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The 3 Best Handheld LED Light Therapy Devices

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If you’re looking to amp up your skincare routine, the best handheld light therapy devices can help. From managing acne to plumping skin, these at-home — and non-invasive — devices might even save you a trip to the dermatologist’s office.

To learn more about what to look for in these luminous tools, Bustle touched base with board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, Dr. Michele Green, MD.

A Guide To LED Colors

Since these devices come with different LED light offerings, Dr. Green advised on what each LED light color does best.

  • Red: Red can help calm inflammation and redness, but perhaps what it's best known for is its ability to revitalize skin. Dr. Green says this type of LED light, "stimulates collagen by activating the fibroblast within the skin cells," which can lead to plumper, healthier skin. It’s also interesting to know that the longer a color’s wavelength, the deeper it penetrates the skin. Red has the longest wavelength of all visible light, making it capable of working deep beneath the skin.
  • Blue: Blue light can help treat acne, and according to Dr. Green, "The blue LED is known to reduce bacteria reducing the number of breakouts."
  • Green: Dr. Green points out that green LED light "is used to correct hyperpigmentation and calm the skin."

Safety Is Key

For your safety, look for devices that have been vetted. "FDA clearance [or] approval for any device is best, as it shows the company did studies and research and has data to support the efficacy and safety of the product and their technology," Dr. Green says. "Consumers should, however, contact their dermatologist for guidance on any product before purchasing for at-home use."

Other helpful safety features include auto shutoff and timers to help ensure you're not over-doing it. Safety goggles are often included as well, since these can help protect your eyes from harsh LED lights.

With all that in mind, it's time to check out the best handheld LED light therapy devices on Amazon. There's an option for every budget and skincare need.

1

The Best Red Light Therapy Device

Pulsaderm's Red LED Light Therapy Device is perfect for people who are looking to improve skin texture or searching for that coveted "healthy glow," and it comes with a budget-friendly price tag. Safety-wise it's a winner too: It's FDA-cleared, automatically shuts off after each three-minute spot treatment, and comes with safety goggles. To use, the brand suggests three-minute spot treatments three times a week, on freshly cleaned skin.

A helpful review: “I have very fair and dry skin. Immediately my skin looked shiny and healthy. It feels like I came back from a lovely day of sailing without the worry of sun damage. Overall my face feels warmer and alive.”

2

The Best Blue Light Therapy Device

This light therapy device by LightStim is FDA-cleared for to treat mild to moderate acne. Using a patented technology, it emits multiple wavelengths of both red and blue lights to help destroy acne-causing bacteria and clear up existing breakouts in order to give you visibly improved, healthy-looking skin. It won the American Spa Professional’s Choice Award for favorite laser and light manufacturer of 2017, and it's a favorite of beauty editors and dermatologists alike.

You can use this device five to seven days a week, and it takes only three minutes per facial area. It comes with a 30 minute automatic shut-off for safety. The brand also makes a red light version for plumping your skin and one to help reduce joint pain.

Additionally, this pick comes with a beauty bag that comes packed with safety goggles and a complimentary facial serum.

A helpful review: “Definitely has helped reduce inflammation and recurrence of breakouts. I struggle with hormonal acne and this has been the most effective treatment I have found. Easy to use, convenient size and carrying case. Would recommend trying! I saw results within a week of use.”

3

The Best Multi-Light Therapy Device

If you're hoping to treat several skin concerns at once, the Luma LED light machine is the handheld device for you. It offers blue, green, and red LED light therapy, plus two other modes of skin-treating technology to choose from: facial massage, which works to improve muscle tone, and ionic channeling, which allows you to deep clean your face or thoroughly moisturize it (you'll just need to use your own cleansers and creams). While it doesn't state whether this is specifically approved by the FDA, the brand claims the device uses only FDA-cleared technology. This pick also comes with a travel pouch (which one reviewer noted also came with safety goggles), a charging cable, and an outlet adapter.

A helpful review: "I use this LUMA 4 in 1 Skin Renewal System when I first got it and it left my skin feeling smooth with an incredible natural healthy glow and also the red, blue, and green light therapy is a HUGE plus!”

4

Also Consider: An LED Light Therapy Mask

If handheld devices are literally too hands-on for you, or you want to treat your entire face at once, this FDA-approved LED face mask is a stellar option. It uses blue, green, and red light, and features a built-in timer for safety. It promises to work for all skin types, and it even comes with 10 levels, so you can choose the intensity of your treatments. It's 100% UV-free as well, and this pick has been engineered with the goal of evenly treating every bit of your face at one time.

A helpful review: “My skin looks brighter and firmer. It also helps to reduce the oil on my face and acne marks. I use the red light and green light each for 15 minutes, sometimes add 10 minutes blue light, three times a week.”

Experts:

Michele Green, board-certified dermatologist at Michele Green Cosmetic Dermatology