Aging and its effect on our appearance is a perennial hot topic in the news and beauty world. While researchers remain hard at work on a myriad of corrective creams and serums, that elusive “fountain of youth” ointment still evades them.
Research does show, however, that light therapy offers a host of positive benefits for our aging skin.
Could a light therapy mask be the anti-aging treatment your skin has been craving? We’ll look at the details of light therapy and its applications for anti-aging here.
What Is Light Therapy? How Does It Affect the Skin?
Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, uses specific wavelengths of light to help optimize health in the body.
Research shows that light therapy effectively treats many health conditions like depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as well as a wide variety of skin issues. Red light therapy has an anti-inflammatory effect and increases the flow of blood to the skin. Blue light therapy can kill microorganisms that might otherwise wreak havoc on the skin.
What Happens to Skin During the Aging Process?
As we get older, our skin changes. Factors that affect these changes include diet, genetics, personal habits, sun exposure, and smoking status.
Over time, skin loses elastin and collagen, the elastic tissues that keep skin taught and resilient. This loss leads to sagging, slack skin and the formation of wrinkles. The fatty layer of tissue under the skin also shrinks, resulting in less padding and support.
Additionally, the outer layer of the skin thins, causing a more fragile, lightened, and transparent look. It becomes more susceptible to injury and heals more slowly.
Aging skin can also take on a rough appearance, or develop new lesions, growths or discolorations.
These signs of aging are especially noticeable on the face and on any portion of skin that received large amounts of sun exposure through the years.
How Does Light Therapy Help With Aging?
Red light, when applied in therapeutic doses, stimulates the production of collagen proteins in the skin. Collagen helps to smooth the skin and give the face a more full, plump appearance. It can also reduce the visibility of wrinkles.
Additionally, as red light therapy improves blood flow to the skin, the face looks healthier and more vibrant.
The skin cells themselves absorb the light particles, which help them to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source for living cells. Light therapy can also protect skin cells from further damage and increase mRNA to help stimulate the cells on an ongoing basis.
But does light therapy actually work to reduce the effects of aging on the skin? Research seems to say yes.
One controlled trial used polychromatic red and near-infrared light to treat participants. The subjects of the trial experienced significantly improved complexion, increased smoothness, and greater collagen density. In addition to the objectively measured results, the before and after photos in the study show noticeable improvement.
Other studies have corroborated that light therapy rejuvenates, softens, and improves the overall appearance of skin.
Other Factors That Affect Aging Skin
Even with the use of phototherapy, many other factors affect the appearance of aging skin. Youthful-looking skin ultimately depends largely upon a healthy diet and lifestyle. No amount of light therapy will make up for a lack of self care.
For example, most people recognize that a lack of quality sleep leaves them with dark circles and bags under their eyes. What they might not know is that lost sleep also weakens the skin’s ability to repair and rejuvenate itself. Regular drinking and cigarette smoking leave their mark as well, aging skin prematurely. Light therapy cannot overcome these types of lifestyle choices.
The Future of Light Therapy and Aging
The future of phototherapy treatments for aging skin is bright. Quite a few excellent light therapy skincare products are already available for sale at a reasonable price. As the research progresses, light therapy products only stand to improve.
Light Therapy Mask Products for Anti-Aging
Hundreds of brands and styles of LED light therapy masks combat the frustrating signs of aging on the face. Most of them use red light, blue light or a combination of both. Some also include orange light, green light or “full-spectrum” light with 3+ colors.
Below are a few types of light therapy mask available on the market today.
Aphrona LED Facial Skin Care Mask
One cost-effective light therapy mask is Aphrona’s LED face mask. It’s easy to use and a great place to start if you’re new to light therapy masks.
Aphrona’s mask evenly distributes red, blue, and green light over the entire face for 15 to 30 minutes per day. The device includes an automatic shut-off feature for when treatment is complete, and it comes with eye-protection goggles. If you want to spend less than $200 on a light therapy mask, Aphrona is a great option.
Skin Gym WrinkLit LED Mask
Another light therapy mask with an even lower price tag is Skin Gym’s WrinkLit LED wireless mask. This mask may look a little less sophisticated but it still packs a therapeutic punch, and you can save big on the cost.
You wear Skin Gym’s mask for 15 to 30 minutes per day and to receive blue, orange and red light therapy over your whole face.
Dr. Dennis Gross Spectralite Faceware Pro
For those who don’t mind spending a little more money, Dr. Dennis Gross is one of the leading names in light therapy mask treatments. His Spectralite Faceware Pro mask boasts some impressive customer reviews for wrinkle reduction and other anti-aging effects.
The Spectralite mask provides red and blue light therapy for the whole face. Treatment times are much shorter than with the other masks mentioned here — only three minutes!
Looking for More Light Therapy Products?
Not seeing what you’re looking for in the list above? Check out a full array of the very best light therapy products available on the market today to see which might best fit your needs.