My skin and hair would like to thank the beauty industry for the following at-home beauty treatments that have been developed over the past decade and have in turn made my life *so* much easier: Differin gel, which pulled retinoids off the prescription pad and into the mainstream; K18's peptide-packed hair treatment, which revitalizes my strands without ever having to step into a salon; and last but not least, the serious at-home laser technology known as Lyma Laser ($2,695), which is giving me a whole new way to keep my skin, smooth, plump, and hyperpigmentation free.
Launched in 2018, Lyma is the brainchild of Lucy Goff, an entrepreneur and wellness expert, and Paul Clayton, PhD, a nutrition and preventative medicine scientist. The brand grew as the pair gained access to new technology, launching the laser and skin care products (a serum and cream) in tow, which together “improve skin texture and wrinkles and can be used across all skin tones,” according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, FAAD, a New York City dermatologist.
What’s more, Lyma helps even out skin tone, assists with collagen synthesis (for plumping), and has epigenetic prowess, so by using it, “the genes associated with aging are switched off and the genes associated with renewal are switched on,” Goff explains. The best part? You can use it at home, in between reruns of Gilmore Girls or Zoom meetings.
Now, at close to $3,000, the Lyma Laser is significantly more expensive than many beauty-tech tools on the market. While doctors do say it works, is it worth all that coin? Keep reading for my honest review.
- Helps to improve skin laxity, making your complexion appear tighter
- Helps to improve skin tone, making your complexion appear more even
- Helps with sagging skin
- It helps to reduce hyperpigmentation
- It helps to reduce acne and acne scarring
- Can be used at home with no downtime
- Safe on all skin types
- You must commit to using it for at least 15 minutes daily; otherwise, the results will go away
How does the Lyma Laser work?
According to Goff, Lyma is a “completely cold-near and red-laser light”, which means that it doesn’t work by using heat like most other lasers do. The lasers that you’ll find at the dermatologist’s office use bursts of light to damage the skin, signaling your body’s wound-repair mechanism, which signals your body to produce collagen, plumping the skin. “The Lyma Laser is also painless and does not require any downtime, unlike some in-office laser treatments, which can be uncomfortable and take days or even weeks to fully recover from,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, FAAD, a New York City board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon.
The technology behind the Lyma is borrowed from cartilage-repair science, operating at 500mW power at the 808nm wavelength (aka, it's powerful). Goff says it taps technology called “'shafted laser light', which acts like a needle and goes all the way down through your body, past the skin and into the muscle tissue, to regenerate cells through a phenomenon called 'laser speckle'.”
“Cold lasers, like the Lyma Laser, penetrate as deep as about two inches into the skin and work by impacting the adenosine triphosphate (ATP), or the chemical energy, in our bodies,” explains Dr. Engelman. “Each cell in our bodies contains mitochondria, which generate the majority of ATP needed to power biochemical reactions. When a cold laser is applied to the skin, it increases the mitochondria’s cellular energy output. Extra ATP in the body’s cells and tissues results in using this energy to detoxify, regenerate, and aid in the body and skin’s healing process.”
Just a note: The FDA regulates medical devices in the United States, and brands must undergo an arduous process to make claims about what they can do. This process isn't necessarily bad, especially for lasers—we don't want keychain flashlights claiming they'll cure acne. But because of this regulation process, Lyma can only speak about its skin-care prowess, but elsewhere in the world, it’s also touted as a recovery device.
How to use the Lyma Laser
When you order the Lyma Laser, you’ll also receive skin care products to use with the laser: an Oxygen Mist and a Glide Gel that provides a nice slip for your skin. Here’s the exact run-down of how to use it all together.
- Wash your skin: Whether you’re using the Lyma Laser on your face, neck, or decolletage, first wash the area completely using your cleanser of choice.
- Spritz on the Oxygen Mist: Spritz on six pumps of the Oxygen Mist, which contains oxygen, a potent antioxidant that helps with cellular restoration and skin elasticity.
- Apply the Glide Gel: Spread three to four pumps of the Lyma serum and your choice of oil or moisturizer onto the area where you’ll be using the Lyma Laser. If you’re doing your entire face, half that amount so that the gel and moisturizer don’t dry before you can get to each area.
- Get sweeping: Move the laser from the side of the jaw, close to your ear, toward the center of the face, repeating the movement five times and keeping the laser in contact with the skin at all times.
- Hold on areas: You can hold the area onto spots of concern for a minimum of three minutes a day to see more pronounced results.
The Lyma Laser: My review
There's a lot to love about the Lyma Laser, but what I love most is how convenient it is. I use mine when I’m watching TV and can get a medical-grade laser treatment, all within the course of an episode of 30 Rock.
To use it, I'll first spritz the Oxygen Mist on my skin, then follow with the gliding gel on one half of my face, using the commercials that I used to find annoying as time suggestions that I need to move to a different quadrant of my face. The Lyma Laser feels a lot like you’re holding a flashlight in your hand and shining it on your face. That internal light feels slightly warm at times, but it never gets particularly hot.
I'll move the laser from the outside of my jaw to the inner part of my face so that each part of my complexion gets targeted. There are some localized areas, like my forehead and a spot of hyperpigmentation (the result of a practitioner flipping on a separate laser too powerfully from a few years ago) that I like to focus on more than others. So, I'll also hold the Lyma Laser on these places for about five minutes every day. In doing so, the patch on my face has already begun to fade in just a week. What’s more, the redness on my cheeks is starting to dissipate—to date, my redness has been hard to get rid of, so this is a welcomed change.
While I want to continue using it more to see more results, my initial assessment is that it’s powerful, and the results are more substantive within a week than I expected.
Is the Lyma Laser Safe for all skin types?
Dr. Engelman says yes—since it's a cold laser, it is safe on all skin types, unlike other treatments such as Fraxel. Whereas other lasers aren’t always safe for all skin types and skin tones because they use light to seek out pigment in the skin, cold lasers function differently, making them a good option for all.
“In clinical trials, the Lyma Laser has demonstrated outstanding results in improving the texture, tone, and overall appearance of skin,” Dr. Engelman continues. “Patients who followed recommended usage over a few months showed visually significant changes in their skin’s appearance.”
What's the difference between Lyma and LED devices?
One of the deceiving parts of the Lyma Laser is that, when it turns on, it has a bright red light to indicate it’s in use, but that red light doesn’t do anything, per se. “The red light you see is just the switch to tell you the device is on. The laser inside is near-infrared, which is invisible to the human eye,” says Goff. So, though the light may look similar to an LED, it functions entirely differently—and more powerfully for your skin.
The Lyma Laser claims to be 100 times more effective at treating skin thanks to how deeply its light can penetrate the surface of your skin to effectively target the cells. According to research, how effective light therapy is on your skin depends on a few things: the wavelength, intensity, and power of a laser. While LED light can penetrate the skin (generally, reports indicate that blue LED light reaches 400 to 490 nm and red LED light reaches between 630 to 670 nm), that light is quickly scattered, so while some portions of the light may make it to the deepest depths, not all of that light can do so. This, in turn, affects the lights’ ability to help rejuvenate and repair the skin.
By contrast, the Lyma Laser can penetrate deeply through unscattered, “direct infrared light with two internal diffused lenses, and disperse the central laser beam into 25,000 laser beams across the three-centimeter lens” to offer more pronounced results. As Dr. Engelman explains, infrared can penetrate up to two centimeters in the skin, and because the light sources aren’t diffracted, they can actually help regenerate the skin and provide cellular signals to restore it.
If you can afford the Lyma Laser, it’s a no-brainer. I’ll take this time to remind you that any laser treatment is going to set you back hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. One Fraxel treatment, for example, can run you $1,500; the Lyma laser gives you the equivalent of that for years to come.
Lyma Laser has epigenetic technology (again, it changes the way your cells operate), works for all skin tones and types, and has truly stunning before and afters for those who use it for the long haul; however, as with all lasers, you have to keep using it consistently to see results.
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- Tosini G, Ferguson I, Tsubota K. Effects of blue light on the circadian system and eye physiology. Mol Vis. 2016 Jan 24;22:61-72. PMID: 26900325; PMCID: PMC4734149.
- Zein, R., Selting, W., & Hamblin, M. R. (2018). Review of light parameters and photobiomodulation efficacy: Dive into complexity. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 23(12), 1. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.jbo.23.12.120901
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