Light-emitting diode (LED) therapy has been gradually gaining traction in salons worldwide, and now it looks set to infiltrate our bathrooms too as more and more at-home devices are launched. So what is it and could it be the treatment that helps the beauty device sector, already booming in Asia thanks to the time-poor South Koreans and gadget-loving Chinese, capture hearts worldwide? Indeed, a recent report published by VynZ Research singles out the launch of at-home LED therapy devices as a major growth driver for the beauty devices sector.
In a nutshell, LED therapy is said to be able treat acne, reduce inflammation, boost collagen production and improve circulation with a combination of blue, red and yellow light and this impressive list of claims is no doubt responsible for the 144 percent rise in appointments over the last year, according to UK beauty booking app Treatwell.
But LED’s popularity is due not only to its anti-aging and anti-blemish claims, two core skin care concerns, but also its medical heritage (it was initially developed by Nasa neurologist Harry Whelan, among others) and the fact that the treatment has no side effects. Results-orientated, medical-grade skin care is, after all, one of the biggest trends in the category right now, hence the exponential rise of doctor and derma brands. Oh, and the fact that several celebs, Jessica Alba and Victoria Beckham among them, have posted selfies of themselves using their devices for Instagram, can’t have hurt.
At home devices take the form of either masks or wands, and the likes of MZ Skin, Carita, LG, The Light Salon, Deesse, Angela Caglia, Tria, Silk’n, Dr Dennis Gross and Foreo have forayed in to the space as well as more mainstream brands, such as Johnson & Johnson-owned Neutrogena, although its mask was subject to a recall earlier this year.
However, it’s going to take more than that controversy to stop this juggernaut – I mean, once something has been branded ‘the most efficacious treatment in dermatology’, it’s bound to turn a few heads. Indeed, not only are the results said to be impressive but this treatment ticks a lot of the boxes that need to be checked in order to make it big in beauty in 2020. It’s ‘natural’, multi-functional and it promotes a ‘radiant glow’, rather than the ‘frozen’ appearance indicative of Botox and its like, it isn’t single use and it’s even said to help combat stress and anxiety and improve sleep.
And while this is all very encouraging for the beauty device manufacturers, is this treatment set to rival or even replace topical treatments? “An LED device is never going to replace your moisturiser or sunscreen, but you get maximum benefit by using LEDs and topical ingredients in conjunction,” says Dennis Gross. In other words, manufacturers of traditional topical skin care need not quake in their boots yet, and there could be an emerging category of LED compatible serums.