When I opened the box containing the LED light therapy panel called Facial Secret ($329), I wasn’t hugely impressed. The plastic casing looked flimsy and tacky and no money had been wasted on the on/off switch. I opened the instruction booklet and immediately saw that each session was  a mere five minutes. Suddenly, I was looking at Facial Secret in a whole new light. For a time challenged person with attention deficit issues, a five-minute treatment is a boon. I prepared to embark on my month-long test of this device with a bit more enthusiasm.

I am a big believer in LED light therapy as an anti-aging treatment. It works on wrinkles by targeting water layers on elastin increases production of ATP (the energy engine of cells) and the modulation of reactive oxygen species, which increases cell production. Regular use, even with at-home devices, produces good results in my experience and LED is one of the few non-invasive treatments that seems to help with sagging skin.

All good reasons to keep hunting for the ultimate, affordable device that doesn’t take up too much of my time (LED at home needs to be at least three times a week to make a notable difference). I own a Baby Quasar and a Sirius Aurora and tend to use the Aurora more frequently as the sessions are a little shorter and it is a more flexible device for the money, with red, green and blue heads. So how would Facial Secret stack up?

Facial Secret comes with a set of goggles and is a flat panel about the size of a paperback book. Although it comes with a detachable wire stand, the only way to use it is to hold it about four to six inches from the face. As the device is light and switches itself off after five minutes, this isn’t as uncomfortable or tedious as I feared.

The only thing I don’t like about Facial Secret is that even with goggles on and my eyes firmly closed, I am subjected to waves of pulsating, kaleidoscopic colored lights. The actual lights of the device are red and yellow, but the ones I “see” while the device is on are all colors. Its kind of trippy.

Obviously, I have been concerned that I could be damaging my eyes with this treatment.  Facial Secret’s website declares that there is no research suggesting that LED is harmful to the eyes and insists its device is safe. I have spent many hours rooting around the web and have found nothing to contradict this. I found this assessment: “Damage to the eyes has been discussed as a potential side effect.... although it has not been reported to date after properly supervised light therapy, even among patients who have been treated for several years” (Schwartz et al). But as this dates from 1996, I kept looking to see if I could find anything more recent. Most discussion seems to be around blue or “bright” light therapy used for treating depression and there are concerns raised about blue light and eye damage. However, the Mayo Clinic advises not to look directly at the light source and says that damage from using a light box is “uncommon”.

Since, I haven’t found any other substantial evidence and I am very careful to wear my goggles and keep my eyes closed, I have continued to use my Facial Secret for more than a month. Although I have not used it twice a day every day, as instructed for the first month, but only once a day 4-5 times a week, it is definitely keeping my face looking firm and plump. With a price that is close to the Baby Quasar (a small device that has to be moved over the face in sections), Facial Secret is a better option for my money as it is more convenient and effective treating the face as one area – and in only five short minutes.