Zapping Zits with Light - NBC New York

Zapping Zits with Light



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    A new light pen is promising to clear up acne faster than any cream, lotion or prescription skin treatment. Even better, the pen is completely portable and its makers claim that it only needs to be used for a few minutes a day to see results.

    It may sound too good to be true, but the pen appears to have no side effects—not even the drying or irritation that so many other acne products cause.

    The pen, called DermaStyle, is a little different than the ballpoint sitting on your desk. Encased in sleek plastic, the DermaStyle pen shines two types of light out of its tip that have been shown to both heal and prevent blemishes.

    "Using light as a form of skin treatment is nothing new," said Steve Powell, president of Lumiport, the company responsible for this new device.

    People with acne often notice that their skin clears up after sitting out in the sun. In fact, studies show that up to 70 percent of people with acne see a reduction in their blemishes after sunbathing. However, even if your acne completely disappears in the sun, prolonged sun exposure can put you at risk for a much more serious condition—skin cancer.

    Looking a way to capture the acne-fighting power of the sun's radiation without the harmful side effects, researchers turned their attention to harmless, visible light. One team of researchers from Britain found that a combination of red and blue light could significantly reduce acne by as much as 76 percent. In fact, the red and blue light acts as a blemish-busting team—the red light penetrates deeply into your skin to reduce inflammation while the blue light kills pimple-causing bacteria.

    "Preliminary data suggest that the combination of red and blue light can be a very effective and safe choice," writes Dr. Aikaterini Charakida from the Imperial College, London, in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.

    It is this light combination that has been captured and placed inside DermaStyle, which is currently seeking FDA approval. Powell suggests that users shine the light onto trouble spots a few minutes every day, and "within the first week you'll start to see results." The product was approved to spot-treat problem areas, but Powell says that many people have been using the light on their entire face to prevent all potential breakouts. At a $140 price tag, however, the DermaStyle may take a backseat to more commonplace remedies if you only suffer from occasional breakouts.

    Of course this technological zit zapper is already popular with teens, but Powell reports that as many as 30 percent of DermaStyle's users are adults. "That's a lot higher a number than we thought," he said.