I have never kept my endless struggle with acne a secret, and I have always shared with you guys my enduring life-long quest for finding cutting-edge, at-home treatments (topical, ingestible, and now colorful?) that actually work. It's often easy to fall into 'the hype' and purchase "life-altering" creams, gadgets, and treatments that promise dramatic results and convince us with ingenious marketing that WE NEED TO HAVE IT NOW! That's why I've committed to testing out whichever product I review for a reasonable period (that largely depends on each product's efficacy period) before I chose to share it here on my blog. In this case, I was quite impressed with the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask which I've been using, albeit at times intermittently, since late May. Here I've explained How Light Therapy Works and my thoughts on this easy-to-use treatment mask.
So, How Does Light Therapy Actually Work?
Light therapy is actually quite fascinating, and there have been a few controlled studies which conclude that this treatment poses little to no adverse effects and has favorable outcomes in the majority of the test subjects. Light therapy works incredibly well for the treatment of moderate to severe acne, treating fine lines by increasing collagen density and reducing skin inflammation (You can check out the some of the studies yourself following these links: 1, 2, 3).
Blue Light: Known as the “acne killer” light, penetrates the skin pores, hair follicles, and sebaceous glands. This light excites compounds called porphyrins (bacterial excretions) which in turn kill acne-causing bacteria called Propionibacterium Acnes (P.Acnes) by making them self-destruct –in a nutshell–. Since P.Acnes are the main culprits behind inflammatory acne, reducing the spread of this bacteria goes a long way in lessening the number of breakouts in acne-prone skin.
Red Light: Penetrates well into the dermis layer of the skin, and stimulates the cells that produce collagen into creating more of it. Collagen density increases and “fills out” the skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Red light has also shown to reduce inflammation and the amount of sebum the sebaceous glands produce. Studies have also shown skin’s increased ability for tissue repair and subjects reporting less skin ‘roughness’.
Blue & Red Light Used Together: Skincare professionals use a combination of both to maximize the efficacy of therapies and tackle skin issues simultaneously. Another, although lesser, benefit derived from using both therapies concurrently is the ability to save time in your treatment session.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask
Why I Love It: Neutrogena’s Mask is not the only light therapy mask for at-home treatment on the market, however, it is the cheapest one available by quite a margin. The mask retails for $34.55 (first light activator included which covers 30 treatments) and supplementary light activators cost $14.99. Basically, the mask works with a one-button remote with a counter that tells you how many treatments you have left (from 30). Each treatment lasts 10 minutes and, because the mask has protective glasses incorporated into it, you can keep your eyes open during the treatment which means you can go on about your business.
Efficacy: Without a doubt, this mask has played a considerable role in reducing my spontaneous breakouts and decreasing the number of days a breakout lasts when they do, unfortunately, occur. I’ve found that in addition to a very curated skincare routine, this mask has been very beneficial to the overall general health of my skin. Since it’s a completely non-invasive treatment, it was incredibly easy to incorporate into my night-time routine before bed as a supplement to topical creams and serums.
Downside: Personally the biggest downside to this mask for me is the fact that the activators need to be purchased separately and once they are used up they have to be discarded. I think this is an incredibly wasteful practice from Neutrogena to make their customers rebuy activators every 30 treatments. You can take them to designated recycling drop-off sites (Find the Nearest One to Your Here) but for many of us, this is simply not a viable option. If each activator were to last a year, for example, it would be much more environmentally friendly and less of a hassle for the more conscientious consumer.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Products
Have you tried any at-home light therapy treatments? Let me know in the comments or reach out to me on: