what you need, remember to read product descriptions and user reviews carefully.
Light Therapy Acne Mask Activator: Final Thoughts
The light therapy acne mask activator is a component of just one type of at-home light therapy device.
There are many light therapy products available, from small spot-treating wands to full-body beds. Before choosing a light therapy device, always read the full product description. Understand how the device works and learn whether you will need to purchase any extra items, such as an activator, eye protection, or other accessories.
Also, pay attention to online reviews from people who have already used the product you’re considering. The most useful reviews regarding effectiveness will come from people who have a skin type and/or condition similar to yours.