I Tried The $2,700 LYMA Laser That Promises The Same Results You’d Get In A Doctor’s Office

The celebrity-favorite device lives up to the hype.

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“This is the new LYMA Laser … Apparently the results are incredible,” Gwyneth Paltrow raved in the first post for Goop’s gift guide last year. “This is definitely on my list — hint, hint.”

Indeed, the LYMA Laser has become an internet sensation thanks to its claim to be 100 times more powerful than red LED light therapy, impressive anti-aging before and afters, and a $2,700 price tag. It promptly sold out on Goop.com after it debuted on the retailer’s site in July of 2022. I’m a bit jaded by Goop’s extremely high-ticket items, but this tool was already on my beauty editor radar. I started hearing buzz about the LYMA Laser coming to the US from the UK in 2020 during a preview meeting with the founder Lucy Goff (the brand’s plans to launch then got delayed by FDA hoops).

Once it became FDA-cleared and available on LYMA’s site in the spring of 2022, the device took on a life of its own online, gaining accolades from the likes of Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships Eva Chen, celebrity makeup artist Gucci Westman, celebrity esthetician Joanna Czech, and top New York City dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD — head-turning seals of approval for me. I’d also been hearing praise from notoriously picky beauty editor friends like Gwen Flamberg, the longtime style and beauty director at US Weekly, and NYC’s insider facialist Crystal Greene who is famed for her otherwise low-tech, hands-only approach — LYMA is the only device she uses in treatments.

The Technology

“This technology comes from the wound care space, which, as a board-certified dermatologist, I really love,” says Dr. Engelman. “At first you’re incredulous because it seems like it’s just this light, but it’s causing kind of a biohack to trick your skin into a repair state that helps with fine lines and wrinkles without injury — that’s the genius of it.”

The LYMA Laser is a 6-inch baton with a simple on-off button at one end like a MagLite. One can see why actor Jenny Mollen Biggs told her followers you might as well use a flashlight as the tool appears nearly that simple on the outside. But inside, it contains an 808-nanometer laser (when it comes to wavelengths, higher doesn't equal better, it’s about what a specific wavelength has been proven to do, says Dr. Engelman) that triggers your skin’s fibroblasts to make collagen and elastin, but is made safe for home use thanks to the extremely precise lens. In-office lasers typically use wavelengths and intensities that create damage to the skin in order to trigger healing and repair. For LYMA, the honeycomb-like lens spreads out the near-infrared light into 25,000 beams diffusing their heat and intensity so it can be used by the average person without the possibility of overdoing it. Of course, this also slows down the progression of benefits compared to going in-office, but it is indeed still working.

On the brand’s website, the list of benefits includes reduced wrinkles, more elasticity, smoother texture, more even skin tone, and even improved symptoms of skin concerns like rosacea. The recommended period of use to see results is three to 15 minutes daily for 12 weeks, then use three times per week. You want to spend an equal amount of time on each area on your face and it's recommended that you hold the laser still for three minutes at problem spots like scars or crow’s feet.

“It took years to develop this — it wasn’t easy,” says LYMA founder Lucy Goff. “One of the biggest challenges was finding an [outer casing] material that never melts. And the lens is made from the same material as contact lenses so it’s very strong and durable and won’t create adverse reactions to the skin. It was all quite an engineering feat.”

Using The LYMA Laser & Results

While beauty editors rarely have time to test most new products, especially not for three months straight, I felt a calling on this one. I asked the LYMA US press team if my best friend and I could each test out a laser for at least 12 weeks. Danielle and I have somewhat similar skin concerns like acne and post-inflammatory marks from those breakouts, and we’re also curious about those texture and luminosity benefits as we’re both about to turn 38. I, in particular, wanted to see if this one pesky melasma spot on my left cheek could finally meet its match.

“I know that people have acne and acne scarring and nothing is wrong with that, but it’s our social conditioning,” Danielle told me. “To not have ‘acceptable’ skin is really difficult. It can make me feel insecure sometimes.” But one of our big differences is Danielle has a two-year-old daughter and tends to be happily low maintenance on the beauty front, whereas testing products is a big part of how I make my living. Our experience was partially about efficacy but also about practicality. Do you have to be a Goop lady of leisure or an extremely disciplined personality for LYMA to make sense in your daily routine?

I want to cut to the chase and tell you that not only were we both able to commit and find the time every night, we found strong reasons to appreciate the LYMA Laser’s benefits. I found that any smattering of shallow pimples around my chin resolved much faster than usual, in just a day or two. I even took time going on and off the laser following the 12-week experiment to see if I was just making this up — indeed it was real. Danielle began receiving compliments on her skin from coworkers and family members (“They said I was looking young and, I guess, less like a haggard mom,” she said, laughing), but was most impressed with how much her textured acne scars around her chin began to shallow. Technically called boxcar and rolling scars, it can be very hard to treat these divots — with even in-office treatments. “I had been concentrating my time on those areas and around four or five weeks I really noticed how smooth they’d become,” said Danielle, who said the difference was very slow and steady and she was even surprised by her own before and afters. Goff says the key is to hold the laser over the scarring for at least three minutes every day until you see results.

Danielle, before using the LYMA Laser. Courtesy of Danielle
Danielle, after using the LYMA Laser. Courtesy of Danielle

“In someone with mild textural abnormalities and who is highly motivated, I believe the LYMA laser, based on the science, could achieve some improvement with regular usage,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Daniel Belkin, MD, who frequently treats scars with fractionated lasers in his practice. He does not sell or use the LYMA himself but has heard about it. “[But] with anything moderate to severe, or for likely faster improvement, I would recommend an in-office consultation.”

As for me, I was hoping to see better results for my pigmentation, but, as luck would have it, I got pregnant right at the beginning of the 12 weeks. Fortunately, the laser is safe to use while pregnant, but it’s impossible to know whether the lack of fading on my melasma is a sign that the LYMA was working or not as the condition often gets worse during pregnancy. But a really important feature of the LYMA technology is that it is safe to use on melasma as well as all skin tones. This is a big deal because “light-based devices have not been safe in all skin types,” says Dr. Engelman. “It’s very inclusive — all skin types can use [LYMA].” This is also a benefit Greene appreciates, as well as LYMA requiring zero downtime and being painless.

Katie, before using the LYMA LaserCourtesy of Katie Becker
Katie, after using the LYMA Laser.Courtesy of Katie Becker

“I notice a significant difference in the fading of blemishes and hyperpigmentation, fine lines become less visible, wrinkles become softer in appearance, firmer skin, collagen production, and a radiant appearance and glow of the skin,” Greene tells me. “I have no words of caution beyond using it consistently.”

Flamberg, who has been using LYMA Laser for about a year, in addition to regularly testing new skin care products and cutting edge in-office technologies and treatments, says her skin is brighter and more even toned and textured. “I used it on my décolletage as well, and there I saw a pretty significant difference — fewer lines, more even, plumped-up texture, brighter tone overall.”

But I think one of the most remarkable things about the LYMA is how mindless it is to use which makes it unusually easy to commit to. Much easier than other popular at-home devices like LED masks and panels or handheld microcurrent devices. After cleansing, you can use LYMA brand’s oxygenated face mist and glycerin-based gliding gel or not (I used a face oil) and simply stare at the TV or a book or the wall while you slowly run the red end of the laser over your skin. Three minutes to 15 minutes disappear as quickly as a TikTok binge and you don’t have to squint through the peepholes of one of those LED-emitting Jason-eque masks. It also doesn’t require a guided protocol or following specific lines on your face like most microcurrent devices do. Granted, all these tools are intended to produce somewhat different outcomes, but my point is more that ease of use equals likelihood of frequent use which equals actual results.

“It takes up almost no footprint in your home, including the battery charger,” says Danielle, who just keeps hers in a couch-side drawer.

The one quirk I want to point out is that the rechargeable battery itself must be charged after four hours' worth of use. It can be confusing because the red indicator lights on the tip of the device can remain running even on low battery, but the laser itself needs a fuller battery to operate. If you can’t keep track of the four hours, a good rule of thumb is to make a habit of recharging once a week.

Is The LYMA Laser Worth It?

Finally, about that price tag, which I would call the one major downside: One might think of this similarly to a fashion investment for which you break it down into costs per wear. I think the acne-healing, skin-smoothing, and tone-brightening results you can get from nightly use of the LYMA laser can be equivalent to what you would get from twice-a-month professional facials and potentially some in-office lasers, and the laser is said to last for 10 years. (There are no stats proving this, this is my beauty editor assessment.) If you’re getting a facial in NYC at a streamlined place like GloBar for $55 a pop, you’d reach parity in two years, and if you’re going to a big-name place where facials are more like $250, you’d reach parity in about six months. Not to mention that you’d probably be able to cut back on some expensive topicals. Or, if you go the medical laser route, you may be looking at $3,000 to $10,000 for a full treatment schedule. When you think of it this way, it makes sense for some people.

“If someone has the financial means to get one, I would absolutely recommend it to more people,” Danielle told me at the end of our multi-month test. “I don’t like ‘anti-aging’ but the truth is older women in my life are really interested. Personally, I have just felt so dull after having the baby because of lack of sleep and dehydration… and this feels luxurious. I’m doing something for myself and I’m seeing results.”

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