Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Beauty + Tech | Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask: Review

Disclaimer: The products featured were provided for review.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask: Review
As a long-time acne-sufferer, I am always on the look out for the next best thing in acne treatment. There appears to be a recent emergence of at-home LED light therapy treatments and I've reviewed one such device from Foreo. The results were pretty disappointing but I have been testing out another device from Neutrogena called the Light Therapy Acne Mask ($45.99 CAD). Employing a similar technology but a different method of delivery, the Light Therapy Acne Mask targets a much larger area and employs both red and blue LED lights. So, did the mask help reduce breakouts? Read my review to find out......
Packaging & Design:
Included in the box are the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask, the Light Therapy Acne Mask Activator, and a booklet of instructions. The mask itself consists of a curved plastic face shield with a pair of protective glasses built-in. To wear, simply put on the mask like a pair of glasses and the nose piece helps keep it in place. The plastic for the mask feels a little flimsy and cheap but so far it's been pretty durable so I presume the material was chosen for its light weight.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask: Review
Neutrogena | Light Therapy Acne Mask
The mask is attached to a power cord that connects to the activator, which is what actually powers the LED lights as the mask itself does not contain any batteries. And this is where things get interesting.... unlike most at-home beauty devices I've tried in the past (see ForeoClarisonic, and Tria), the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask is not rechargeable and has a very limited "battery life". How it works is that a new Light Therapy Acne Mask Activator provides 30 treatments and 30 treatments only. After 30 uses, the activator will automatically shut off and cease to function. At this point, the mask itself is still fully functional, but a new activator needs to be purchased (at $19.99 CAD) to power it.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask: Review
Neutrogena | Light Therapy Acne Mask Activator
I am a little on the fence about the limited treatment numbers and the need to purchase new activators after every 30 treatments. On one hand, I understand that this tactic was employed to help keep cost (per unit) reasonable since Neutrogena is a drugstore brand. On the other hand, this device is going to cost you a lot more in the long run as the Foreo Espada, another at home LED light treatment costs $199 CAD but is fully rechargeable. If you use the Neutrogena device every day for one year, the price can easily rack up to $265 and that is if the original mask remains fully functional for the duration.
Neutrogena offers various recycling solutions for the activator to reduce environmental impacts but overall, the limited treatment number per unit is definitely a huge factor to consider.

How It Works:
As you can see in the image below, the inside of the Light Therapy Acne Mask is embedded with 21 LED lights, nine of which are red and 12 of which are blue. Clinically, the blue LED lights have shown results in reducing the number of acne-causing bacteria while the red lights have show results in reducing the inflammation and swelling associated with acnes.
To use, first wash your face and pat dry. Then, connect the mask to the activator and put the mask on your face. Next, press and hold the power button for one second and the lights will turn on for 10 continuous minutes. The activator has a little window display that tells you how many treatments are left. As mentioned, a new activator provides a total of 30 10-minute treatments.

Please Note: LED light therapy has not been proven to be effective in treating nodular or cystic acne. 
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask: Review
Neutrogena | Light Therapy Acne Mask
Although it weighs less than a pound, the mask is not super comfortable on the face but because it only needs to be worn for 10 minutes, the discomfort is not a huge issue. As you can see, the mask has a pair of protective goggles built-in so you can technically go about your day however you please. With that said, the lights are quite bright so I would recommend just resting in bed or on the couch with your eyes closed for the duration of the treatment. Finally, after the 10 minutes, the LED lights will automatically turn off and one treatment number will be deducted from the activator.

My Thoughts & Results:
As I've mentioned in my Foreo Espada review, my biggest concern with the Foreo at-home acne treatment is the fact that the device only targets a small area at a time, making the treatment process incredibly tiring and time-consuming. So in terms of ease and efficiency, the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask is much more superior. Because the mask illuminates a much larger area, you won't have to painstakingly target each acne. With that said, the mask doesn't actually cover the entire face. For example, I have a pretty big forehead, so naturally, a large section of it goes uncovered. This is not a huge problem as I don't experience much acne on my forehead but with my jaw area, it's a whole different story. On a weekly basis, I get a good number of breakouts near my jawline and with the way the mask is shaped, my entire jaw area is neglected. Therefore, if you are someone who experiences acne all over the face or only in certain areas like the forehead and the chin, the Neutrogena Acne Therapy Mask will only be partially effective.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask: Review
Neutrogena | Light Therapy Acne Mask
In terms of results, I have seen some improvements with my skin. I have noticed a slight decrease in the number of occasional breakouts but the overall result is not dramatic. With that said, I don't get that many acnes nowadays so the effect of the mask may not be as obvious. Nevertheless, if you have light to moderate acne, this mask will reduce the number of breakouts and lessen the appearance of pre-existing acnes, but it will not eradicate the problem altogether. Lastly, the treatment is completely pain-free. I personally didn't experience any sensitivity or warming sensation but my skin did feel a little dry afterwards, which is understandable as the lights are quite strong and bright.
So in conclusion, the dual-light design and the large treatment area of the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask are both benefits not seen in other at-home acne devices (that I know of). However, the limited treatment numbers and the need to repurchase new activators for the mask are huge drawbacks. Nevertheless, I think this mask is worth a try if you experience mild to moderate non-cystic acne. 

So what are your thoughts on this acne treatment mask? Are you interested in giving a try?

The Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask is available starting September 2017 at various drugstores nationwide.
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