I might look alien, but this mask is doing something quite beautiful for my skin! It’s been known for some time that certain wavelengths of light have beneficial effects on the skin and can be harnessed for therapeutic applications. Light wavelengths are often referred to using their associated color and include blue (405-470 nm), green (470-550 nm), red (620-660 nm), and near-infrared (NIR) (700-1000 nm) lights. Blue light has been clinically proven to kill the acne-causing bacteria, P. Acnes. P. Acnessynthesize and store a protein called a bacterial porphyrin. Once this porphyrin is exposed to blue light, it becomes active and transfers to an excited state, this causes membrane damage and destroys the P. acnesbacteria from the inside out.Less P. Acnes = less breakouts and clearer, smoother skin. Red light has been clinically shown to reduce inflammation and help stimulate skin cell turnover and regeneration, increasing the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. The combination of red and blue light therapy has been clinically proven to be effective at reducing acne lesions. *Editor’s Note: this mask will help reduce and control mild to moderate acne, but anyone suffering from a moderate to serious acne condition should consult a doctor and continue whatever regimen s/he suggests.
The anti-aging mask uses red light to even skin tone and reduces roughness, and infrared light to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While I cannot substantiate these claims, according to the IllumMask website, a recent NASA-funded clinical trial showed that red/near-infrared light reduced the painful side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment in patients undergoing stem cell and bone marrow transplants. The IllumMask web site also cites scientific studies involving light therapy indicating it as a promising alternative treatment for skin infections , sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder, Alzheimer’s disease inflammatory joint conditions, depression, and even cancer. I am not suggesting or recommending the masks as miracle cures for anything, let alone anti-aging, but you can read the studies for more information.
While there have been professional devices used by doctors, there have also been some devices for at-home use. The Advice Sisters have reviewed some of these, going back to 2008, but until recently, these devices cost upwards of several hundred dollars, putting them out of reach for the average person.
At a recent editor’s event held at noted Park Avenue Dermatologist f Dr. Paul Z. Lorenc’s office, I learned about two new therapy masks that use light therapy to treat acne and anti-aging. The thing that wowed me about these devices, called IlluMasks, is that they are good for just 30 uses, and cost just $30.00. And they’re available in your local mass market retailer!
I will provide specifics about each of the masks in a moment, but first, here are a few things you might want to know. First, the reason the masks are only good for 30 uses is that the LED lights used in the mask lose a significant level of luminous intensity (irradiance) after a number of uses and therefore the lights wouldn’t be as effective. But longer lasting lights would drive up the cost. As I understand it, the creators are looking into re-chargeable models, but of course, this will bring up the cost. At $1 per dose per day (and you need just one 15-minute pre-timed session per day), it’s within reach of everyone).
To use the mask, you simply wash your face (clean skin without products on it is important, but you can apply any or all of your products after you use the mask). Slide the mask on to your face like you’d put on glassed and then push the ON button, located on the controller, holding it down until the lights turn on. Your illuMask will automatically turn off at the end of your 15-minute treatment session. I admit that I felt a bit like an alien, or a welder, and I definitely did not want my husband to see me wearing the mask (and when he finally did see me wearing it he broke down in hysterical laughter), but there are some indignities I’ll suffer for a good result. That being said, Dr. Lorenc said he uses the anti-aging mask at bed-time and he often falls asleep with it on, That kind of makes sense, because you can keep your eyes open if you wish, but the lights are a bit bright, so you’ll probably close them and just relax, enjoying the 15-minute break. No need to worry that you will overdose if you fall asleep as there is an auto-shut-off. You’ll just wake up hopefully with better looking skin!
illuMask™ Anti-Acne Light Therapy Mask
Use this to treat acne, among other skin conditions. The illuMask Anti-Acne Light Therapy Mask is FDA cleared for the treatment of mild to moderate acne. Clinical results proved illuMask left skin clearer, smoother, and less oily with fewer blemishes.
Price: $30 for 30 treatments
Where to buy: February 2014 at Walmart, Ulta, Target, Walgreens, or via www.illuMask.com
illuMask™ Anti-Aging Phototherapy Mask
The illuMask™ Anti-Aging Phototherapy Mask uses gentle red and infrared light wavelengths and uniformly distributes the light over the entire face for a short 15 minutes a day. The mask is safe for all skin types and tones, the gentle treatment does not emit any damaging UV rays. Clinical results showed illuMask™ Anti-Aging Phototherapy Mask to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in as little as two weeks. * As with all skin care treatments and products, your results may vary depending upon how you use the product, and the condition and type of skin you have. However, this type of light therapy has been proven to have benefits — just keep in mind that the lights in this affordable product are not as intense as those in a professional product — use it properly and regularly, and keep your expectations, reasonable.
Price: $30 for 30 treatments Where to buy: February 2014 at Walmart, Ulta, Target, Walgreens, or via www.illuMask.com
The Bottom Line: No one has found a definitive fountain of youth, yet, but these devices use proven and effective technology, and now that technology is affordable and accessible! I’m psyched, and I think you will be too. These are going to sell out, I’m sure. Get yours now before they do!