January 20th 2021
Why this celeb-approved immunity-boosting face mask has seen a 900% increase in sales in lockdown
October 1st 2020 / 0 comment
Never-ending bad news got you feeling down? Victoria Beckham and Chrissy Teigen's favourite LED face mask could be the answer; it claims to boost immunity and improve low mood as well as plump skin
This year has seen runaway sales of the most unexpected things; hand sanitiser, dumbbells, mini trampolines, flour and... LED face masks. The Light Salon has seen a 900 per cent increase in sales of these (admittedly slightly scary-looking) masks, beginning in March and steadily rising since. While Victoria Beckham has long waxed lyrical about the power of LED to ward off wrinkles, boost collagen production and increase hydration, people are as much turning to these silicone LED masks, which are wireless so you can wear on the go, for their immunity and mood-boosting powers.
"LED is used to treat a number of conditions including seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression because it mimics natural light and has been shown to boost serotonin levels," says Dr Johanna Ward, who uses the Dr Dennis Gross DRX Spectralite Faceware Pro Mask, £430, at home several times a week.
LED can be amber, green or blue (read our explainer on what LED does) but it's the red that works its magic on immunity and mood. "Red light combined with near-infrared light [the kind used in masks] is a powerful combination for cellular restoration and immune health," explains Dr Johanna. "Red lights stimulate the lymphatic system and helps strengthen the immune system, which is your body's internal army that protects you against toxins, pathogens and disease"
If like Joe Wicks, you've been experiencing low mood recently, a mask could help you along the way. "LED also has a balancing effect on cortisol, which helps lower stress during the treatment time. As the warm lights cocoon you, you can expect to feel more zen and instantly calmer and almost all clients report leaving the salon feeling brighter and with a spring in their step after an LED treatment," explains Laura Ferguson, co-founder of The Light Salon who offers in-clinic treatments and the at-home Boost LED mask loved by Victoria Beckham.
“Feedback from customers both in-salon and at-home LED treatments tell us that the bright lights offer a form of meditative calm,” says Laura. “For me, applying LED light to my face or body is an instant stress-buster. It slows down my breathing, and in turn, I can feel my shoulders and every part of my body relax."
As well as VB, Chrissy Teigen, models Hannah Cooper and Adwoa Aboah, Trinny Woodall and Nick Grimshaw are fans of LED masks and the experts are in on the act too; when we spoke to skincare experts about their must-have at-home tools, facialist Joanne Evans sang the praises of LED, in particular, the Rio FaceLite Beauty Boosting LED Face Mask, £349.99.
LED to combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
As the nights start to draw in and days are darker, our energy levels tend to drop and we can suffer low mood as a result of SAD. "LED mimics natural light and boosts serotonin levels so we call it the 'happy light'," says Dr Johanna. "Even short LED sessions boost energy and mood and decrease stress levels."
LED for sleep
If you struggled to sleep during the first lockdown, you might be worried about the same happening as a second wave comes. LED masks can help with this too, as Laura explains: “Near-infrared can offer improved sleep by helping to reset our circadian rhythm and increasing the sleep hormone, melatonin."
"It can boost serotonin, our happy hormone, and ignite pockets of nitric oxide, which is just as valuable as vitamin D and present in every single cell in the body. Nitric oxide increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure, so it also works as a destress hormone,” she adds.
How to use an LED mask
Place the adjustable straps around your head, tuck the charger into your pocket (or bra!) and you're good to go. The masks are timed to shut off after ten minutes. You don't feel any heat at all and you can wear it as you go about your business. The red light doesn't restrict you from reading, watching TV or working, Joanne Evans tells us.
The Light Salon also offers an LED mask for the neck and decolletage £445, to heal, hydrate, and nourish the neck, chest, back and shoulders. Alternatively, as Joanne does, you can just place your face mask flat on your body if you've opted for a flexible mask such as the Facelite or the Boost. These masks boost mood and immunity when you use them on other parts of the body, not just your face. But we find that nothing beats wearing it on your face on dark winter mornings.
Laura recommends using the mask three to five times a week for ten minutes, but to adjust this in line with your emotional wellbeing. Our Editorial Director Victoria Woodhall uses her Boost for morning meditation for 20 minutes a day.
“Increase when you need more support, and decrease when you are sleeping well, your skin is glowing, and you require less,” says Laura. It won't cause you harm if you overuse the mask, but Laura notes that you can only absorb so much light. "The body processes light as it needs it. You can only absorb so much, so once your batteries are fully charged, so to speak, you need to use it up before charging again. This is individual to each person and is not measurable."
With the nights drawing in, and bad news arriving daily, we can certainly see why the demand for mood and immune-boosting masks is on the rise.