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Patient Buzz: Should Dermatologists Recommend LED Light Therapy Masks? The Expert Weighs In

Prevention wrote an article recently about a new popular skin treatment among celebrities — LED light therapy masks. So how should you respond if a patient asks about this treatment?

For an expert opinion, I consulted Jeremy A. Brauer, MD, clinical associate professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine.

What is your opinion on the effectiveness of LED light therapy masks?  

In short, more research and well-designed clinical trials are needed to adequately answer this question.

The use of LED for treatment of skin conditions is gaining acceptance by both patients and physicians with growing research interest as well. In fact, a recently published review of randomized controlled trials investigating the use of light emitting diodes in dermatology suggested potential benefits in several conditions with the strongest evidence found in treatment of acne and herpes, and in healing of acute wounds. More generally, there was good evidence to suggest reduction of inflammation and expedited wound healing. However, there was great variability in the devices evaluated as well as treatment parameters and protocols.

How should a dermatologist respond if a patient asks about this treatment during an office visit? 

I think this question applies to any situation in which we discuss at-home or in-office procedures. It is important to understand your patient’s concerns and treatment goals. In general, at-home therapies are not a substitute for in-office procedures. However, at-home therapies can potentially serve as an appropriate maintenance option. Specific to LED, as above, more research is needed.

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