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It’s holiday gift guide season, and the members of the Kardashian-Jenner fam have come together to reveal the items they plan on giving out this year. In a post on Kourtney Kardashian’s website Poosh, Kardashian joined her mom and sisters in sharing gift ideas that they already love themselves. One item that stands out was a recommendation from Kylie Jenner.
Jenner revealed that one of the items she plans on gifting this year is a wrinkle-fighting LED light device. “I love LED lights,” Jenner tells Poosh. “It’s one of my favorite parts of getting a facial, and this device brings that technology home.” The device she highlighted is the LightStim for Wrinkles (Buy It, $249, sephora.com), a red light-emitting device designed to — you guessed it — reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
The thought of aiming a red light on your skin and noticing a difference may sound too good to be true, but this is one skin-care trend that’s legit, says Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D.
LED stands for light emitting diode, which you may already know is a category of light source that’s more energy efficient than incandescent and fluorescent lighting. The potential benefits of LED light therapy for skin have entered mainstream conversation lately, but LED light in general has been studied since its invention in the 1960s, says Dr. Shamban. (Related: The Four Skin-Care Products Kylie Jenner Uses Every Night)
The verdict seems to be that LED light therapy is truly beneficial — for both promoting skin health and other aims. “LED has been used with various studies documenting benefits for pain and joint therapies as well as sports and soft-tissue injuries,” says Dr. Shamban. “Even NASA used the technology as part of an experiment for plant growth on shuttle missions while in space.” During the experiment, scientists noticed that coincidentally their skin lesions seemed to be healing faster as a result of using the devices, and so people working in dermatology for aesthetics then became interested in the the possible cellular regeneration and wound healing benefits of LED light, she notes.
LED skin-care devices emit infrared light that varies in color based on the wavelength of light. Different colors are known for different skin benefits, for instance, blue light is often used as an acne-fighter. “Essentially, the different wavelengths and colors send different messages into the layers of skin to trigger a specific and expected reaction,” says Dr. Shamban.
The LED light therapy device Jenner recommended emits red light, which “treats the epidermis, our outer layer of skin [to address] key issues of aging and complexion,” according to Dr. Shamban. “As the waves are absorbed into the skin it stimulates the collagen protein that keeps skin plump, elastic, and supple,” while boosting circulation and lowering inflammation, she says. For instance, in a small study published in the journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, participants who were treated with red LED light experienced “significantly improved” skin texture and collagen density.
With all those factors in play, the red light “provides a reduction in appearance of lines and wrinkles, and an overall youthful complexion and glow,” says Dr. Shamban. (That’s why Jenner’s LightStim pick is explicitly “for Wrinkles,” though the brand also makes a blue and red combo device for fighting acne.) With all that in mind, it should come as no surprise that red LED light therapy is a go-to go-to treatment for other celebrities besides Jenner; Gabrielle Union, Jessica Simpson, Bella Hadid, and more have also shared their love for it. (Related: Here’s How Red Light Therapy Works — Plus Why You Should Try It)
Buy It: LightStim for Wrinkles, $249, sephora.com
“LED can be done at home with lower level devices, in office as a stand-alone [treatment], after an ablative or non-ablative laser, or in conjunction with microneedling, to not only engage the anti-aging and collagen production benefits but also promote the efficiency in healing and eliminate downtime from some more aggressive advanced treatments,” says Dr. Shamban.
Whichever you choose, the key to getting the benefits of a red light therapy device is consistency. “One treatment will have some positive effects but [won’t] be truly regenerative or healing at the cellular level,” says Dr. Shamban. If you purchase a device, it’ll have instructions on how long to use it for, usually range from five to 20 minutes. The LightStim for Wrinkles calls for a commitment of five to seven days per week, moving the device around your face every three minutes until you’ve hit every region of your skin. (Related: Does Light Therapy for Skin Really Work?)