Are LED Masks Better Than Red Light Therapy Panels for Skin Rejuvenation?

For eons, people have been searching for the mythical fountain of youth, and it seems red light therapy is the closest we’ve ever come to finding it (what a time to be alive, right?). Countless studies have found the therapeutic treatment to be effective for treating skin woes, including acne, wrinkles, and rosacea, among others, and for rejuvenating dull, sagging skin. 

You may have seen the scads of style magazines and beauty bloggers touting LED masks as the new frontier of skincare - after all, they look futuristic as heck - but are they better at skin rejuvenation than red light therapy panels? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and pitfalls of this hot new beauty trend. 

We Recommend the Rouge Pro for all skin-related issues
The Pro allows for highly concentrated irradiation while covering a greater surface area. With the pin-point focus of LED masks, you may not be reaching the entire surface of the skin effectively.

What are people saying? From a Rouge customer: "Fantastic for skin health. I have sensitive skin and occasionally get a hormonal pimple or two. After using this light for 4 months my skin has pretty much remained flawless...I absolutely recommend this to anyone who wants to improve their skin health."

LED Masks: The Pros

They cost (slightly) less than red light therapy panels. The price of LED masks can range from less than $100 to around $2,000, so there are plenty of options to suit smaller budgets. There’s a catch, however: you may not be getting nearly as good a return on your hard-earned cash with an LED mask. We’ll get to why red light therapy panels are a better investment in the “cons” section. 

They’re portable. Most LED masks are cordless, with the idea that you can perform your regular daily activities with relative ease. However, while red light isn’t generally considered to pose a risk to the eyes, and can even improve ocular health, experts still recommend that you keep your eyes closed during treatment to minimize eye irritation and strain. And if you are treating your eyes, exposure shouldn’t exceed more than two or three minutes at a time. 

So, even with a portable mask, you might be limited to activities you can do with your eyes closed, like yoga, simple exercises, or meditation (all things you can easily do with a red light therapy panel).

Many allow you to switch from red light to blue, green, yellow, and white. We think this is a bit of a faux advantage, and here’s why. Blue light is purported to treat acne; green light calms the skin and helps with hyperpigmentation; yellow light boosts circulation and reduces redness; and white light improves mood and increases energy levels. Here’s the kicker: red light does all that too (and much more!). Plus, you’d have to spend an awful lot of time with your mask on to see benefits from each type of light; time you could use to get even better results from red light alone.

LED Masks: The Cons

They limit the number of benefits you can get from red light therapy. The list of red light therapy’s benefits don’t stop at the face, or even the skin. Red light therapy is a full-body treatment that can penetrate deep into your body’s tissues to help with a plethora of issues, including pain relief and inflammation, weight loss, athletic performance and recovery, immune health and hormone regulation, to name a few. Check out this article for an in-depth look at the many benefits of red light therapy and to learn about how the treatment works.

The quest for younger-looking skin should entail a full-body approach, as well. The neck, chest, and hands, for instance, are dead giveaways for aging skin, and could also benefit from red light therapy treatment. Not to mention skin issues that don’t necessarily affect the face: red light therapy has been found to be effective for the treatment and healing of wounds, scars, and stretch marks

Irradiation may be too focused. You might think that the fact that LED masks sit right up against your face will give you a more effective treatment. In reality, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Research shows that red light therapy is effective when placed between 6 and 18 inches from the skin. This distance allows for a highly concentrated irradiation while covering a greater surface area. With the pin-point focus of LED masks, you may not be reaching the entire surface of the skin effectively. 

Most don’t offer NIR light. One of the key elements to effective red light therapy is the combination of two distinct wavelengths of light: red light at ~660 nanometers and near-infrared (NIR) light at ~850 nanometers. Because they penetrate the skin at different lengths, they each have a different range of benefits. While red light is the key player in skin rejuvenation, NIR can help with pain relief, cognitive health, bone tissue repair, sleep disturbances, hormone health, and many other issues. And some of these issues can indirectly help you achieve a more youthful appearance: sleep deprivation, for instance, has been linked to a number of aging skin issues (dark circles, wrinkles, dry and sagging skin), and low testosterone can worsen chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis.

The LEDs on a mask may not be as powerful. Our research on the more well-known brands of LED masks has turned up very little data on irradiance. Specs on wattage, beam angle, energy output and other important information are simply not provided. Conversely, Rouge Red Light Therapy panels have been tested by a third-party lab, and the results are available for you to see here

This lack of information on the power of LED masks makes it difficult to compare them to panels. But we do know that not all LEDs emit the same amount of light. Therefore, by opting for an LED mask without having access to the specs, you’re taking a gamble on the efficiency of your treatment.  

LED Masks Vs. Red Light Therapy Panels: The Verdict

While you will see some benefits with an LED mask, you won’t be getting the full range of benefits a red light therapy panel can supply. Plus, you may be getting a less effective irradiation, as well as a rainbow of other lights whose benefits are essentially redundant. 

It’s clear that the benefits of red light therapy panels far outweigh those of LED masks, and the investment is one you’ll be seeing returns on for a lifetime. Ready to start seeing full-body health improvements? Shop the Rouge family of red light therapy devices today, and enjoy a healthier you from head to toe.  


  • Thanks for explaining every detail about the new skincare device to us!
    Rouge replied:
    Our pleasure!

  • Thanks Cristina, very happy to hear that! I’ve been using the tabletop device for about 4 months now and virtually all of my skin issues have cleared up (dermatitis, extreme skin sensitivity, dry scalp, hormonal acne… I recently ran out of face moisturizer and didn’t use any for over a week – I just… didn’t need it – I only really need it now to mix with my foundation on the rare occasion I leave the house. This would have been an all-out emergency a few months ago). On top of that, my skin is fuller and firmer. I couldn’t be happier to have discovered RLT through my work. It’s so, so worth it.

    Kerri Flanagan (author)
  • This is just the article I needed to choose, thanks so much!


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