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If skincare routines were once as simple as oil and vinegar, there’s no question that today’s beauty landscape is about as complex as a Michelin-starred restaurant’s kitchen. The potions and tinctures we use have become increasingly advanced, as have the tools we reach for in pursuit of “ageless” skin.
But that’s not to say any device is going to impress industry titans like a Thermomix would, or be as reliable as a Le Creuset — in fact, some experts believe there’s only one anti-aging skincare gadget worth your attention at all.
“One device I truly believe in is LED light therapy — specifically LightStim,” Dr. Arash Akhavan of The Dermatology Laser Group tells InStyle. Light Emitting Diode (LED) therapy, originally developed by NASA, is a very safe treatment for skin that harnesses the healing powers of various light frequencies. “LED devices deliver light energy using different wavelengths and colors to target the deeper layers of the skin to help reduce wrinkles and inflammation, making [them] a great daily, weekly, or post-procedure treatment,” says Dr. Akhavan.
Those with anti-aging goals can benefit from the LED device’s red light setting, which, according to a 2014 study published in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, promotes collagen production, improves circulation, and reduces inflammation — all hugely influential to the appearance of age in the skin.
Unlike other popular dermatologist office procedures — like Dr. Akhavan’s favorite, the SkinStylus microneedling device — LED therapy is painless and, what’s more, can be used in the comfort of your home. “We use the professional LightStim machine after in-office procedures to reduce inflammation and downtime,” says Dr. Akhavan, noting that LightStim also sells consumer devices, which “patients can purchase to use at home as part of their regimen.”
Integrating a LightStim device into your routine is simple. After you cleanse your face and apply the included serum, position the light-emitting side of the device against your skin and hold it in place for three minutes, until you hear a beep. At this point, you can move the light to a new area and repeat, until you have covered all of your desired target zones.
Dr. Akhavan also warns against the potential dangers of some other popular at-home skincare tools such as “cleansing brushes (which can also collect bacteria that causes breakouts), blackhead vacuums, pore extractors, and dermaplaning tools,” noting that, “if you are not properly trained on using these tools, you can severely damage your skin barrier or cause scarring.” Compared to LightStim, he says, these things are “best [left] up to the professionals.”