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How to Use LED Light Therapy with Your Skincare Regimen to Maximize Skin Health


You’ve likely picked up on all the attention around LED (or Red) light therapy in the media and seen it appear on almost every facialist's treatment menu. Even our customer service receives regular emails asking, “Do I need an LED light mask, and which one?” signaling to us there is confusion amidst all the buzz. At MARIE VERONIQUE, our priority is skin health, and we believe that with proper dermal delivery of topical ingredients combined with a healthy internal body, you can achieve your healthiest skin. So, if that is the case, do you need red light therapy if you have a great topical + lifestyle routine? And what can you expect from using it? 

The reality of 2024 is that most of us live in highly populated areas with pollution, lead busy lives, sit in front of computers, drive around in cars, etc. All of these contribute to a significant amount of oxidative stress. From a health perspective, we are repeatedly told to eat a lot of fiber and a variety of vegetables, balance our blood sugar, exercise + meditate, and sleep for 8 hours each night. Still, the reality is most of us don’t succeed in doing so daily. To top it off, we are all aging. I'm bringing this up to highlight why we make skincare products: to compensate for stress, lack of nutrients, imbalances, and most importantly, the decline in skin function that inevitably happens to each of us as we age. So, knowing what I know about these factors and LED technology, when I look in the mirror at my 40-year-old skin, I find myself saying, Yes, give me the lights!  

What is LED light therapy?

To simplify, LED technology is light distributed via light-emitting diodes (LEDs) at various wavelengths onto the skin. This technology of low-level light therapy has been around for about fifty years, and thousands of studies attest to its benefits across various skin issues. The specific wavelength will dictate the depth of the light (or energy) and the associated benefits. Blue light hits at 465nm, red light hits around wavelength 620-780 nm, and infrared is 800-900nm. When the light interacts with the tissues of a human body it may trigger an assortment of biological reactions. The most interesting claim is that it can help increase circulation and support mitochondrial function. From improved circulation, you can see accelerated wound repair, a decrease in inflammation, and a reduction in pain. 

Research shows that LED devices may increase ATP production (cellular energy) so that these cells may function more efficiently (as we age, mitochondria produce less and less ATP, which is integral for things like cell signaling, wound healing, pigmentation, vascular homeostasis, and hair growth). As skin health experts, we care deeply about that (thank you, SOOTHING B3 SERUM). I was personally interested when I learned that LED therapy was created for NASA, given the rate of wound healing slows dramatically in space, and the LED panels were an effort to compensate for that; very cool!


What does LED light therapy specifically do for the skin?

When considering the fact that these lights may increase circulation and cellular energy, it could benefit the skin based on repair + regeneration + restoring homeostasis. This means we may see an increase in collagen, integrity of elastin or tightening of the skin, reduction in hyperpigmentation, and overall healthier skin barrier. Those are positive side effects, yet it will greatly depend on your starting point and individual circumstances. For example, someone with healthy skin and a strategic topical regimen might need to use LED devices for a significant period before they notice anything or might not see visible changes. Still, they can rest assured that they are supporting deep-level skin health. Whereas someone with years of sun damage or dry, depleted skin might notice drastic changes within a few months. The most significant visible benefit I have seen is the increase in wound repair and reduction in redness. If you have a cut or pimple, the use of LED light therapy will quite drastically speed up the recovery process, and if you start the lights with a flushed face, it will look different at the end.

As we all would likely appreciate the benefits of these devices I have listed above, I want to stress the importance of a strategic skincare routine. Using these devices alone, without proper nutrients to satisfy the daily requirements of the skin system, you simply will not see great results. For example, LED light devices stimulate collagen production by sending signals to the fibroblasts to make more collagen. Without adequate amounts of vitamin C, they cannot produce collagen, no matter how much you stimulate.

Additionally, pay attention to cadence. Stimulating collagen, believe it or not, can accelerate skin aging. This happens either by increasing stress on fibroblasts so they go into early senescence, which causes inflammation, or by causing other stressors, e.g. heat, that can create inflammation. Therefore, it is crucial not to overuse them. Again, it is essential to use appropriate topicals – in this case, let’s highlight retinol. Retinol delays and even reverses some skin aging processes by helping to revert skin cells to their pre-senescent state, so they send signals of the type found in youthful skin. Essentially, reducing the number of senescent cells reduces SASP (senescence-associated secretory phenotypes) that create inflammation and aging. Aging is all about inflammation, and retinol is a potent anti-inflammatory that works at the cellular level. Bottom line: if you want to stimulate the skin via these devices, include vitamin C and retinol as part of your nightly routine to ensure you don’t tip the scales to accelerate aging.



In summary, red light therapy is helpful for skin health but not imperative. It's a tool and a choice. If you're choosing it, here's what to look for and topical products to boost the benefits.

Prioritize devices that penetrate the proper depths (listed above), have several bulbs, and are transparent about their technology. Celluma and Theraface are good examples of brands we recommend. Personally, my favorite is Celluma. I’ve been using this device for many years with clients and prefer it for various reasons:

  • The device itself is a large, moldable panel- you can arrange it over the face/neck/leg/arm, etc. One key factor in LED efficacy is getting the lights really close to the skin. These panels do that very well. Also, they cover a large surface area and are proven to penetrate deep enough to do the actual work.
  • In addition to topical benefits, it is also great for pain (wrap it over the lower back) and concerns such as edema or swelling (wrap it around the legs if you feel swollen post-flight).
  • Compared to other devices, I have seen the most results from Celluma (they do not sponsor us; I’m just a fan!).

How to use:

  1. If you are 35 or under, you don't really need LED therapy. You can use it, but please do it sparingly (review the prior paragraph). Reasons to use it would be for wound repair such as acne, or a history of acne/scarring, and hyperpigmentation/melasma (this could look like one or two sessions after a breakout, or weekly until acne improves and hyperpigmentation fades). But as we’ve stressed in previous blogs, your priority at this time is not to stimulate an already perfectly functioning system but instead to balance, support, and protect. Invest in your home care products including sunscreen and return to this subject when it's time.
  2. If you are 35+, now can be a good time to introduce LED light therapy. The amount you need will depend on your age, history, and skincare goals. I recommend balancing by supporting barrier function, having a consistent retinol routine, and the nutrients you need, such as vitamin C and niacinamide before you start stimulating. Once you're ready, start with 2-3 x/week for one month, then take a break for 30 days and see what you notice. It takes about 30 days to see new cells at the surface, so I suggest boosting the skin with the device for a month or two, then pausing for a while and letting the skin catch up. If you have reactive skin or sensitivities to heat, skip the infrared setting and use only the red light.

    FACE TO CHEST HYDRATION MASK is great for anyone interested in LED light therapy, as heat can be created as a byproduct of the skin, which can lead to inflammation. From a holistic standpoint, make sure you drink plenty of water, sleep and eat well, and exercise to achieve significant results.

    Topicals we recommend pairing with an Aging Skin Treatment:

    1. If you have acne, choose blue light. This penetrates the skin superficially so that it will impact the top layers. It is important to distinguish between true acne and adult/cyclical acne, as the blue light will not help the latter. If you have fungal acne (a forehead full of breakouts), blue light can help. Or true acne, with pimples in many areas of the face, blue light can be beneficial. If you get one to two cystic pimples during your cycle, the blue light likely won't be able to target the deeper part of the follicle, and the leading influencer is inflammation, so red light/infrared is much more effective as it may speed up the overall process.
    Topicals we recommend pairing with an Acne Treatment:

      Skincare is not as straightforward as the industry leads you to believe. We don’t expect you to be skin experts — you need a partner for this work, and we are here to serve in that role! For topical support and regimen guidance, please reach out directly to our esthetician team.