Have you heard the joke about how many dollars it takes to shine light on your face? No, well, it’s more funny uh-oh than funny ha-ha. LED therapy, which uses light-emitting diodes similar to those illuminating your remote control to combat acne and wrinkles, can annihilate your beauty allowance. At the spa in the Four Seasons’ Washington, D.C. hotel, for example, a 50-minute session of brand Kate Somerville’s DermaLucent Phototherapy runs $230 to $300. In its overview of LED, Paula’s Choice Skincare estimates the cost of receiving an LED treatment at a doctor’s office ranges from $50 to over $200, and multiple treatments are necessary.
For acne and wrinkle solution seekers who aren’t made of money, skin care device companies are starting to lessen the LED payload. LED Technologies recently announced it partnered with model-turned-mogul Kathy Ireland’s namesake company to introduce affordable LED options in its ReVive Light Therapy assortment, including the $69 Essential, which boasts 24 medical-grade LED lights. A believer in natural skin care therapies, Ireland gushed she’s found LED treatments to be “exceptional for wrinkles, aging spots, fine lines, sun damage and more.”
Lloyd Nelson, chief executive officer of LED Technologies, told fashion, retail and beauty trade publication Women’s Wear Daily that light therapy’s popularity is growing as women gravitate to natural beauty alternatives. “As the trend to prevention in aging continues, we see an increase in women in their late 20s and early 30s migrating to these devices in efforts to delay the onset of aging,” Nelson said.
LED Technologies isn’t alone in cutting LED costs. Verilux’s ClearWave phototherapy system for acne can currently be purchased on the lighting firm’s website for under $80. If you can overcome their spooky Jason Voorhees quality, IlluMask’s anti-acne and anti-aging masks are among the cheapest LED remedies available. They each are priced at $29.95. If you factor in the cost of your time – IlluMask advises use of its masks for 15 minutes per day – the price edges up a tad, but not much. IlluMask is available at Target, Ulta, Walmart.
If a product doesn’t work, any cent paid to buy it is a cent poorly spent. In general, LED shows promise for improving skin problems. Various studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of blue light to alleviate acne and red light to diminish signs of aging. However, there are studies that suggest LED doesn’t rejuvenate the skin, notably a 2009 analysis in the Dermatological Surgery that discovered no objective changes in 36 dermatology patients subjected to LED treatments.
Reviews of the inexpensive LED devices, the IlluMask in particular, have been mixed. Harper’s Bazaar queried women over 40 about a slew of high-tech gadgets. Elizabeth, the 50-year-old IlluMask tester, was pleased with the product. She reported, “I think my lines have softened a bit, and I have a nice healthy glow.” But Fashionista senior editor Dhani Mau wasn’t a fan. “The brand promises results in four weeks, and that’s exactly how long the mask will work, after which you throw it away,” she wrote, adding, “After maybe 20-25 uses, it just stopped working altogether, as if I had reached 30, though I definitely hadn’t. And my skin didn’t seem any better than it had a week or so prior.” Sometimes you don’t exactly get what you pay for, no matter how little you pay.