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The LED face mask: why this mood-boosting beauty tool is your best friend in winter

November 10th 2021 / Melanie Macleod / 0 comment


Images Instagram: @chrissyteigen @trinnywoodall @victoriabeckhambeauty

Celebs such as Carey Mulligan and Victoria Beckham love LED masks for their glow-giving powers, but it's the mood-boosting benefits of LED that have got us hooked

If the darker nights and mornings are getting you down, it could be time to invest in a mood-boosting LED mask, experts say.

Our energy levels tend to drop in winter and we can suffer low mood as a result of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and LED is here to help. "LED mimics natural light and boosts serotonin levels so we call it the 'happy light'," says Dr Johanna Ward, who uses the Dr Dennis Gross DRX Spectralite Faceware Pro Mask, £430, at home several times a week. "Even short LED sessions boost energy and mood and decrease stress levels."

LED masks have been launching left right and centre since last year, when The Light Salon reported a 900 per cent increase in sales of its Boost LED Mask, £395. This month sees skincare pro Maryam Zamani launch her latest LED offering, the MZ Skin LightMax Supercharged LED Mask 2.0, £545, proving that the love for LED masks is going nowhere.

How do LED masks help with SAD?

"LED 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," 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 a side note, LED masks can also help support immunity; very handy when what's being called 'the worst cold ever' is doing the rounds right now.

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 Ward. "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"

LED skin benefits

While the mood-boosting power of LED is at the forefront of our mind on this grey day, we should also mention the impressive skin benefits LED boasts too.

"LED light therapy is a painless treatment that triggers your skin’s natural healing abilities and can tackle many complexion issues such as fine lines, breakouts and hyperpigmentation," says Shenae Rae, founder of Swear By Skin, who sell the Look Lit LED Mask, £75.

LED knocks back redness and inflammation and gives the skin a lovely rosy plumpness – there's a reason Carey Mulligan's makeup Georgie Eisdell used one on the actress before the 2021 Academy Awards. "Before every red carpet, we mask!!" Georgie wrote on Instagram. "@currentbody LED mask smoothes, calms and firms. I cannot live without it. I made sure we got a little 15-minute relaxation and skin love this morning with Carey before we started glam." The Currentbody Skin LED Light Therapy Mask favoured by Carey retails at £279.


VB praises the power of LED to ward off wrinkles, boost collagen production and increase hydration and during a particularly stressful week, she snapped herself in PJs (silk, monogrammed of course) wearing the Light Salon Boost mask because she was, she says, "launching #VictoriaBeckhamBeauty and the #VBSS20 show all in one weekend..."


Other celebrity LED converts include Chrissy Teigen, Kourtney Kardashian and Trinny Woodhall, and experts love them too. When we asked 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, £297.49.


LED for sleep

If you struggle to sleep, 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 of Currentbody. 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 gloomy 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.

MORE GLOSS: The facial tools that doctors and aestheticians use at home

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