What is an LED Facial?


The golden goddess Jessica Alba sent the world into a tizzy when she Instagramed herself wearing a robot mask glowing bright pink (see here). ‘What is this?!’ we all wondered…And is this the secret beauty treatment to the stars? I had to know. I booked an appointment for an LED facial (light therapy) ‘Opera Facial’, as it’s called, at Skincare Peridot for the full experience.

peridot magazinesI first discovered Skincare Peridot when I used to wear lash extensions. The owner, Masako, is a self proclaimed ‘lash snob’ and only purchases her lash extensions from Japanese beauty trade shows in Tokyo. (She claims the lashes are softer and the glue higher quality equating to extended time between refills.) I was so happy with my lashes that I started seeing Masako for facials. Reasonably priced and extremely thorough, a facial with Masako can cost $55 for the basics to $225 for a treatment including microdermabrasion or oxygen infusion. The LED Opera Facial lands in the middle.
peridot led mask
Masako explained to me that LED facial machine has been used in spas for years, but the recent celebrity attention has increased its popularity among clientele. The light emitting diode aka “LED,” uses infrared light – red light to stimulate collagen production and blue light to kill the bacteria on the face, p.acnes, responsible for pimples (University of California Berkeley). The ‘Opera Mask,’ Masako bought from South Korea, uses red and blue light therapy together. 

The facial moves through a normal flow – cleansing of the skin, exfoliation with a natural raspberry peach enzyme peel, extractions, and a hydrating jelly mask – before the star of the show is brought out. Masako places the white LED facial plastic mask on my face. Three prongs, one positioned on either cheek and a third on the chin, hold the mask half an inch away from my face. A second piece rests gently on my neck. A little claustrophobic, um, yes. But after getting through the initial discomfort the lights feel relaxing. Twenty minutes pass by and I am asleep. Masako removes the mask and gently pats Vitamin C serum and sunblock on my face. 

My skin looks clear, bright and slightly plumped immediately after, but the next morning is when I noticed improved skin radiance. Some benefits can be seen after one treatment, but the general consensus in the dermatology community agrees LED light therapy requires multiple treatments to see real improvements, since collagen stimulation and regrowth isn’t instant.

If you’re thinking about purchasing an at home LED facial device… you could, but we don’t recommend it. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there’s evidence for the effectiveness of professional devices, but little for home ones due to decreased strength (consumer devices have shorter wavelengths than professional grade lights) and inconsistent use. So if you’re going to try LED light therapy, opt for professional treatments.

Anti-Aging Opera LED Facial, 80 mins, $125

Skincare Peridot, 3741 Motor Ave Los Angeles, CA 90034, (310) 842 – 8856

-by Amy Chang
Photographed by author