I set out to find the best facial light therapy device I could, regardless of whether it was a “name brand.” Just the best, whether or not the company spent marketing dollars to convince me it was.
My therapy light criteria are here:
- it treats aging, acne, and redness
- it is solidly built
- it has superior features to copycat competition
I didn’t set out to choose one company with two products. But that’s what I ended with after researching 23 facial lights.
Two products from the same company rose to the top of the list.
Hydraskincare Photon and Professional
The Photon and Professional come from Hydraskincare. These are the best therapy devices I found. If you want to cut straight to the winners, click below to see them on Amazon.
Best Light Therapy for Acne and Wrinkles
Treat wrinkles and acne both, as well as redness, inflammation, rosacea, eczema and scars. The light colors used in these treatment devices closely match those used in successful studies on all of these skin conditions.
Why I Love the Hydraskincare Photon
Use this high-quality light pad to reduce symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, redness and inflammation. These wavelengths are also appropriate for arthritis relief, pain relief, and scar reduction.
But what I love about the Hydraskincare Photon is that its soft and pliable, meaning you can wrap it around your arm or leg, place it across your front or lie on it. It’s a whole body therapy device.
Use red/infrared combined with yellow and blue for acne. Use red/infrared combined with yellow for wrinkles.
640 nm red combined with 470 nm blue significantly reduced lesion count in moderate to severe acne. 660 nm red combined with 415 nm blue significantly reduced lesions and inflammation in acne patients. 633 nm red combined with 415 nm blue significantly reduced lesions in acne patients.
633 nm combined with 830 nm reduced wrinkles up to 36% and increased skin elasticity up to 19%. 630 nm combined with 850 nm infrared significantly reduced neck wrinkles and also showed no thyroid interference from the light therapy 660 nm decreased wrinkles and increased collagen .
Yellow Light Studies
The Photon includes 583 nm yellow. Most studies I’ve found in this range use 590 nm, which is functionally equivalent to the Photon’s 583 nm yellow light. This wavelength reduces acne lesions, encourages hair growth, breaks down fat, improves site, reduces swelling, and reduce surgery scarring.
- Acne Lesion Reduction: 585 nm yellow significantly reduced acne lesions
- Hair Regrowth: 590 nm yellow combined with Minoxidil triggered sustainable hair growth in men with Androgenetic Alpoecia (note that there’s no evidence this light stimulates facial hair growth, but it does trigger head hair growth).
- Fat Breakdown: 590 nm yellow significantly induced lipid droplet breakdown and promoted autophagy (the healthy “garbage collection” cell process (it broke down fat and cleaned up the remains!). By the way, most fat reduction studies are done with red rather than yellow light. To learn more about fat reduction using red light therapy, see my article Can Red Light Therapy Reduce Belly Fat?
- Macular Degeneration Sight Improvement: 590 nm yellow combined with 670 nm red and 790 nm infrared significantly improved visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, drusen volume in eyes with macular degeneration
- Swelling Reduction: 590 nm yellow combined with 830 nm infrared significantly decreased facial fracture edema (water swelling)
- Surgery Scar Reduction: 590 nm yellow combined with 830 nm infrared significantly decreased surgery scars on subjects’ necks
Table: Compare Facial Light Major Abilities
What Does a Facial Light Do?
A red light facial therapy device:
- rejuvenates aging skin
- increases collaagen and elastin
- reduces wrinkles
A blue light facial therapy device:
- kills P acnes bacteria often present in acne breakouts
- reduces acne redness and papules
A blue and red light:
- is ideal for acne
- rejuvenates the skin
- reduces redness
The Dome and Pad are Excellent for Face Treatments
There are so many device types you can buy for facial treatments. The torch design looks like a flashlight. It’s similar to a handheld, which is larger. A panel is a big box of lights. I chose the pad and the dome because they’re hands-free and reach all the target areas.
- The Photon is a flexible pad that appears to be modelled on the very high end Celluma light therapy device. VIEW PHOTON ON AMAZON.COM
- The Professional is a dome of lights on an adjustable arm that appears to be modelled on the professional-only Omnilux therapy light. VIEW PROFESSIONAL ON AMAZON.COM
WINNER #1: The Best Flexible Pad Facial Light
The Hydraskincare Photon is a consumer price-point copy of the expensive Celluma therapy pad. The Photon is a solid facial light. It treats aging, acne, and redness.
The unit comes with a solid wire frame stand to lift the lights away a bit from your face. I found that when copycat devices didn’t have this stand, consumers felt the lights were too close.
The Photon has higher-quality componenents than the competitors. This is the facial therapy unit with:
- a proper wire frame stand
- a healthy width and depth
- quality construction
WINNER #2: Best Adjustable Arm Facial Light
The Hydraskincare Professional facial therapy light is a perfect upgrade from a basic box light therapy device
If I were shopping for a Joovv or Mito type red light therapy box, I would definitely get the Hydraskincare Professional facial light instead.
The Professional has all the features of a box light, but:
- it’s more convenient than a box light to change targets
- you don’t need to hang it on the ceiling or a doorknob
- you can easily move the light to a new target
- it includes yellow and blue healing light as well as red and infrared
The Hydraskincare Professional sits on a heavy duty base. The unit stays in place when you move the flexible arm to different treatment areas.
What About Facial Masks?
I am working on a facial light mask comparison. The article you are reading does not include any face mask lights for this reason. Face masks have many benefits and they’re worth pursuing. Update! I found a wonderful facial LED mask I love. It’s made of soft but strong medical grade silicone by an established health product company. Read more about my new favorite mask here: The Complete Guide to Buying a Wrinkle or Acne LED Face Mask
You can get flexible masks now, which puts them on a level field with pads like the Photon. For a while, the Photon had the advantage, because you could easily use it on your body as well as your face. You can do that with masks now that there are some flexible masks on the market. The hard masks are difficult to use anywhere but the face.
Can Consumers Buy “Professional” Facial Lights?
Light therapy vendors sometimes state “for professional use only” on their products. But it’s not as if they ask the buyer if she’s a professional or a regular consumer. This “professional use” instruction comes about two ways.
- The vendor is selling a professional device to consumers
- The vendor is using “professional” as a marketing term
The Hydraskincare Professional is a clinical device now sold to consumers. It’s a tough machine used in spa and doctor offices. The Professional can run all day, every day.
I think that the seller wrote “for professional use” on their listing to remind buyers that this is a clinic-level machine.
The Hydraskincare Photon is a best-in-class consumer device.
Their Professional and the Photon prices are consistent with their status. Professional is a clinical device. Photon is a high-end consumer device.
Why Do Red Light Facial Devices Have Other Colors?
The science supports using these lights for health:
Manufacturers offer purple, orange and yellow colors, but there’s no justification for using these colors.
Use Red Light for Wrinkles, Collagen, and Slimming
The right kind of red light can reduce wrinkles, produce collagen, and smooth out blemishes. Red can also help fat release from fat cells. Of all the types of light tested, we have the most evidence that red light really works.
There is ample evidence that proper use of this type of red light is effective in firming skin, producing collagen, and reducing wrinkles. You have to use the right kind of red, and it has to give you the right amount of energy. No, I’m sorry, you cannot use a simple red bulb to get these effects.
Hundreds of studies show that the right kind of red light helps the skin:
- decrease wrinkles
- decrease roughness
- increase collagen
- increase firmness
You should know that there is some good evidence that red light releases fat from fat cells. Doctors performing liposuction use red light to soften fat before the procedure. When using red light at home, the fat melt effect can work, but you have to put in work as well.
Plastic surgeons performing liposuction have been testing red light on loosening up the tummy fat. The good news is that they have had success getting the fat cells to let go of triglycerides and fatty acids. The cells shrink up and the contents empty into the lymph system.
The bad news is that the fat cells refill themselves unless you do half hour of aerobic and drink two large glasses of water.
If you are willing to do the work, there is every reason to believe that putting your facial device on “red” will help spot reduce your fat.
Use Blue Light for Acne, Oil, and Scars
Blue light has an anti-bacterial effect on facial skin. Applying blue light in the 420 nm to 440 nm wavelength range can command the sebaceous gland to halt oil production. This combination of effects can dramatically reduce acne breakouts.
Multiple studies show that therapeutic blue light decreases acne symptoms, and even reduces acne scars. In fact, red light also helps reduce scars, so acne treatment should include a dose of blue light and then a dose of red light.
Use Infrared for TMJ, Inflammation, and Arthritis
The right kind of infrared light can speed wound healing and reduce inflammation. Hundreds of studies show infrared is a healing energy when use in proper doses. Facial infrared treatments can soothe TMJ inflammation. Combining red and infrared seems to work better than using just red or just infrared. You can use the facial therapy device on your body to help reduce arthritis inflammation.
Only the lower infrared wavelengths are visible. You won’t be able to see the infrared bulb when it’s on.
Why I Want to See “Fulfilled by Amazon”
If you have ever had difficulty figuring out how to get service on a warranty, then you want to know about “Fulfilled by Amazon.” The “Fulfilled by Amazon” program handles logistics and customer service for its members.
The members sell their products on Amazon’s pages. Amazon warehouses their inventory, and ships it out to customers.
If the vendor uses “Fulfilled by Amazon,” you can contact Amazon for customer support. If they do not use Amazon, you have to contact the vendor.
There is a button on the top right side of every page for you to do that. The vendor is supposed to respond to you right away. When Amazon fulfills the order, you can get instant customer service.
When the vendor fulfills the order, you might need to wait for the vendor to be in the office, and for the English-speaking employee to get back to you.
The lamps I recommend for facial therapy all use the Fulfilled by Amazon service.
Use Your Facial Light on Your Body
You can use the Photon and Professional devices on your body as well as your face. The Photon is a flexible rubber pad. Hold it to your body with your hand, or get a nylon strap to hold it for you. The Professional is on an adjustable arm. Position it over any part of your body for hands-free treatment.
Blue Light Eye Warning
Blue light might be dangerous for:
- people with pre-existing eye conditions
- people taking photosensitive medication
Infrared Light Eye Warning
Over the long term, very bright infrared can cause cataracts. If the lamp is so bright you need to squint, then use eye protection when using your infrared light.
Do You Need Goggles?
Light therapy vendors often say to wear goggles with their devices. This is a tricky issue, because the light can both heal and annoy your eyes. Some people find that the lights are bright enough to cause discomfort.
Yet, there is evidence that looking at the right wavelength of red light can reverse declining eyesight. That study used 670 nm red. These devices use 640 nm and 630 nm red.
Could those wavelengths help? The studies are not yet in.
The Hydraskincare Professional comes with goggles. The Photon does not include goggles. They are very cheap. Consider getting a pair.
Not sure if you need goggles or dark glasses with your red light therapy? Find out whether you need goggles in my article 1 Way to Know if You Should You Wear Goggles in Red Light Therapy (opens in a new window)
Infrared is usually good for the skin, including hyperpigmentation symptoms. Sometimes, however, infrared induces pigmentation. Anyone concerned about pigmentation should insure the infrared can be shut off on their device.