By: Jessica Azar
Ever heard of Seasonal Affective disorder? Quite often my it’s called by its acronym SAD, which is actually quite apt in that it’s heavily linked with depression which, well… Makes you feel sad! Even before I was formally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I noticed a drastic increase in the winter months of feeling blue or just “down” for no apparent reason. This began in my teen years, and one of the things I accidentally discovered that boosted my mood was a visit to the tanning bed. At this point in my life, I had never heard of therapeutic “light boxes” that are made to battle SAD… Or that my feeling down in the dumps had any connection to light exposure at all. SAD usually strikes in the winter months where sufferers tend to be indoors more often and are deprived of the sun’s healing rays. The lack of sun is linked to a decrease in the brain’s production of serotonin, the relaxing and mood-lifting hormone we all need, in the bodies of SAD patients.
When I decided going to the tanning bed for the sake of boosting my mood was at the expense of my skin’s well being, I started researching and ordered a reasonably priced light box. Basically it’s a little square contraption about the size if a picture frame that gives off very bright light, and the idea is to use it while you sit at a deal working in such a way that the light hits your face for about 30 minutes a day. It definitely helped, but it grew harder for me to sit for 30 uninterrupted minutes without kids needing to climb on me or do something that forced me to go referee before time was up. I knew there had to be a better way! I saw these visors that the SAD patient could wear that shined the helpful light down into the person in need’s face. The technology behind it seemed valid, but wearing a glowing visit everyday just didn’t appeal to me.
I have had issues with mild adult acne for the past couple of years and have gotten some scarring from it because I can’t just leave it alone. Must learn to not mess with bumps! But I randomly cane across a product in ULTA, a cosmetics store, called the Illumask. It looked a bit like a welder’s mask, In that it was a white shell that covered the entire face, and had a line across the eyes so that the wearer could see out. On the inside of the mask is a pair of attached glasses with amber lenses and little red and blue light bulbs wired into the mask shell. It also had a cord attached to the mask and a remote designed to turn the device on. Illumask’s box claimed that it would clear up acne in a few weeks time, as well as smooth out skin texture and diminish some signs of aging. Wow. I fully expected the cost to be about $100… Usually such things have a price in that range… But I was shocked that it was on only $29!!!! I had some extra spending money, so I decided it would be worth it to see if this thing could help my annoying acne issue.
That evening before bed I washed my face but didn’t apply my moisturizer, just as the Illumask’s instructions said. I put on the mask, pushed the start button and it glowed to life. My husband laughed and jokes about it, which is the usual occurrence over here when I try something new… And I admit, it does look crazy! After the 15 minute timer went off that turns te lights in the mask off, I removed the mask and looked in te mirror. I could tell that my face was less inflamed and puffy right away, but the biggest thing I noticed was a burst of energy in my body that hadn’t been there before the Illumask treatment. I had been exhausted an ready to crash, and now I felt peppy and ready to accomplish something… Anything… Even though it was 10PM. So I got up and do a few things around the house while I puzzled over what caused this little pick me up… And I realized it had to be the lights from the Illumask.
I decided to test my little theory and use it daily for a week at varying times during the day to compare my results, and sure enough, each time, my mood was boosted and I had more energy. The change was especially notable on two of the days during that week where the weather was drab and gray outside all day long. Those are usually the types of days that kick off my SAD issues and can send me into a depression. It was amazing to be able to head off the blues before they took hold with a simple little 15 minute light therapy session. If you suffer from SAD or depression, I recommend you give one a try! While I cannot guarantee you or anyone results of any kind, I can tell you for sure that it’s helping both my skin AND mood. Since this is a completely unpaid review, maybe we can convince Illumask to donate a mask to this blog for a giveaway! Show some comment love below and maybe we can convince them! Here is where you can buy a bundle of TWO Masks from Amazon! One works specifically for anti-gaining benefits, the other works on acne… Both work for light therapy!