Red Light Therapy Masks vs. Panels

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Light Therapy Masks: What are They and How Do They Compare to LED Panels?

Do light therapy masks work? In this article we’ll explain what they are and how they work. We’ll also compare light therapy masks with larger red light therapy systems that use panels of LEDs to deliver full-body treatments.

What is Red Light Therapy and How Does it Work?

If you’re not familiar with red light therapy, this article gives a good overview of what it is and how it works. Red light therapy devices like Joovv shine concentrated wavelengths of therapeutic light on your skin and cells. This can help reduce oxidative stress and stimulate cellular energy production (adenosine triphosphate or ATP). This helps your body power itself, leading to many benefits that have been proven across hundreds of peer-reviewed clinical studies.

Red light therapy usually includes two different spectrums of light: red and near infrared wavelengths.

  • Red light therapy: Delivered using 630-660 nanometer (nm) wavelengths, this light is readily absorbed by surface tissues and cells. Potential benefits include skin rejuvenation and enhanced healing and blood flow
  • Near infrared (NIR) light therapy: Delivered at 810-850nm wavelengths, NIR light can penetrate into deeper tissues, leading to enhanced recovery and inflammation support. Near infrared light is invisible to the naked eye. 

Many light therapy masks also deliver wavelengths of blue light too.

Blue light therapy: Delivered using wavelengths of light in the 380-500nm range, blue light is often used for acne treatments, but has its downsides. Because it’s so bright, with a higher color temperature than daytime sun, blue light can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime and knock your circadian rhythm out of balance. [1] If you want to learn more about how red light can help counteract the negative effects of blue light, check out this article.

What are LED Face Masks and How are They Used

LED face masks are light therapy devices designed to be worn directly on the user’s face during a treatment session. While a person wears the mask, LEDs deliver wavelengths of light to the face and skin cells. This can improve skin health and reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and acne.

Light therapy masks typically deliver wavelengths of red light and/or blue light. Blue light masks are often used for acne treatments because of their antibacterial properties, while red light therapy masks can help reduce inflammation and rejuvenate skin. Many leading mask products include wavelengths of both red and blue light.

In most cases, people use LED light therapy masks for skin health and beauty treatments. Light therapy masks have become popular with salons, spas, estheticians, and dermatologists. There are also hundreds of brands selling light therapy marks you can buy online or at retailers. These range from inexpensive devices under $50 to high-end skincare brands with masks for over $1000.

For optimal skin health results, most brands recommend using a light therapy mask several times a week, for 3-10 minutes at a time. They can be used regularly for general skin health and rejuvenation benefits, or used for targeted treatments during breakouts and flare ups.

LED light therapy masks can produce some great skin health results, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just facial skin treatments with red light therapy. With a larger device that uses LED panels, you can deliver therapeutic wavelengths of red light to the skin and cells across your whole body. This is great for your skin, but it can also have far-reaching effects for energy, blood flow, inflammation, pain relief, sleep, and muscle recovery.

What are LED Panels and How are They Used

LED panel devices and LED light therapy masks use the same LED technology to deliver specific wavelengths of light to the skin and cells. The major differences are in size, power, coverage, and types of benefits. 

LED panel devices like Joovv are much larger than LED masks, and they deliver wavelengths of red and NIR light across the entire body, not just the head and face. This allows for more potential benefits than LED masks, which are only designed to improve the skin on your face.


Devices with LED panels typically deliver far more light and power during a treatment session, which can have systemic effects across the whole body. Unlike LED light therapy masks, most LED panel devices only deliver red and/or NIR light, not blue light.

LED panel devices are used for full-body skin health benefits. They can also be used to regulate circadian rhythm and improve sleep. Some people use LED panel light therapy devices to relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation, while others use it for energy, or better mental acuity

Devices with LED panels like Joovv are also widely used in the fitness and training communities, and they’re very popular with professional athletes. Joovv is the official red light therapy provider of the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL, and trusted by tennis pros like Sloane Stephens.

Benefits of LED Panel Red Light Therapy Devices

Red light treatments with full-body panels of LEDs can have a wide range of health and wellness benefits. These are some of the most common:

Skin health and beauty: Most people who use light therapy masks do so for skin health benefits and tissue healing. Taking in healthy light is crucial for skin cells and overall skin health. Red and NIR light promotes balance across the body and skin by enhancing cellular respiration, making energy production more efficient, with less oxidative stress. [2,3] When your cells are in greater balance, your skin will look and feel softer and more invigorated. Learn more about skin health and therapy lights here.

Inflammation management: Light therapy devices can help improve the efficiency of your body’s natural inflammation processes as you recover from illness or injury. [4] Read more about inflammation, strain, and light therapy here.

Improved blood flow and healing: One of the potential benefits of light therapy is a significant increase in blood circulation following treatment sessions. This indicates tissues are receiving more oxygen and other nutrients that are important for healing. At the same time, concentrated light wavelengths can help the body and circulatory system rid itself of toxic byproducts. [5] Learn more about circulation and therapy lights here.

Better sleep and circadian rhythm: Healthy light intake is crucial for sleep and maintaining natural circadian rhythms. Our brains interpret light as a sign of when to be awake and asleep, and when to make crucial sleep hormones like melatonin. Bright blue light at night can knock your sleep cycle out of whack, but red light is a lower-intensity alternative that can help support longer, more restful sleep. [3,6] Joovv designed Ambient Mode especially to support sleep and circadian rhythms. Learn about circadian rhythms and light therapy here.

Pros and Cons of Light Therapy Masks

  • PRO: Light therapy masks are inexpensive and can be found for under $100.
  • PRO: Light therapy masks are small and portable, for convenient use away from home.
  • PRO: Light therapy masks with LEDs that deliver red light can reduce inflammation and rejuvenate the skin on your face. 
  • PRO: Light therapy masks can target acne breakouts and limit symptoms.
  • CON: Light therapy masks are fairly low power.
  • CON: Light therapy masks are not wireless, which requires a power outlet.
  • CON: Light therapy masks are limited to facial skin benefits, while LED panel devices can treat the whole body and produce more systemic health benefits.

Pros and Cons of LED Panel Red Light Therapy Devices

  • PRO: LED panel systems like Joovv can deliver red and NIR light to the entire body, not just the skin on your face. 
  • PRO: LED panel light therapy offers better coverage, which means far more total energy transfer than masks in far less time.
  • PRO: LED panel systems can produce many more health and wellness benefits across the body, while masks only affect the face. 
  • CON: Larger LED panel systems for the home are less portable than LED masks. 
  • CON: LED panel light therapy devices tend to be more expensive than LED masks for skin.

Conclusion: LED Panel Devices Like Joovv Offer More Benefits than Masks

LED light therapy masks are a popular choice for facial skin treatments, and they can have great results for wrinkles and acne. When you apply the same therapeutic wavelengths of light to other parts of the body beyond the face, red light therapy can have a much greater effect, with few side effects or risks. For an optimal red light therapy experience in your home, a full-body LED panel product like Joovv is the best choice.

 

Sources and references:


[1] Moore, R. “Suprachiasmatic nucleus in sleep-wake regulation” Sleep Med. 2007 Dec.

[2] Harvard Health. Blue light has a dark side.

[3] Hamblin, Michael. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS Biophys. 2017.

[4] Hamblin M. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS Biophysics. 2017 May.


[5] Mak MC, Cheing GL. Immediate effects of monochromatic infrared energy on microcirculation in healthy subjects. Photomed Laser Surg. 2012.

[6] Jung C, Khalsa S, et al. Acute Effects of Bright Light Exposure on Cortisol Levels. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 2010 Jun.