The desire to look more youthful has led many people to search for the best methods to reverse aging and restore healthy skin. In this article, we explore the world’s best anti-aging tools to give you plenty of skincare choices for your specific needs.
Note: You can skip straight to our favorite tool on the list by clicking here.
What Do Anti-Aging Tools Treat?
Also known as facial regeneration tools, anti-aging tools are used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots and other discoloration, and papery (crepey) skin.
Whether your skin looks older because of genetics, lifestyle choices, sun damage, poor diet, or other factors, you can find a method that will work for you. Unfortunately, not all methods are permanent and many are expensive to use regularly.
What’s Out There That Really Works?
Even if you’re genetically predisposed to a certain skin type and sensitivity, rapid skin aging can be prevented to some extent with an improved diet high in antioxidants, adequate hydration, collagen supplements, nutritional supplements, and avoiding sun exposure and environmental toxins.
You may also see some results using anti-aging topical products (creams, lotions, oils, and serums). Keep in mind, however, that even though these products may sound appealing in flashy ads, their main benefit appears to come as a moisturizer that temporarily fills in fine lines and wrinkles and plumps up the skin.
Some of the ingredients in popular anti-wrinkle topical products, including alpha-hydroxy acids, retinoids, peptides, and others have a noticeable effect on skin tone, while others do not. To get any results, you’ll need to use the products consistently, and possibly risk adverse reactions.
This article focuses exclusively on the best skincare tools currently available for boosting skin health, which we rank in terms of least to most effective. (Reminder that you can skip straight to our favorite tool on the list by clicking here.)
Depending on your individual needs, you may need to spot-treat problem areas such as crow’s feet; or, you may benefit from a more comprehensive approach that stimulates skin health on your face, neck, and jawline.
Skincare tools are often technologically driven, although a few are very basic in their functions. The challenge is that you can’t really test-drive a skincare tool, so you’re taking some chances buying expensive tools that may overpromise and underdeliver.
Here are the most highly rated types of skincare tools so you can identify those that make the most sense for you.
Before you can use any skincare product or tool, you must thoroughly cleanse your face. Facial cleansing brushes are a way to gently scrub the skin to release dirt and oils, and exfoliate dead skin cells to give your face a brighter complexion. If you’re careful not to overdo it, you could get good results with a clean washcloth.
The Sephora PMD Smart Facial Cleansing Device ($99) helps exfoliate the skin for a brighter complexion.
For sensitive skin that needs deep cleaning, you could try the NION Beauty OPUS LUXE ($130).
Vibrating Devices and Facial Rollers
Several devices claim to help lotions penetrate the skin deeper to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, stimulate lymphatic drainage, and tone the muscles in your face.
While these are wonderful benefits, they can often be achieved by applying topical products to a freshly washed face, a cool washcloth to reduce puffiness, and facial massage to boost circulation, without the hefty price tag.
Vibrating devices, such as the Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar ($195), are said to deliver creams deeper into the skin while stimulating facial muscles with gentle vibrations.
A beauty roller, like the Nurse Jamie Uplift Massaging Beauty Roller ($69), is said to promote lymphatic drainage and reduce puffiness in the face.
Pore extractors, such as the Dermapore ($99), use ultrasonic vibrations in the device’s “extract mode” to help clear clogged pores, which can help firm skin. In the “infuse” mode, the device is said to help with the absorption of serums.
A rose quartz beauty roller, like the Angela Caglia Skincare Rose Quartz Facial Roller, ($65) can be refrigerated for a soothing facial massage anytime, which helps reduce puffiness.
The BeautyBio Skin Icing Cryo Roller ($85) is a stainless steel roller in two sizes that are meant to be used cold (refrigeration) to increase microcirculation, collagen production, and lymph flow. It also constricts the pores for a tighter appearance, reduces puffiness, and relaxes facial muscles to help erase wrinkles.
Most of us know how good a steam session feels on the skin, opening up pores and releasing grime, making exfoliation easier, and helping with the absorption of topical products. You can use Great-Grandma’s method of filling a bowl with steaming water and holding a towel over your head, which costs nothing and helps you open your sinuses as well.
If you’d prefer a little more sophisticated steaming method, you might try the Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer ($149). It’s intended to be used before cleansing, before exfoliating, and before applying a serum.
Stimulating the skin via low-current electrical stimulation can make the face feel instantly rejuvenated (tighter and more toned), but the results are temporary.
Facial toning devices like the NuFACE Mini ($199) use microcurrent technology along with aloe gel to deliver mild electrical currents. This process is said to tighten facial muscles and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The ZIIP Nano Current Facial Device ($495) is a very expensive way to get a temporary glowing look, although fans say that regular use can lead to more lasting results.
Facial masks are a great tool for absorbing impurities on the skin. The usual apply/dry/wash-off masks can have some benefits (such as fighting acne), but since there are so many varieties (purifying, moisturizing, etc.) you may have to explore a few brands to find one that works with your skin type.
The Hanacure All-in-One Facial ($110) is a highly rated facial mask that tightens and lifts the skin using antioxidants, peptides, and other natural, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic ingredients.
The Superberry Hydrate Glow Dream Mask ($48) is an overnight mask containing vitamin C and berry extracts for lightening dark circles, plumping skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, smoothing uneven texture, and brightening the skin. This antioxidant hydrating mask is suitable for all skin types, although it does contain hyaluronic acid which could be irritating for sensitive individuals.
Microneedling devices stimulate collagen production through low-level trauma to the outer layer of the skin's surface; the healing process leads to skin regeneration. Usually painless, the devices use very short needles to spot-treat problem areas such as frown lines or crow’s feet.
The challenge with microneedling devices is that they must be washed thoroughly after each use and changed out often to prevent infection since technically they are not non-invasive like these other skincare tools.
Tools such as the BeautyBio GloPRO Face Microtip ($35) roll across the skin to boost skin tone, reduce the appearance of pores and acne scars, and lighten hyperpigmentation. This particular device stands out because it uses red LED lights to further stimulate collagen and elastin production … which, as you’ll soon learn, could be “the” secret to youthful-looking skin.
LED Therapy Devices
At last, we come to the crown jewels of skincare tools: LED therapy devices. Yet not all are created equal; we’re still moving from least-effective to most-effective.
Small handheld devices including wands and showerhead style devices are portable and easy to use. The challenges with small devices, however, are that you can only treat a very small area of the face at once, and they lack the power to deliver the optimal amount of light energy to the skin. This means only a few light photons will actually absorb into the tissues where they’re needed (more on this in the next section).
You could get good results over time with wands and other handheld LED devices, but you will need long, frequent, and consistent treatment sessions. And since you can’t treat the entire face at once, the effectiveness is very limited.
LightStim for Wrinkles ($249) is a wand-shaped LED tool that delivers amber, red, and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths to the skin. This stimulates beneficial biological processes in the skin including microcirculation and collagen/elastin production.
LED masks are more powerful than handheld devices, and they encompass the entire face for faster treatments. You can find masks that feature both red light and blue light, the latter of which is effective against acne because it kills acne-causing bacteria. But the downside to blue light is its connection to facial skin aging.
Artificial lighting and electronics (smartphones included) emit large amounts of broadband blue light, which can lead to accelerated skin aging at about the same rate as UVA light. Blue light has also been shown to interfere with sleep, cause oxidative stress, and possibly contribute to the development of macular degeneration.
Adding more exposure to blue wavelengths in an LED device intended for skincare could backfire, and we don’t recommend it.
The Boost Advanced LED Light Therapy Face Mask ($495) is a soft silicone mask that molds to your face for increased comfort. The mask features a combination of red (633 nanometers, or nm) and NIR (830nm) LED light to stimulate skin health and improve blood and lymph circulation. This is a powerful combination of wavelengths for improving your complexion.
Note: for treating signs of aging, only red and near-infrared wavelengths will deliver the effects you want. Green wavelengths offer a soothing treatment for red, inflamed skin, and as mentioned, we recommend avoiding blue wavelengths.
LED panels are the rockstars of skincare tools. No other device can support skin health or prevent and even reverse signs of aging like LED panels.
Panels have the power to deliver red and NIR light to the deepest layers of the skin (and beyond, into the body’s tissues) where the light sparks beneficial biological processes.
Red light therapy is not a cosmetic fix that only treats the outer layers of the skin. It supports skin health, but most importantly, it treats the underlying conditions that accelerate aging.
Here’s an overview of how red light provides inside-out support at the cellular level.
Red Light Therapy: A Promising Solution to Great Skin
The effects of light on the body have been known since ancient times. Over the past three decades, scientists have identified certain wavelengths of light as the most beneficial to human health. In particular, red/NIR wavelengths are considered the most effective for treating skin conditions with little or no side effects.
Red light therapy – which uses red and/or NIR wavelengths – is a natural, painless, non-invasive way of supporting skin health and even reversing the effects of “life” on the skin. It is also called photobiomodulation or low-level light therapy (LLLT).
How It Works
Red wavelengths can reverse a condition called mitochondrial dysfunction, which is the root cause of accelerated aging. Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs when the mitochondria, or energy-producing organelles inside cells, are unable to convert raw materials into cellular fuel.
Mitochondrial dysfunction may be caused by inflammation, chronic stress, environmental toxins, poor diet, or disease.
Here's how the process works: Mitochondrial photostimulation occurs when red and NIR light photons enter the skin and interact with light-sensitive chromophores within the mitochondria, which stimulates the production of cellular fuel known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
This, in turn, stimulates skin cell turnover, which allows healthy cells to replace damaged cells that appear as sagging, wrinkled, and crepey skin. Gradually replacing damaged cells with healthy cells will mean noticeably smoother, fuller, and softer skin.
Red light (630–660nm wavelengths) also increases collagen density in the skin. Collagen is a protein that makes up 80 percent of the skin and creates a latticework that gives skin its firm texture.
Collagen production slows with age, but this can also be due to inflammation and sun damage. Increasing collagen density can lead to restoration of the supporting structures of the skin, making it fuller and tighter; and for faster cellular turnover so your face has a more radiant look since dead skin cells result in a dull appearance.
Lower elastin production is another reason aging skin isn’t as elastic as it used to be. Elastin is the protein that allows the skin to stretch. South Korean researchers found a dramatic increase in skin elasticity after study participants were treated with a combination of 633nm red light and 830nm NIR light twice a week for four weeks.
Near-infrared light, which penetrates deeper into the body’s tissues, reduces inflammation, which is one of the main causes of mitochondrial dysfunction. Reducing inflammation can also be an important part of treating chronic skin conditions such as rosacea or psoriasis.
Near-infrared wavelengths increase blood flow; in fact, NIR light improves circulation of blood and lymph, which is essential for skin health. NIR wavelengths also stimulate the growth of endothelial cells, which are cells that make up the tiny capillaries within the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems.
For the very best results, use a combination of red and NIR light. All these wavelengths absorb into the skin, but NIR light penetrates much deeper than red light, so it can address the internal, root causes of aging skin.
How to Rejuvenate Your Face Using LED Panels
Using LED panels to expose your skin to red and NIR light for just a few minutes a day will yield dramatic results in one to four months. Here are some guidelines to get you started using photobiomodulation red light therapy as part of your daily self-care routine.
- To get the best results, be sure to use a high light energy output panel. Here are two of the best choices:
- The panels in the PlatinumLED BIO series are powerful and allow you to choose red light (660nm) alone; NIR light (850nm) alone; or a combination of both in a 1:1 ratio.
- The PlatinumLED BIOMAX series offers superior light power output and a full-spectrum combination of five of the most scientifically validated red and NIR wavelengths. No other device on the market has this much power and this combination of extremely effective wavelengths.
Check out these articles for a wealth of information on the many ways that red light can rejuvenate your entire body.
- Be consistent and patient.
As with any tool, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Your skin didn’t age overnight and although you may see some fast results with red light, the best outcomes won’t happen overnight either.
LED light therapy is not a quick fix that hides wrinkles or masks sun spots. It works from inside out, at the cellular level, supporting skin health and reducing chronic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Skin cells take about a month to regenerate, and they don’t all do so at once. Likewise, collagen takes time to regenerate and create healthy skin-supporting structures. It may take several months to see optimal results.
Once you’ve achieved a more youthful look, you may continue with a red/NIR LED light therapy maintenance program indefinitely to keep your skin cells functioning at their best.
At the same time, you can support youthful skin with good nutrition, hydration, limiting sun exposure, reducing stress, avoiding smoking and alcohol, using fewer chemical-laden beauty products, and getting plenty of sleep and exercise.
Turning Back the Clock with LED Panels
Red and near-infrared LED panels give your face an inside-out facial by stimulating cellular energy production, the production of collagen and elastin, and increasing lymph and blood flow. At the same time, the treatment reduces skin-damaging inflammation and oxidative stress.
You can say goodbye to saggy skin and enjoy a better complexion, fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and more even skin tone without harsh chemical peels, invasive and expensive cosmetic surgery, or potentially allergenic substances.
In the long run, there’s no better value than LED panels. The initial cost easily pays for itself over time as you experience better anti-aging outcomes and, if you’re treating your whole body, better health.
Combined with a healthy lifestyle, you’ll notice an incredible difference in the feel and appearance of your skin in one to four months … and you can maintain your results with ongoing treatments of relaxing LED light therapies.