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LED light help? Answered

I purchased an LED anti-aging mask called Illumask. You only get thirty uses and then you need to repurchase. The manufacturer states "After 30 doses, the mask’s LED lights lose a significant level of luminous intensity (irradiance) which results in it being less effective.  Longer lasting lights would drive up the cost, preventing us from keeping the price at $1/dose."
They're kind of alluding to the loss of intensity being due to the lights themselves having a short lifespan? At least that's what I get from their statement.

However, online a user posted that "The manufacturer deliberately drains the four AA batteries after the initial 30 sessions to thwart users from just RESETTING" (the device)

I don't know enough about LED's to know which is more likely the scenario. I didn't think the lifespan of LED's was so short that they'd be losing intensity after only 30 uses of 15 minutes?

Or is it likely a battery drain issue? If the battery drain issue is more likely, how do I circumvent that?

I'd also like to mod the mask to add more lights to it as I don't think there are enough lights to make it effective. Any help in how to go about that would be greatly appreciated. I was thinking LED ribbon lights would probably be easiest. I'm not sure if I could add more of the same type pictured or if I'd have to go with the larger ones. In any event, I need to figure out what's the more likely culprit in the loss of power. There are instructions on the web on how to reset the device, but if the lifespan of the light is an issue, I don't want to buy the same kind to mod it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.




Just bridge LED terminal to GND terminal with a piece of wire. Now it will turn on when you plug mask in and turn off when you unplug mask. Easy fix!

You've been ripped off in several ways:

First: Shining LEDs at your skin does not prevent or reduce aging. If the LEDs are ultraviolet, they will increase and accelerate the effects. The mask itself is a ripoff.

Second: LEDs have lives measured in the tens of thousands of hours - their excuses are nonsense, so having to pay more to get more than 30 sessions is another ripoff.

If the manufacturer cannot show you proper evidence from a peer-reviewed medical journal to prove their device works as claimed, I would demand your money back because they have made false claims in their advertising, and possibly even committed fraud in the way they limit the use of the mask.

I don't know where you are in the world, but it would be my strong advice to take the device and any paperwork to your local authority dealing with trading standards, or even the police.

First off, light therapy has been used by dermatologists for decades. It works. Simply google for reviews and you will see tons of positive reviews, so lets put out information with a little knowledge rather than positing your opinion as fact. This isn't a ripoff, other than the fact that they want you to buy a new mask every 30 days. There are instructions on the web on how to reset the unit.

Reviews on commercial websites are not valid evidence.

This is not a matter of opinion, it is how science works - if you cannot provide properly-obtained evidence that a process works, then it doesn't work.

The only scholarly research I can find into "Illumask" is into their use of images of acne as an online marketing tool, no references to its efficacy as an anti-acne treatment, no references to it preventing ageing of the skin.

If you have had better success than me, then, please, feel free to post a link to an article in a reputable scientific journal.

And this is a document that outlines the study used for fda approval.


It would seem, without reading any of the studies, that it may be worth looking into as an acne treatment, though I agree that the company's tactics are major red flags. I personally would never buy from a company that actively tries to rip me off and cause tons of unnecessary waste. Charging $30 a month as a payment plan would be far less sinister.

I don't know how (or if) that's been accepted, because it's rubbish - the device gets called a "light based laser", then it turns out to be a mix of off-the-shelf red and blue LEDs.

The application says it is compliant with IEC 62471, a standard that shows the device does not have photobiological effects - presumably whoever deals with these applications doesn't realise that the manufacturer has admitted that their device has no effect on living tissues.

The device is marketed as a treatment for "mild to moderate" acne. The treatment normally recommended for mild to moderate acne is the regular use of an over-the-counter cleanser - the "treatment phase" of the test outlined in that document included the use of a skin cleanser! The applicants are claiming reductions in inflammation which could easily be due entirely to the cleansing lotion, rather than the LEDs in the mask.


Overall, I am extremely suspicious of all the claims made by the manufacturer. The sample-size used is tiny (27, even less than a shampoo test!), a large part of the data was collected by subject self-evaluation (known to be strongly influenced by the subjects mood and desires for results), the device has been certified not to affect living tissue, and I struggle to conceive of a mechanism whereby shining visible light on the skin can have an effect on the endocrine system - acne is, after all, a hormonal condition.


In short, if there is any truth or validity to the manufacturer's claims, then the treatment can be obtained for free, without resort to devices, chemicals or any other therapy - just spend half an hour in natural daylight.

It's pretty clear that you haven't looked very hard despite
professing to "know how science works". I don't meant to suggest you
don't know about the scientific method, but your assertions concerning
the validity of the product in question are baseless and unhelpful.

Your personal "struggle" to understand or concieve of a mechanism of action is completely irrelevant. If you knew a bit about biochemistry and physical chemistry, you would have been a fool to make the same comment. Please do some
actual research before deciding to lecture others on a subject you clearly know little about.

"the device has been certified not to affect living tissue". I am speechless.

are a few of your desired, peer reviewed citations (If you are in
research, or have university access, you can view them all.)

-Papageorgiou, P., Katsambas, A. and Chu, A. (2000), Phototherapy with
blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris.
British Journal of Dermatology, 142: 973–978.
doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2000.03481.x

-Tzung, T.-Y., Wu, K.-H. and Huang, M.-L. (2004), Blue light phototherapy
in the treatment of acne. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology &
Photomedicine, 20: 266–269. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0781.2004.00109.x

-Neil Sadick, (2009) A
study to determine the effect of combination blue (415 nm) and
near-infrared (830 nm) light-emitting diode (LED) therapy for moderate
acne vulgaris. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy 11:2, pages 125-128.

I'm going to stop there because the amount of published literature on the subject is overwhelming (i.e., the first paper provided is cited 169 times.)

That's nice. You've found some other, different light-based therapies that work, so you're assuming that this therapy works, even though they use different colours and different energies.

Now, pay attention: this particular therapy does not work.

Not only do the manufacturers not know what's going on (they call off-the-shelf red LEDs "lasers"), not only are they scamming their customers (no LED burns out after 15 minutes of use), but, as I have already pointed out, they have had the the device certified to IEC 62471, a standard that demonstrates that the device's LEDs "have no biological effects" - that is, they do nothing to the cells of the skin.

If you have landed on this old topic because you have need of the therapies claimed by the device, then I suggest you talk to an actual doctor, rather than throwing your money away on the scams.

If, however, you're trying to prove me wrong because you have some personal, financial interest in the device then you ought to disclose that.

The mask works. Kartman doesn't know everything about everything.

Anyhow, I have a service on ebay to fix the mask so that it will last for years. I install a switch, power plug and supply a wall transformer so that the unit will work for years to come. Search for "IluMask refresh service".


3 years ago

I can reset the illumask to last a lifetime once and for all. E-mail me at ironrod22000@yahoo.com if you are interested. Nick

I would think that if you were emulating say a Baby Quasar, you could use the exact same number of red led's and IR led's. Use the same power supply that device uses and you should be fine? That device is similar to a flashlight in form and shouldn't be that hard to duplicate? If you use the same amount of lights, I'd think it would be safe?

The mask idea is a little tougher, I can't really find another device that has more lights to use as a model.....

Qcks, thanks so much for the detailed response. LED's for dummies anywhere? :)

As far as what's going on in the Mask, the issue is probably in how the mask is wired, and the type of batteries that are included in the device.

All batteries have an internal resistance. This is a physical limit on the amount of current that can be taken out of a battery at any one time. If the manufacturer was being cheap, they could wire all the LED's in parallel and power the mask with cheap, disposable batteries that had a high internal resistance.

In such a case, the draw on the battery is only limited by the internal resistance of the battery. The number of LED's that are on at anyone time is what helps protect any single LED from being able to draw an overload, but it also guarentees that the life of the battery on such a device is not going to be very long.

If this is what's being done, adding LED's won't increase the intensity. It will actually drop the intensity.
The circuit is already drawing the maximum number of amps that the battery can supply.
Adding more LED's will increase the number of Amps that the LED's are pulling from the battery (which increases load), but, because the battery is already at it's maximum, the only thing that can happen is the number of amps moving across the LED's will drop because there will be another pathway for the electricity to follow.

I'd need to see a schematic to make sure though.

If this is what's happening, the easiest way to fix it would be to remove the batteries all together and modify it so that a charge cord can be attached. Many charge coords have a set number of amps to them, but you might want to include an appropriately rated resistor.

hey! I'm very interested in putting together a cluster of both red and IR LEDs for skin rejuvenation, and pain relief (I'm disabled and have back and joint pain).

The medical devices for sale online are around $250. Should I pursue this DIY project or bite the bullet and fork over the money?

I have NO electrical skills, but it just seems like something that should be doable!!

Feedback plz :-)

IR LEDs are both safer and cheaper then UV LEDs, so i don't mind commenting on this idea a bit. I will say that making modifications to any medical device, assuming it's got approval and research behind it, is dangerous. Antibiotics are generally viewed as safe, but taking 10 times the normal dose of an antibiotic can kill you. So I would strongly recommend finding a schematic for the piece of equipment you want to emulate, and sticking to it as much as possible.

The high end of an IR LED is around $1 US. So.... $250 sounds like you're being robbed.

LEDs are not terribly difficult to work with, but you need to bear in mind that they will find ways to burn out. The mechanism that allows them to create light, allows them to draw a huge current. That current will actually over load the LED, causing it to melt, so you need to be familiar with simple circuit designs. The LED's need a set amount of resistance, which will effectively protect them from burning themselves out.
Ohm's law is very handy when messing with LED's.
Ohm = Volts / Amps
LED's are rated in AMps, so you can calculate very close to their maximum tolerances, giving peak light intensity and energy efficiency.

thanks for your comment, I can see that there is far more to this subject than I anticipated.

Have a good evening!